Yes, that stuff hitting the fan is exactly what it looks like, and there’s lots of it – take cover. Most of it blew directly into Kouga’s face sadly for him, and that crack you heard may just have been the sound of his sanity snapping. We’ll see, but he’s clearly crossed a line here both in terms of what he knows, and what he’s done – he’s actually killed a human (not that Hayami didn’t roundly deserve it). And the worst thing of all is, I don’t see – and I’m guessing Kouga doesn’t either – any compelling reason to believe Jirou was wrong in all the stuff he said about him.
There weren’t necessarily a whole lot of surprises in the reveal about Jirou and Ichirou. I figured Ichiro was his son, and the most likely scenario was that he was a Player (though Jirou being one too was interesting). And revenge against the Amagi through Kouga was always the most likely motivation. But all these “tests”, seemingly, were about breaking down Kouga mentally and convincing him that he was a hypocrite who was in this for the glory. It’s simplistic, but as Jirou said himself, “Revenge is like that. It leaves nothing behind – just emptiness.” Jirou’s testing methodology is obviously flawed – all he was doing was putting Kouga in no-win situations – but is he wrong about Kouga doing this for the glory? I don’t think that makes Kouga evil, just human – but it sure as Hell doesn’t make him a hero.
As for Hayami, I figured he was lined up with Seizou, not looking to steal the empire away from him. So it turns out we have Hayami, Haitani and Jirou all aligned, all for their own purposes. After everything that had been done to him I don’t blame Kouga for snapping and killing Hayami – the way he took him out along with the father and son jinchu team was rather impressive, in fact – but I don’t see him walking back from this without serious mental scarring. The one thing we can all agree on, of course, is that Seizou truly is evil – not just loosing the Players on the world and locking Jirou and Ichirou in the lab to die, but even working with Haitani in the aftermath, all in the name of free enterprise. It’s almost enough to make be believe Mitsugai might have been acting out of conscience, after all. Almost…
And then of course there’s Jin’s role in all this. He comes to the rescue of the citizenry when Haitani’s beasts are on their killing spree, though they turn on him when his identity is revealed. Fortunately Sayama happens along at the right moment, and he’s unfazed by the reveal of Jin’s Zet identity. Everyone ends up at the news conference where Seizou’s right-hand man Kabe (Kusumi Naomi) – who’s been working for Haitani all along – blows his brains out at Haitani’s command. Haitani’s motivations in all this seem almost straightforward – when he says “I’d gladly give my life if it means you can become complete” I have no cause to doubt him. I think Haitani’s wants as many humans to suffer and die as possible, period – and he needs Jin to become the “Charisma” we’ve heard so much about (courtesy of the red stone) for that to happen.
In episodes like this we can certainly get a sense of just how compacted the material for the anime is, and the pacing definitely feels rushed. Almost miraculously, though, we can still grasp the meaning behind all of it. I don’t know what the anime will be able to accomplish with only two episodes to go and so many plates spinning – there’s the matter of Hanako’s abduction as well, plus the mystery of the L O V E bartender and Konoha’s situation – but ultimately I suppose it’s all going to come down to Jin and Kouga either fighting side by side or against each other (though that’s less likely). The preview suggests the real struggle will be for Jin to maintain his own identity and not give himself over the evil that Haitani is trying to bring out in him. I can’t see this ending without a lot of pain for main cast, and a dose of self-sacrifice to boot.