Long time no see. Heh, feels weird not actually meaning that. Regardless, what happened last time? Well, not much. The girls went to a resort, played some games, enjoyed the beach. What else? Oh right! There was this thing about the Vertex coming back or something. I guess that’s just a minor thing.
Fu already informed the other girls about the situation and naturally feels like shit for putting them through this again. And I’m sorry but with that eyepatch I can’t help myself.
The girls don’t blame Fu and just come to terms with the fact that their job isn’t over yet. And before we cut to another scene, Fu yells out the window that the Vertexes are going down. I like picturing all the students stopping dead on their tracks, wondering what that crazy girl from third grade is yelling about now.
The Vertexes like to take their time, apparently. The girls just continue with their lives because they still haven’t shown up yet. But there’s a strange bit here because Togo completely ignores Yuna’s question of how she stays so calm and focuses on her ribbon before the opening starts. I know it’s significant but I really have no idea what it means right now.
Looks like Fu wasn’t the only one that got a new fairy. I’m assuming this is some post-Mankai thing because Karin doesn’t get one. Interestingly, Togo only got one so it’s not like you can get more if you are specially good so… why the hell did she have three in the first place?
Fu tries to calm the girls down theorizing that the lack of enemy movements means the warning is a false alarm. And that’s when time stops. Sorry, Fu but this isn’t going to be your day.
But at least she gets a newly animated transformation thanks to her eyepatch and I think Karin also got a new one but I’m not sure. I wish they would reanimate Togo’s though, because you see her surprised and that made sense the first time she transformed but not so much now.
The girls also get some new flower markings which Yuna finds intriguing. We’re on the same boat.
The fight finally starts and the Vertex they have to kill is the Gemini one Itsuki took care of last time. I’m guessing this is the other half since Gemini is all about pairs but I’m seriously considering the possibility of the Vertex repeating themselves over and over ad infinitum.
Togo’s exceptional detective skills get a moment to shine when she theorizes that Karin didn’t get a fairy because she didn’t go Mankai. That was kind of obvious, really.
Karin does have a more interesting thought. The girls are pumped but they are not as quick to attack as they normally would, because losing more bodily functions is a big drawback. Again, kind of obvious but if it means Karin will take the spotlight during this fight, I’m all for it.
But nevermind that, Yuna motivates herself with the thought of completing the cultural festival—I swear the series is going to end and the girls still won’t finish that—and attacks the Vertex but not without the help of Karin.
The sealing ritual is go and the Vertex reveals its soul. Er, souls actually. Like, thousands of them. Fu sees dealing with them could accidentally make them go Mankai so she chooses to put the team on her shoulders and destroy them herself. Karin also decides to do it herself, though, and while they discuss who should take care of it, Yuna already set the souls on fire with a kick. Weird, I thought fire would be more Karin’s thing, and since when do the girls get elemental powers?
Of course, this rash behavior worries the rest of the team and Yuna even gets new markings on the back of her hand. Once in the real world, Karin tells her to go home with her because she’s going to give her a lecture but it’s clear she wants to keep an eye on her in case the after-effects include explosive diarrhea or something equally embarrassing.
I’m sorry, I think my mind went to that image because it beats thinking about her tongue falling off. Maybe I should write this when I’m a little more lucid.
Anyway, the bad news is Yuna and Togo are… gone. They are all the way near the bridge of the title sequence for some unexplained reason.
Oh boy, here’s where the creepy stuff starts, doesn’t it?
A girl in a hospital bed welcomes them and is glad to finally see them. Yuna asks the sensible question of what the hell she’s doing out in an abandoned bridge in such a condition—she has bandages on her face and only one arm left—but the girl ignores it and calls Togo by another name.
The girl confirms my suspicions: She is indeed a former magical girl. Also, I’m 97% she has Madoka’s English voice so that’s a funny unintentional reference. A veteran magical girl talking to the new generation of heroes? Cute, even if it’s by accident.
That potential crossover is going to have to wait, though, because the girl—Nogi—didn’t get injured in battle, no, that would be too nice. Mankai did this to her.
I’ll let you take a moment to gasp at how shocking that revelation is.
Ok, maybe I’m being a bit unfair again, but the hints of that were already shown in episode six. What wasn’t shown was the hidden feature of Mankai: Sange. Also known as “holy fuck I don’t want superpowers if it means slowly dying”.
I especially love how she describes the system. “Losing things” is a lot more creepy than it sounds when it involves things like limbs.
“And in exchange heroes never die”. This Overwatch update is getting really weird.
“That’s a good thing. Who wants to die anyway, right?”. Ok, Yuna I know it’s a coping mechanism but that’s way too much optimism at this point.
