My recent track record with NoitaminA shows and huge mid-series plot twists isn’t especially encouraging. But while the temptation to recall Samumenco and “Guillotine Gorilla” is strong, I don’t think this one was nearly as shocking or game-changing, and not just because we were effectively told from the beginning to expect it this week. And to be honest, in the case of Punchline my buy-in has already been on the wane for a couple of weeks as-is, so it doesn’t have anywhere near as steep a potential decline.
I’m just not feeling this series much any more, to be honest. There are still some nice moments (Meika’s parade of musical instruments in recounting her story to Ito was very amusing) but on the whole, it feels like Uchikoshi is throwing everything but the kitchen sink here simply because he can. There are so many random twists that the audience couldn’t possibly have guessed based on what they’d seen that the entire plot feels kind of meaningless now. Yeah, we can theorize as to what’s really happening – but again, the question for me is why I should care.
I’ve already talked about how manufacturing an arc for Yuuta halfway through the series was also kind of a bail-out, and it does appear that’s what’s going on. I don’t know whether to call him “him” anymore, or “her” – but while I have no reason to doubt Meika’s “biologically definitely female” claim, merely adding in yet another random twist doesn’t make the half-series lack of depth any less of an issue. Well, at least someone (Rabura) finally asked where Yuuta was – I suppose that’s progress…
So what is really up with Yuuta? I suppose the simplest explanation is that he’s a girl who identifies as a boy, but based on what’s happened so far I hardly expect Uchikoshi to go with the simplest explanation. We were shown that flashback in Episode 4 for a reason, and there definitely seemed to be a boy (Pine) in that group of espers, so perhaps we have some body-switching going on here. And with the expected revelation that Yuuta’s body was “possessed” by a future Yuuta, we see that the spirit Yuuta seems to definitely consider himself biologically male. Or who knows, maybe the whole bit is nothing more than Uchikoshi trying to pander to the audience with yuri appeal.
Other developments, if you’re keeping score – the terrorist was actually Ito’s teacher, another unsurprising twist, though he claimed to be have been possessed by Qmay. “Yuba” now looks like a bad translation, because clearly they were going for “Über” here – as in Übermensch. And the asteroid really was headed for Earth all along, and it seems as if this cycle has played out repeatedly, with future-Yuuta failing to stop it from happening. Also – “Yuuta” sure sounds an awful lot like “U-turn” in Japanese-accented English, doesn’t it?