Spoilers! There are spoilers ahead! If you haven’t been watching the show, I say run! Run, I tell you! Now with that out of the way, let us begin.
So: if you have been paying attention, you’ll know by now that outside of Kuzuharu, all of the Nue members, including Sawa, Makoto and Hanakaze have all, possibly been killed off. With another six or seven episodes after this one, let us find out where they go.
So we begin with Sawa lying down after Asahi, who is part loving adopted little sister, part Lady Snowblood as a child, appears to have made a terrible mistake. Asahi holds Sawa’s hand with tears in her eyes as the rain starts. Tears In Rain – Perhaps a hurt lost in time? Then again, this happened indoors. Also, we’re not watching Bladerunner. After this, the opening theme plays.
‘We return to the scene in episode two where Makoto had entered the Morning Dew Used Book Shop to give Asahi a small bottle of poison to kill Sawa. However, there is more to returning to this scene than meets the eye. We receive more dialogue – which gives us context as to why Asahi poisoned Sawa. First of all – Makoto likes a bit of Shakespeare, and he quoted The Merchant Of Venice a few episodes back (about everyone playing their role). Here we get another Shakespeare reference – the Sleeping Potion that gives the impression of death. Much like the one that Juliet took to fake her death in Romeo and Juliet. As it turns out, Makoto’s reason for giving Asahi the poison is not to kill Sawa but to create the diversion necessary to help her and Asahi escape from the “Lie” that is their current state of existence. However, to make this deception work, Makoto states the plan: Once Asahi gives Sawa the poison, she needs to act fast. The poison creates the illusion of death for precisely three hours, after which Sawa’s heart will start pumping again. But Asahi has to tell everyone that Sawa is dead and for the news to spread as quickly as possible. Even up to Kuzuharu. I say this because Kuzuharu shows up in disguise to Asahi (who has never seen him before), but Makoto keeps it easy: Kuzuharu’s ‘disguise’ is the same as Supermans. Glasses – – Friggin glasses. Makoto also makes it clear that Asahi has to go along with performance. Because if she can’t convince Kuzuharu, he will kill her. She ends up convincing him that she is oblivious to his capabilities. However, she has to stay with Sawa for the next three hours. Otherwise, the plan will not work. Out of her performance of mournful grief, she manages to ride in the Hurst with Kuzuharu. However, with this plan, Makoto makes it clear that Asahi could die. After the Hurst ride, the Cleaners will bury the coffin as quickly as possible. It is here that we now see a connection. The beginning of the last episode is happening in this scene. ‘Cleaners are digging a grave, Sawa lying with her eyes closed, and Kuzuharu saying, “Death is just an endless sleep, eh?”. Makoto then states that there isn’t enough air in the casket, and Asahi will have to, somehow, exhume the coffin before the three hours are up. Afterwards, they can both leave Tokyo and play ‘family’ again somewhere else. When Asahi questions whether she can pull it off, Makoto instils a reality: “It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks. You have to be dead-set on making it happen”. Something we can all apply to our dreams in life. However, his words get dark when he tells her, “The truth isn’t important. It’s how things look, and how you choose to make them look.” Which is a reality for those with the belief that there is no justice against ‘X’ if ‘X’ doesn’t get caught.
The plan is a little more complicated than Makoto intended, as Kuzuharu spots Nana, the albino crow, in a tree. Indicating that he possibly knows that Sawa isn’t completely gone. And he may play along with Asahi’s plan from this point. Kuzuharu then tells Asahi that she will be going to an Orphanage tomorrow, but until then can stay at the grave. He leaves with the cleaners. After this, Asahi drops her umbrella and proceeds to dig Sawa out of the grave with her bare hands.
We then get a very different tone – much like something out of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Sawa is in a warmly lit room. Sake is heating in a kettle, and both Hanakaze and Makoto are laughing at Kuzuharu’s fashion choices over wine, said-sake, and a pile of feastful goodies. Are they alive? Is it a dream? Let us see: Hanakaze then asks Sawa what her favourite type of man is. When Sawa says she doesn’t have one, Hanakaze then asks if she seriously thinks she doesn’t need anybody. Sawa insists she doesn’t, allowing Makoto to indicate that this isn’t somebody you can attach with common notions. However, Hanakaze is referring to having someone for her to escape. To remind her that life is worth living, even when it’s rubbish. To, for a time, forget everything. Sawa then says that we can’t forget everything, and she doesn’t want to. Hanakaze then reveals that she did have her baby after all. Only for us to realise that Sawa is having a nightmare – As she meets Asahi in a burning building, she tells her, “Now we can be like real sisters since I killed Yukimura-San!” Her voice is full of static while saying it. Before turning into a bomb of red blossoms, revealing both Makoto and Hanakaze telling Sawa that she’s dead before pushing her. After this, Sawa wakes up from her three-hour death sleep. Asahi looks at her from the edge of the grave with tears of joy.
