Still great, this show – beautiful to look at, wonderfully acted and insanely clever. This ep might have been a very small step down from episode three, but it was still outstanding.
The episode picks up more or less where the last ended, with Kozue still missing and now Maya as well. Kobiyashi Yuu continues to have way too much fun as the Vice-Principal, now squarely a Bunemi groupie (she even writes love poetry about him). She sends Fumiaki off to search for them (he insists they split up to search) and his path crosses with Mikaze. After another harrowing ride in her sports car no Nagano and back, they end up near the old bunker where we last saw Maya. Through a secret passage in an old kofun they end up under the mountain, searching with the flashlights Mikaze conveniently (that word seems to follow her) brought with her.
It’s at this point that we’re treated to a fascinating mish-mash of mythological stuff – the Mothman Prophecies, pyramid theory, the tree of life… And Maya again shows that for a skeptic, she knows an awful lot about the occult. We also learn a little more about Fumiaki. First, that – as expected – his story about how he came to be in the past was a more or less total fabrication. Second that he’s an abject coward, fleeing a cavern full of giant moths and leaving Maya and an unconscious Kozue to fend for themselves. Fortunately JK and Smile show up just in the nick of time and JK saves the day with his Yamaha keyboard.
We seem to be seeing a growing chasm in the viewership regarding Fumiaki. Some are dismissing him as a worthless character, a coward. And of course he is a coward – but I can’t help but like him in spite of that. His facial expressions are a highlight in every episode and he’s just plain funny. Fumiaki isn’t a bad guy – just a schlemazel who can’t buy a break. Maya is a bigger problem for me, to be honest – she’s just a little too mean for me to really like her. She’s had a tough life herself, of course, with her weird father and his occult obsessions – but it seems to have left her hard and cold to the point of brittleness. Of course that’s as likely as not to change as she develops and (presumably) warms to Fumiaki. And then there’s Mikaze. Her secrets aren’t revealed yet but there’s definitely something odd with her. She always seems to be appear at the right time to be in the middle of things, and always well-prepared. Obviously she knows who Fumiaki is and is tailing him – that seems indisputable at this point – but what is she? Is the girl a time traveler herself, or perhaps she’s the old lady at the izakaya and has some sort of shape-shifting abilities (a youkai?). With pretty much every mythological system being fair game here nothing can ruled out – which is all part of the fun. Anything goes, and I’m looking forward to seeing it go.