This time around the justification for why they need young girls is their pureness. I guess that means they are virgins which is a super creepy to bring up, man.
And the description of the equivalent exchange makes me think of cannibalism for some reason. I guess I’m just picturing the girls’ limbs and organs as offerings and what do gods do with those? Well, they eat them.
Oh and wanna know something even better? She heavily implies the system’s after-effects can’t be undone. Hope you can find another dream worth fighting for, Itsuki.
Some agents of the Taisha show up but Nogi tells them to stay down since Yuna and Togo are her guests. Surprisingly, they obey her.
This finally makes Nogi break down and cry because she wishes someone would have told her about the Hero System beforehand. Togo gets closer to comfort her and the conversation quickly turns to her ribbon.
“Isn’t there any way for us to try and change the system?” Well, you better start reading up how to remake the universe with your own improved physical laws. Man, you know things are fucked when making a deal with Kyubey starts looking like a sensible option.
I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on here. At least when it comes to Togo. Remember what I said the second her amnesia was mentioned way back in the second episode or so? A detail like that is an obvious plot point but I think I finally figured out how it all ties together.
Let’s go over the facts. All the girls got a single fairy when they joined. Even Karin, the veteran, had only one so what made Togo so special to get three out of the gate? She wasn’t the most physically capable out of the group and she certainly didn’t have more knowledge about the Hero System than anyone else… or did she?
We now know that the price for achieving Mankai also includes things like limb loss but the first few symptoms seem to be more subtle. They are things you can’t really tell from a distance since even Fu’s fucked up eye looks completely normal—then again, Itsuki becoming mute is fairly obvious but bear with me.
What can you lose besides your senses or your voice? How about something equally “invisible” but still pretty bad… like your ability to walk?
This is how I think it goes: Togo used to be friends with this girl and her real name was Wasshi or whatever. She achieved Mankai three times—which is why she has three fairies—and as a consequence lost the ability to move her legs.
There are two problems with that theory, though. The first one is how the Taisha was able to erase Togo’s past. A big organization like that wouldn’t have a problem making fake birth certificates and the like but what about Togo’s parents? They were either brainwashed (which seems unlikely), killed and replaced (a bit too high profile for them, I think) or they are in on it. This part is not that important to be honest since Togo’s parents barely influence the story but it’s interesting to think about.
The second problem is where things get weird. Assuming my initial theory is true—you kinda have to to see if it has any holes, it’s the scientific method, look it up—that means Togo was able to somehow break away free of the system. Now you may think that’s ludicrous and it is but think about it. Where are Nogi’s friends? They are either still fighting Vertex—which is a little concerning—or, and this is where it gets creepy, they are “gone”. See, Nogi mentioned that heroes don’t die in exchange for taking part in this brutal system so, how can you end up so physically damaged that you can’t even share a hospital room with your friend?
Ok, nice breather to get the creepy pictures off my head. I’m pretty sure… I hope we don’t get to see limbless eyeless girls flayed alive and barely held together inside water tanks or something. Shit’s fucked up, yo.
But anyway, I feel that the Taisha wouldn’t let one of their members resign just like that, would they? They are all about secrecy and letting a teenager go back to do her own thing, even if they couldn’t prove the existence of the Vertexes, would be uncharacteristic of them.
Unless… that teenager didn’t even remember the Taisha existed in the first place. That’s what I think happened with Togo. If you take her number of fairies into consideration we can make a rough timeline: The fourth one came after she achieved Mankai with the Hero club, obviously, and after that she became deaf on one ear. That leaves three fairies. We’ll take one down for her paralysis which just leaves us with two. I feel that the memory thing is some kind of deal with the Taisha and it can’t be that so the only way I can see it work is by stretching the definition and making her lose the ability to move one leg which leaves us with one fairy left, the original one she got when she first became a
The last scene is both girls going back home in a Taisha limo. Yuna hugs Togo and reassures her there’s a way out of this. Well, you better start looking for creepy cats because I have no idea how you can, Yuna.
I have to say this episode was so good it made the last one better by proxy. Instead of being a beach episode with some plot at the end—which, don’t get me wrong, it totally was—now it’s a representation of what the girls would eventually lose by taking part in these fights. We already saw Yuna not being able to enjoy her food thanks to Sange but that’s peanuts compared to what kind of shitty existence it could give them after repeated uses.
I’m sure I’m not 100% percent right with my theory about Togo because there are a few bits that don’t make much sense but I feel I’m close. And hey, maybe the series truly surprises me and I was completely wrong. That would be nice.