Some mysteries from last week are given answer while opening a whole new box of conundrums. This series looks like it will continue to string us along with it’s intriguing questions.
Character development should always be a balance. For every strength that shows itself a weakness should rear its ugly head. The third episode kept this in mind as it focused on the leads, Izumiko and Miyuki, and their second confrontation with the supernatural. Wamiya, the mysterious boy who seemed to have an eerie insight on Izumiko’s inner feelings, is revealed to be a mountain god bound by her desire to have a friend. The diety becomes angered by Izumiko’s and Miyuki newfound understanding of each other and looks to destroy them unless she decides to join him.
When the three are finally toe to toe, Miyuki’s cowardice becomes apparent. In the face of a threat that is much greater in power to him, he begs Izumiko to give in to the god’s wishes to save both of their lives. Surprisingly it is Izumiko who shows strength in this situation. She realizes that Wamiya only manifested in response to her desires and if so he should not act against them. She shows a remarkable amount of insight into the deity’s feelings, recognizing he is only jealous and that his act would only serve to destroy an important relationship to him, his friendship with Izumiko. Wamiya backs down and disappears, realizing the error of his logic and methods.
This scene was an excellent foil to last week, where Miyuki protecting Izumiko. Their relationship, which felt one sided at first, finally becomes reciprocal. They need one another to weather the spiritual storm ahead of them. Each of them has a gift in dealing with the challenges yet to come. I really hope that series continues this nuanced approach to developing the cast and the relationships that they forge with others around them.
I also really enjoyed Izumiko’s dance on the mountain top, where she unbinds Wamiya from his earthly body. The music and art focused on displaying her talents at work. The watercolor flowers just burst to life at the sound of her voice as the sky fills with pink orbs of lights. While Izumiko, might be a tool of much greater powers, this moment serves to show that she isn’t a pushover. She herself has immense potential, and a greatness just waiting to bloom, much like plants around her.
Much of the ugly is speculative on my part. As of now the show doesn’t have any direction. There doesn’t seem to be any clear goal that the viewer can look forward to. While this is much of the appeal of slice of life shows, it doesn’t give that forward momentum that works so well in fantasy. Most likely this will be alleviated as the show continues onward.