I’ve more or less given up on trying to figure MPD out at this point, because I’m not convinced Ikuhara wants it to be figured out and, for that reason, I’m not convinced he’ll even try to reconcile events with logic in the end. Yes, a part of my mind will always be gnawing over what happens every week and wondering what it all means, but I’m going to do my best and just enjoy the series on a purely experiential level. Frankly, I don’t want to open myself up to really caring about all the mysteries and subtext only to be pissed on by an ending that doesn’t deal with them. Seems like Ikuhara has more or less reverted to a kind of stream-of-consciousness on-screen psychoanalysis thing at this stage, and I’d rather just play along as an observer than become a willing participant.
Fact is, it’s certainly interesting to watch. As bizarre and random as this episode was, it was also one of the series’ best in terms of pure entertainment for me. All of the background English dialogue by Natsume-sama’s blonde toady had me helpless with laughter – “Oh, my God Mr. President! Oh, Jeeesus!” No one can match Ikuhara for repeating the same bit over and over, and sometimes it fails miserably, but for whatever reason the repeated dream sequences of Masako killing her Grandfather totally worked for me – the sheer absurdity of the gag growing with each repeated cycle. I was also pleased to see the return of the full-length “Survival Strategy” transformation sequence, which I’d grown rather sick of, but absence makes the heart grow fonder they say. I thought the sequence itself, with The Penguin Queen mouthing the words through the window, the haiku battles and the S & M photo session was probably the funniest and cleverest of all the survival strategy montages. I don’t know if it contributed anything to the long-term mythology of the series but it was certainly fun.
So did we learn anything of value in the midst of all the light entertainment? Well, I suppose it was time Masako had her feature episode, since it seems almost everyone else has. I find Ho-chan losing herself in this role more than any I’ve heard her in for ages – I would hardly guess it was her if I didn’t know it was. So we know she and Kanba were friends as children, when he promised to stay with her if she were cursed. The curse is her Grandfather, who appears to have chased her father away because he wasn’t cruel & ruthless enough to head up the family empire, Natsume Holdings. This is the “him” she must crush – except he’s already dead, the victim of his own lack of skill in preparing blowfish sashimi. Problem is, if Masako’s POV is to be believed he’s come back and possessed her little brother Mario as a way of controlling the empire from beyond the grave.
So what does Mario need saving from that Masako needs Sanetoshi’s help to do so – I’d assumed an illness, but is it the curse of the Grandfather? What Sanetoshi wants from Masako, apparently, is for her to join Kanba and her father (who look suspiciously similar, BTW) in being a “Chosen One” to help “put the world back on track” (another train reference). Sanetoshi is “taking back the world”, and this somehow seems connected with the men Kanba has been working with to raise money and with the group his father was with when they carried out the attacks of 1995. Masako still refuses, which leads me to wonder how she plans to save her brother – is it possible that she was the good guy all along? Oh, and Ringo called herself “Shouma’s stalker” too, which is kind of interesting when you think about it. Their involvement with the episode was minimal and seemed quite tacked-on, but the implications of that line are worth considering.
Whoops, I did it again – speculating on all that stuff I said I didn’t care about. Can’t be helped, I guess. I think I’ll go listen to the episode ED about 10 more times – I can’t get it out of my head.
ED5: “Everybody Went Nutso” (ikarechimattaze)