“I Want to Connect, So I’m Not Giving Up”
Thursdays at 3:55 pm EST on Crunchyroll
After failing to defeat the latest zombie kappa, the boys remain trapped in the kappa world. This doesn’t seem so bad until they discover the Otter Empire’s next target.
I’m comfortable saying this was the best episode of Sarazanmai yet. It was very well paced and executed, coming together in a climax that could have been the end of the series. There are a number of great scenes to talk about, but more importantly they blow the lid off the themes we’ve been exploring. Rather than recap everything, let’s dive into that.
Up to now there’s been a lot of talk about connections and desires, but this episode introduces a new factor: love. We first see this mentioned when Reo decides to take Haruka, wondering if this was a case of desire or love. Through the course of the episode, we’re left to think about what is different between the two. This is my favorite kind of storytelling. We’re not explicitly told the difference between love and desire, we’re shown by using Kazuki as an example.
There are different ways you can interpret this love versus desire question. For me, I think desires are selfish and love is unselfish. If we start by looking at Kazuki, his actions have been selfish. Dressing up as and later kidnapping Sara is not what Haruka wanted, it’s what Kazuki thought he needed to do to feel better about his guilt. Later, after being exposed and seeing Haruka in danger, he is willing to go as far as sacrificing his life to save him. Normally dying for someone would be the ultimate expression of love, but even that was a selfish means of escape. As a final piece of visual evidence, keep in mind we’ve established that boxes are for holding desires. It’s possible Reo wasn’t testing Haruka’s desire, Haruka WAS the desire and Kazuki was the one being tested.
The turning point is when Kazuki is about to sacrifice himself and Enta reminds him this is not what Haruka would want. Haruka didn’t want Kazuki running around trying to please him and he certainly doesn’t want Kazuki gone. He just wants his big brother to stay with him and be happy. When Kazuki realizes this, their connection instantly turns to love.
You could extrapolate that to every other mention of desire we’ve seen. Enta is interesting because I do think he genuinely loves Kazuki, but specifically his romantic desires are one-sided. Toi is actually in a similar situation as Kazuki, which he even states in an earlier episode. He’s fixated on the wrong way of connecting with his brother. Even the silly, random desires of the zombie kappa are very self centered and don’t take others into consideration.
With Kazuki’s mind at ease and his arc seemingly complete, I do wonder if any of the remaining plot threads are going to carry the same emotional weight as this one. Toi’s story has a lot of legs left, and of course we did see the Hot Cops background open up a bit. We know the Otters are seeking to only make connections through desires, as opposed to the Kappa whom I am assuming are all about love. Or so it would seem.
If I can wildly speculate on the post credits scene, it appears to be a flashback where Reo saved Mabu’s life. We got hints last week that these two did something they don’t want the higher ups to know about. Could it be that unselfish act of love from a long time ago? Do Reo and Mabu love each other in a way that is forbidden by their people? What are both the in-universe and real world implications of those questions? That’s what I’m going to be looking for in the second half and I can’t wait.