Note: I am watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter blind. Please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.
It wouldn’t be Yuki Yuna is a Hero without someone losing their mind every once in a while. Evidently, for the “Wakaba Nogi Chapter”, that honor goes to Chikage. I figured as much. In the previous episode, it was looking like she was going down a dark path. Even so, I am a little surprised at how things are playing out here.
I mean good grief, this show is really screwing the poor girl over. Chikage’s father is an alcoholic. Her mother had an affair. She lives in a village where everyone hates and harasses her, even in spite of the fact that she’s now fighting for their lives. Two of her teammates and friends died. The Heroes are barraged with public backlash. Wakaba reveals at one point that her powers are deteriorating her mind, causing her to hallucinate. About the only bright spot Chikage seems to have her in life is Yuna (not that one) and yet, even that is slipping away from her for couple of reasons. Things aren’t looking good for this girl.
Frankly, I could maybe do without the bad parents and the village. Seeing Chikage’s life outside of the magical girl business does make her more sympathetic but this is also the most extreme I think the show has gone with a character’s personal life. With all the other things going on right now, finding out about the poor treatment Chikage receives at home feels excessive. I’m also just baffled that Chikage is even in this situation. Apparently, the Taisha wants to relocate her to somewhere nicer but for whatever reason, they haven’t worked it out. You’d think this would be resolved as soon as possible considering Chikage is one of the most important people in the world right now. I suppose moving out would be a little moot though as even if she did, Chikage would still be left with her dysfunctional parents (they apparently have to come along with her).
Speaking of help, I’m baffled that Chikage doesn’t see a doctor regarding her mental health or that the Taisha doesn’t send one to help her. Wakaba literally recommends that to her in one scene and yet, nothing come about that afterwards. Admittedly, I don’t know if the doctor would help all that much nor would the plot allow them in the first place but the fact that there’s not even a frame of Chikage getting help is weird. It gets especially funny when Chikage fakes her recovery to the Taisha so that she can fight and the Taisha just believes her verbatim. I know this is the Taisha I’m talking about here, in their early days no less, but even for them, this is inept. Like Chikage even needs their permission in the first place. I don’t believe the Taisha can keep her from the Jukai anyway.
The part where the public reception weighs down on Chikage is still a little silly to me. In a show where magical girls are fighting monsters for a tree, fake Twitter and fake YouTube are the last things I’d expect to see. I can’t fault it for being unrealistic however. Magical girls would be discussed on social media if they were public figures. It’s also the internet and 2018 so the vitriol Chikage sees is very believable. I do find it a odd how she seems to only run into backlash until the “Youtube” chat decides but shower Wakaba with praise but that can be chalked up to Chikage herself. She’s stressed over recent events, dealing with baggage in her personal life, going crazy due to her powers, and she’s also a teenager who isn’t used to that kind of attention. It’s not far fetched that she’s only focusing on the negativity and seeing everything under a filter.
While I have issues with the setup, I still enjoy seeing how far Chikage falls from grace. The scene where she attacks her old schoolmates for example makes for a very good red flag. We’ve never truly seen Heroes use their powers on civilians. Before this episode, the closest the show got was the prospect of Fu slaughtering the Taisha for lying to her team about the effects of Mankai. To finally see a Hero actually attack people makes for a disturbing moment.
I had a feeling Yuna (not that one) would play some part in Chikage’s arc, making the latter open up to the point that she considers the former to be her friend. As I said in the last review, Yuna has that kind of effect on people. I really like how, even though she’s still recovering in the hospital, Yuna is looking out for Chikage. She asks Wakaba to check up on her and keeps contact with her via text. Despite her condition, Yuna cares more about the wellbeing of her friend. Even if this isn’t the same Yuna we’re used to, she clearly has the same spirit. It’s sad then that this friendship is contributing towards Chikage’s downfall. Yuna means well but the fact that she cares more about her friend than herself has Chikage worried. That Chikage isn’t recovering makes her feel even worse, to the point that she becomes too ashamed to see Yuna at the hospital.
Tensions definitely blow up between Chikage and Wakaba. Chikage begins to detest her leader for seemingly continuing to think more about the mission than the status of her teammates. As the episode progresses though, I think what Chikage truly despises about Wakaba is that, unlike her, she still manages to keep her cool. Despite being the leader and the only active Hero at the moment, Wakaba still performs her duties. She isn’t fazed by her team’s public reception and she even manages to turn the discourse around during her press conference. There’s no signs of her powers affecting her mental health. Most “egregious” is her friendship with Yuna which is going strong and lacks none of the baggage Chikage feels she carries. While Chikage is falling apart, her leader is doing just fine and she can’t stand that.
While Chikage may be right that Wakaba cares too much about the mission, I don’t think she’s right in thinking that Wakaba doesn’t care about her teammates at all. To call Wakaba’s public statement regarding Tamako and Anzu’s deaths and Yuna’s hospitalization during her press conference disingenuous is a stretch. It is very formal but in her defense, it has to come across that way. She knows she has an image to keep up and getting riled up wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea. And while she is obligated to comment, there’s no way she isn’t affected by what’s happened. There’s still that brief moment in the last episode where she’s upset over Tamako and Anzu’s deaths.
Perhaps the most telling sign that Wakaba has a heart is the fact that she visits Yuna at the hospital, even helps her with her rehabilitation. Helping Yuna does mean she’ll be ready to fight again but I doubt Wakaba would even bother visiting her if she truly doesn’t care about her. Also worth noting is Wakaba’s decision to refrain from telling Yuna the truth about Chikage’s situation. It’s a very questionable choice, unintentionally more so since Chikage eavesdrop on it, but it does show that Wakaba is sensitive to Yuna’s feelings.
When the Vertex shows up at the end of the episode, I expected Chikage to plot against Wakaba and help the monster kill the Shinju as her revenge against the world. She is indeed keeping Wakaba pre-occupied though her motive is more personal and more yandere in that she wants Wakaba gone so that she has Yuna all to herself. Most likely, Chikage isn’t going to succeed here. Considering she’s the main character, I think Wakaba has enough plot armor to survive this. Yuna will probably play a role here; her intervening in spite of her injuries ought to be enough to knock some sense into Chikage. Whatever the case, something is going to happen to Chikage. It’s not going to be good and it will have a profound effect on Yuna and Wakaba.
Thanks for reading!
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