Great, Violet Evergarden and now this… After Yuzuki and Hinata each get an episode of the spotlight, it’s now time for Shirase to shine again. This episode did an excellent job taking the series to a new emotional height right before the final episode.
- Yorimoi offers something heartbreaking even before reaching the 1 minute mark. Shirase remembers that her mom’s death was like a dream to her. It’s not so much a nightmare, because Shirase wasn’t possessed by feelings of terror. It’s a dream in the sense that things happen while she’s passive and vulnerable, and everything feels hazy to her. Shirase can’t properly process the information, as is often the case in such dreams, and acknowledges that she still can’t in the present.
- Already, as people talk about Takako’s death, Shirase is using her phone to text her mom – an act of denial. The remarkable thing is that she carries on with this activity of solace until the present.
- Not being able to afford waking up from the “dream” of her mother’s death, Shirase buries herself in another dream – the dream of going to Antarctica. Now that the dream has become reality, Shirase is feeling disjointed. It’s interesting how this line suggests that Shirase expects the fulfillment of this dream to be a cathartic experience – the waking from her previous tragic dream and the coming to terms with her mom’s death, maybe? She’s still in denial though.
- Those onions. Despite being exposed to so much stimuli that should be bringing her to tears (onions, Antarctica, memories of Takako), Shirase remains detached.
- Shirase does make an attempt to confront reality – she talks to Gin about her mom. Gin doesn’t say anything particularly new or unexpected: she came to Antarctica because it’s Takako’s dream, and because she wanted to herself. She’s said that a couple of times. Still, I love seeing these bonding moments between the two. I’m sure neither of them are great in “party situations.”
- Heartbreaking scene #2: Shirase lays out all the money she earned for this expedition and lists how she got the money as she takes out each bill, with flashbacks interspersed. It’s to remind the audience (who may have forgotten after episode 3) how hard Shirase worked for all of this.
- The money doesn’t end up getting used though, just like her texts to her mom don’t end up getting received. I wonder if she would have felt any differently if she did spend the money? Somehow, I doubt that it would have a significant effect overall. Seeing her hard-earned money piling up like that and questioning “what for?” is definitely exasperating though.
- Great scene! Another “the more you know” moment on the Antarctica show. I didn’t know about sun pillars. The colour palette is so different from everything else in the episode. This one apocalyptic hour in Antarctica’s long, cold, and white days seems to parallel the emotions boil inside Shirase beneath the apathetic surface. Oh, and of course, Takako saw the same phenomenon…
- Shirase pictures Takako typing away at night. The closer she gets to where Takako died, the more her fantasies of her mom come alive. The more she dreams, however, the more obviously these dreams contrast with reality. This translucent projection of Takako is one painful example.
- Shirase has friends now. I love how Gin is a part of this image. Totally can’t imagine her getting invested in a card game with the girls, but I’m happy that it’s a thing.
- Shirase’s friends help her confront the desire and fear that come with the subject of her mother. Quite touching…
- They find a laptop that somehow still works. I was expecting an inspiring moment where Shirase discovers messages left for her by her mom, but no. Instead, Shirase opens her mom’s email to see all the messages she sent to her mom flowing in. Some of them even come with attachments; she must have sent pictures too…
- Instead of heartwarming messages of encouragement/reassurance, what Shirase gets is rejection. Reality is brutally depicted in this anime when it’s not about the power of friendship. Watching the number of unread messages piling up was plain painful (it doesn’t end at 792, by the way).
- Shirase cries, and her friends shed the same amount of tears as they wait outside the room and hear everything.
One incredible episode…the finale is going to hit us hard. I feel like we’ve already gotten to the emotional climax though. Geez, this was even more depressing than last week’s Violet Evergarden – at least the mom’s letters to her future daughter got delivered properly… I wonder what everyone else thinks? Did this episode make you cry, or was last week’s Violet Evergarden more powerful?