Recap: Atsushi comes into full control as Hazuki is turned into the ghost. Will the desperate husband really sacrifice Hazuki to have his beloved Rokka?
Wow, after a few weeks of nothing in the picture-world, things move incredibly fast. I was looking for an adequate explanation for the behaviors of that world, and I was not disappointed. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that this entire world was a fabrication by Atsushi. The picture-Rokka was never some individual entity, but merely a puppet meant to string Hazuki along. It makes her bold and indifferent attitude towards Hazuki take on a whole new and underhanded meaning, as Atsushi toyed with Hazuki’s feelings just to spite him.
I’m still confused as to Atsushi’s motives. In the beginning of this episode, he displays a malevolent spite which seems intent on erasing Hazuki from the picture. He even discusses to Hazuki once he becomes a ghost that he does not want the current state of affairs to change. However, we see him talk about his last meal, and his last time with Rokka. What changed from the beginning of this episode to the end of this episode to cause him to think the total opposite.
I was wondering how Rokka would take this news in light of what had happened, and I’m glad it didn’t drop the point of when Atsushi took control. I imagine it’s only because it truly is her husband that she does not feel incredible betrayal by the fact that Atsushi pretended to be Hazuki and courted her affections in that facade. While it is understandable that she would be so emotional upon realizing she could talk to her deceased husband again, there was a man she fell in love with that is not the ego she is currently interacting with.
Overall I was really impressed by this episode. With only two more at the start I was worried there wouldn’t be enough time to really wrap up the story. The revelation of the picture-world as well as Hazuki’s current situation did not feel forced and I was pleasantly surprised by the small twists that occurred. While it appears that Atsushi will disappear in the finale, I still have doubts as to how this story can pull off a happy ending. Even though Rokka was finally getting over Atsushi’s death and accepting Hazuki into her life, she was able to interact with her husband again and had expressed her love without Hazuki present. I don’t see Rokka being able to quickly overcome this turn of events so easily.
They are still young, and there will be plenty of time to settle things down once Atsushi has passed on. As such a huge issue for me, I do hope we get more to the post-Atsushi life of these two beyond a happy ending, and see that overcoming loss again will be hard, and acceptance slow. To see Hazuki support Rokka at the end, more than just embrace her, would really make this show feel special for me, a truly adult story in a genre and medium that sorely lack it.