Recap: Sakura is still after blood, and she hopes to bring the fight straight to Mirai by… enrolling in her school? Yeah I didn’t really get the purpose of that either.
Back to the action this week as Sakura finally comes back into focus. Outside her identity as Yui’s sister not a whole lot is known about how she gained her power or what that power even is. Her sweet-ass halberd almost seemed like a Youmu of its own, the way its tendrils come out to absorb Youmu stones. Whatever it is, it obviously isn’t good. I did find the part about her transferring into their school to be weird. It seemed almost purposely set up so that she could interact with the characters post-redemption. Nothing about going to the same school as her would help her kill Mirai, as she doesn’t fight when people are around anyway.
I was hoping we were done with the silliness for now, but I suppose I don’t mind the prospect of having Mitsuki animated into hilarious positions every week for the men’s amusement. I don’t know why but I actually found the idea that she is explicitly stated as straddling a mic stand even more perverted than that one week where Akihito imagines her almost naked wearing five pairs of glasses. Mirai’s bonsai fetish is also continuing to be kinda a weird non-sequitur. I don’t get what it really adds to her characterization besides make her look even more incompetent, which just makes it more jarring when she acts like a badass in fights.
Speaking of badass fights, another good one here. Those hoping for BtB to go grimdark will be disappointed by the conclusion, though. Having Sakura be devoured by the weapon would be the perfect thing to encapsulate how cruel this show’s world can be, but they chose the path of redemption. Of course, they could be setting us up for an even more surprising death later on, but for now it makes me fear that there won’t be any tension once real danger shows up again, as it would appear no one can be at risk.
Jel’s Thoughts: I’m going to chime in with a guest appearance this week as this was arguably my favorite episode so far. For a series that has had a nasty habit of infodumping, they did a fantastic job this week of explaining that Sakura is just a normal (albeit really really sad) girl as well as the tremendous gap in power between her and Mirai, all without ever explicitly telling us. I also found the fact that Sakura has been getting by on pure vengeance and one really awesome weapon to be a pretty delicious twist as well.
It all probably boils down to me being a sucker for KyoAni’s subtle directing magic. My favorite specific example was the omelette rice, which Sakura detested but Mirai devoured. It’s the kind of thing in previous episodes I feel like they would shown Mirai walk in and say OH I’M SO HUNGRY AND POOR I’LL EAT THAT NO MATTER WHAT but this time they just cut to the empty plate. Even the hilariously over the top “Naked Salarymen” drama CD’s are woven into a mid conversation joke that never interrupts the flow of the episode. Those are small examples for sure, but it’s those little details that help elevate your show to the next level. I don’t think Beyond the Boundary is quite there, but it does show flashes of it every now and then.