By all appearances this week’s episode was an about-face in overall theme and tone to one of a Romance-comedy, but for myself at least I could not shake that dim, wistful, sad feeling of the tragedy themes that have been present up to now. It looks like things are going to moving to focus on the budding relationship of Tsukasa and Isla, but there were just too many things in this episode that still remind me of things heading down hill for everyone at Section One headquarters, and not just Isla. I am still of the opinion that Isla is somehow at the eye of the storm for the aspects of Section One that are (and have been for a while now) upsetting SIA management … and especially now that Isla has been back in the field, training herself using Section One’s facilities and undergoing repairs the immediate pressure of the costs accrued from Section One will undoubtedly come to the fore and press home on everyone. I just cannot foresee anything except sadness coming down the pike, and that makes the kindness between Tsukasa and Isla all the more poignant for me.
In some ways it is nice to see Isla continuing to contribute to the daily tasks and chores both at home and at work, even if she is stepping things up a bit due to her increased attention on Tsukasa and periodically going a bit too far in her efficiency. This is fine and good, although the use of the old high-school rom-com clichés of awkwardness at asking someone out on a date and needing to consult all one’s friends and feeling awkward at someone of the opposite sex (even if it is an android) washing one’s underwear felt very … thin … in this episode. Almost downright dull, actually. But then again, I guess part of me has accepted that the staff of this series have agreed to sprinkle “accepted common contemporary anime’ish clichés” throughout the eps’ content, so when it comes up now I sort of tune it out and just wait for it to pass – to be honest even writing this and mulling over it makes it even more of a shame. It does not really add a whole lot to the series for me – but I wonder if it does for other viewers? Anyway, things finally get sifted out (it does not go on for a long time) and Tsukasa finally invites Isla out to spend time together on their next day off.
There are only a few things going on in the background characters the series has made to be orbiting Isla. One of them is Michiru being goaded and teased by her sharp minded Giftia Zack, and the other is Isla talking things over with Michiru and Eru (I can’t help but wonder if the latter is the main force for the trio to get together and discuss things). But in the midst of all this we see how Isla has spent time in the past – she loved to go to the amusement park and simply watch the people enjoying themselves there, always remaining on the peripheral while Kazuki would take a nap. This time around, though, Tsukasa, continuing to pour through Isla’s diary and finally coming to its end (apparently stopped when Kazuki broke their partnership) decides that Isla should not just watch but take part. There are still questions I have inside regarding why Kazuki did what she did – and I think this will be one of the main things important to uncover in future episodes for the moving of the overall story.
Isla gets all dressed up for her outing with Tsukasa, and after gentle prodding on the latter’s part agrees to go around to the various amusement park rides with him – the roller coaster, the haunted house and even the Ferris Wheel. Everything would have gone well, if it were not for one snafu – Kazuki has been making sure Tsukasa did not slack off at work with his newly found glow of delight at Isla’s agreeing to spend time with him on their next day off, and Tsukasa unfortunately overworks himself, waking up on the morning of the outing with a fever. He forces himself to carry on throughout the day giving Isla plenty of attention and happiness (the scene in the Ferris Wheel was especially nice) until finally his body gives way and he passes out on top of Isla in the Ferris Wheel compartment, much to Isla’s confusion, surprise and distress.
The episode ends with Isla staying by Tsukasa’s side all night long fraught with worry (Michiru goes so far to even make some porridge for him but chickens out at the last minute), and fortunately it ends in a very touching sequence of the two of them being honest (and even adorably vulnerable) with each other. Isla especially admits upfront that she has only a month or so left in her lifespan and apologizes for not telling him before now, while Tsukasa once again asks if he can be with her right up to the very end. In many ways this scene is a perfect, appropriate and tasteful summary for the entire episode proper. When this series is on it is so very “on”! Why it decided to mix in all the standard clichés when it is so capable to produce wonderful character interaction and the rest is beyond me, though. As for what is on the horizon in next week’s episode … I honestly have no idea at all. I also find myself wondering where the story will go from here, but I cannot help but wonder if the narrative will return to some of the darker themes of the first half.
Oh yes; special thanks to passerby from randomcuriosity dot net for the screenshots which I shamelessly copied as I was too lazy to do screenshots myself this week.
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