And no, I don’t mean the arrival on the scene of a certain seiyuu.
It’s sad that recap episodes are still a part of the anime fan’s world, but so it is – and apart from SHAFT, no studio more than BONES (must be all the CAPs) is as legendary for falling behind production schedules. Whether that was an issue here who knows, but apart from year-long or longer series, there’s no need for these things from a fan perspective – it’s just a money-saver and a time buffer for the studio. But be that as it may, we at least got some original content there at the end.
Actually, there was some original content scattered here and there throughout the entire episode, which was framed as a dream from Mahiro’s POV. The parts we’ve already seen didn’t seem especially relevant or necessary, but there were some nice bridge scenes featuring the teenaged protagonists interacting with their grade-schooler selves, as well as some new bits with Aika and “The Tempest”. Mostly this was time-filler though, right up until the moment when chibi-Yoshino started talking about what the world outside Mahiro’s window was like. 2 billion dead as a result of the Tree of Genesis’ reawakening, armies everywhere destroyed, cities swallowed whole, peace reigns supreme, forests blooming in deserts and the seas healing themselves. And, of course, everyone scared to say bo-peep because they’re worried the Tree of Genesis will sniff out their unhappy thoughts and eat them. And I say to myself, what a wonderful world…
The meat of the issue is this: apparently Samon has kept Mahiro asleep for a month, as the Tree of Genesis has unleashed its power on a world that’s slowly adapting to life under a deciduous dictatorship (“We can’t swear anymore, but at least we can get Snickers at the 7-11”). When he finally wakes Mahiro up Samon asks him if he’s willing to kill Yoshino, who he believes is the Mage of Exodus because he’s become the target of Hakaze’s obsession (a suspicion which doesn’t entirely make sense to me at this point). In any event poor, silly Samon never could grasp the ways of the heart – that’s love, Brother. Meanwhile we have another possible candidate in Hanemura Megumu (Kaji Yuki) who plays the role of a sad-sack construction worker, but apparently believes he’s the Mage, for what that’s worth.
That was a pretty roundabout way to get to the four or five minutes of the episode that really matters, but what’s done is done. My money is still on Aika as the Mage of Exodus – at the very least to still be alive, anyway – as Yoshino being the Mage doesn’t add up, and the Mage being a character we’ve never seen or heard of in 12 episodes make no sense dramatically. Mahiro still appears just as focused on revenge as ever, and what happens when he learns the truth about Aika’s boyfriend is certainly still a major event to come. I think the question of just what Samon’s objectives are is a huge variable – all of his best-laid plans have been blasted to smithereens, but I can’t see him meekly following Hakaze’s direction for too long.
ED2: “Bokutachi no Uta (Our Song)” by Sako Tomohisa