Sawa has been reborn, ‘so to speak. ‘Yukimura The Killer’ of Nue is dead, and Asahi insists they both run away. More specifically, run away to the Asakura Temple in the Iwai Prefecture. The same temple Sawa told Asahi to go to a few episodes ago (before Janome kidnapped her).
We then cut to the Hospital, where Kuzuharu reveals to Makoto’s Doctor that Makoto is alive, and he was the one who shot first in the car. The Englishman who represented the resistance is dead. We are also switching pronouns again! Kuzuharu calls Makoto a She. He asks the Doctor what she was after. When the Doctor refused to answer, Kuzuharu slices his glasses in half with a blade, showing he’s not playing around or wanting to waste time. The Doctor then talks about the blue medicine in an instrument bag. Janome’s manufactured blue blood. The Doctor also indicates that Nue’s efforts to rid the enemies of the Tokugawa government are useless in the long run. ‘That the government will fall apart eventually. We then get a rather disturbing scene. The Doctor sits at a desk. His face cut off. Meanwhile, we hear the sound of a crying baby, as a midwife comments that the baby looks like the mother.
We then get a scene reminiscent of Sawa trying to get the treasurer to safety in episode two. Sawa considers the possibility of surrendering to the government and meeting Asahi later. However, Asahi insists that they escape and live together. We then see Makoto hiding in the woods. She takes some pills while we hear some Englishmen looking for her (and once again showing that the casting crew did a great job getting good English voices). We also realise that Makoto is He to some and She to others. Perhaps only She within Nue and He on the outside. She’s in a bad state. ‘Suffering hallucinations of the snakes in Janome’s lair.
Asahi and Sawa arrive at the same port where Sawa tried to rescue the treasurer. Nana, the Albino Crow, follows behind, and Asahi comments on how peaceful their new life will be outside Tokyo. They decide on their names: Asahi will be going by Asahi Nakamura, while Sawa gives her real name. Sawa Yukimura is dead, and Sawa Karasumori can come out of hiding.
We then get a scene of a Cabinet Meeting in Tokugawa’s Castle, and so far, this is the closest we have come to seeing Yoshinobu Tokugawa in this series. He hides behind a blind, and the higher-ups of the various industries then address the problems within the country. Kuzuharu is present in the meeting but doesn’t sit at the table as the rest. Tokugawa’s methods prove to be brutal and totalitarian. ‘Raising taxes to make a difference in Revenue over the loss of mining rights against the French. And bringing in the Army to destroy the resistance if the Police aren’t getting results. The meeting is abruptly ended by Tokugawa before the Minister of Communications and Transport had any say. Kuzuharu then does his report, where he reveals that they obtained Janome’s blue blood formula. Tokugawa then says that they have scientists waiting to refine the ‘formula’ to create warriors who would solve both the foreign posturing and the partisans. Tokugawa then comments on Kuzuharu bringing Sawa into the fold and how Kuzuharu has no future outside of one where people die.
While walking home, Kuzuharu gives his coat to a cold mother and son and witnesses Resistance members confronted by Police over graffiti (and about to be killed). Kuzuharu changes sides, as we see with his execution of the police officers that he’s the leader of Nue for a reason. You don’t mess with him or his squirrel-like agility in a fight. Very simply, the man’s fed up.
Fast forward two days later, both Sawa and Asahi arrive at the Iwai Prefecture. Sawa questions if they could live in a place like this. To which Asahi reassures her. They will be good, as long as they’re together.
This episode was…so much better than the last two. It is on par with the first two episodes in terms of interest and curiosity. The cluster-muck of episodes five and six have subsided. The messy plot has context. The lines have form, and while Hanakaze’s fate may be in stone, I’m intrigued to see what happens to everybody. Kuzuharu will no longer be giving orders, and instead, he’s going to fight. Makoto’s fate (and gender) keeps us guessing, and while it’s nice that Sawa and Asahi can escape to the country for a while – No doubt, they will be back. Until then, I look forward to next week’s episode.