And Illya has decided that she would rather be a loser.
OK. That is a little harsh. It is more like she has decided to leave the dangerous work to the professionals. Or at least that is what she keeps telling herself. But more on that in the article itself.
The most interesting thing about this episode is so far up until now the anime has pretty much mirrored the manga. There have been some minor tweaks there and there but that is the nature of adaptation from one medium to another. It is not the almost panel for panel reproduction of something like Naoki Urasawa’s Monster but it is hardly the fast and loose takes of something like Hayate The Combat Butler or Excel Saga as well. So this episode really stands out as it is the first instance that a good deal of completely original material has been added.
In the manga this episode basically speeds by in one chapter called “Become a Normal Girl Again”. It sort of starts in the same place and definitely ends in the same place but the middle has much more meat in it. The real question is if that was the best idea. It was certainly different.
After nearly killing her teammates Illya has decided the life of a normal girl suits her better. But the next day at school feels like the worst work place break up in the world. And so Miyu will have to take on the last card all by herself.
For some reason this whole episode felt like a messy break up to me. Not one of those somewhat clean breaks were you can generally avoid the person you are no longer with. It is more one of those horrible separations were you have mostly the same friends and the same places you hang out. So you have to deal with the other person but you do it in an utter dysfunctional manner. And no one has official said, “We can’t go on like this.” but the words hang above everybody anyhow. Therefore you, your soon to be ex , and everyone you know is trapped in an uncomfortable limbo.
I’m not sure that is the feeling they were going for. It could be my odd predisposition to make analogies that either involve food or broken relationships. That alone is probably a long internal introspection in of itself. But the vibe is there even if it was never meant to be.
Illya wakes up with a mixture of dread and relief. Relief that she no longer has to risk her life but also dread of dealing with Miyu. One one hand she almost seriously injured everyone on her team. On the other hand she is just leaving her friend to face the horrors alone as well. But sometimes you just have to march forward because sitting at home only lets you stew in your sickly juices. And your eventually going to have to deal with the fall out anyhow. So despite the urging of Sella she goes to school.
In the original manga Sella finds an unconscious Illya and tries to get her to tell her what is going on. They just skip over that part. Therefore Sella remains concerned but now she is in the dark.
When Illya gets to school she encounters the elephant in the room about last night. Illya refuses to talk to Miyu and Miyu refuses to say anything as well. So they basically give off an unbearable level of tension between the two of them. The socially conscious of the group know to avoid treading in the emotional minefield but Tatsuko Gakumazawa rushes in like there was free ice cream in the middle of the two girls who are upset. And like most people running wildly through a battlefield she gets blown up for her rashness and lack of observational skills.
And that is the manga basically ends that part of school. Ruby and Illya have a bit of a conversation but other than that the school time scenes are over. Here was have a lot more of the classroom quartet and a storytelling project. They are assigned to draw a story with illustrations so all the primary and secondary cast is in one group and everyone else is in other groups that no one cares about. Tatsuko is the only who has any energy but she wants to draw the most inaccurate story of the Peach Boy the world has ever seen. This version has rokurokubi, Otohime. Juliet, and whatever the heck that thing that breathes fire and farts death is that she drew in the first picture. But no known sighting of Momotaro himself.
Oh and the writers rage of Suzuka’s fujoshi doujinshi fan comes out. And of course Suzuka is the fujoshi of the group. If you put a girl with glasses like that in anime people will make her a fujoshi even if they don’t exist in the setting. Just look at Hanji Zoe.
But as much as I might make the break up analogy the real message is clear from this exchange. In the end nothing gets done. Everyone tries to go off like a lone wolf assuming someone else will be able to do what needs to be done. Miyu isolates herself, Illya assumes she has nothing to contribute and shuts down, and Tatsuko flails around like a moron, It the 6 of them could have openly communicated then something could have been salvaged.
The message is clear. Sometimes people need help. The capable are not always invincible and the weak are not always useless. But both sides has to accept that and work together.
Either that or they should have just maced Tatsuko.
While all of that is going on we see Ruby and Sapphire are talking about what is to be done. But this prompts the little sister to remember her first meeting with Miyu in the park. What is interesting is this not only new material but it is information that we don’t really get until later in the manga. In the manga we know there is something up with Miyu for a while but they only hint at it. Here it is implicitly show that Miyu was homeless and needed Luvia to take her in. It is interesting that they play that card so early in the anime. Of course we are only beginning to understand in the manga why Miyu was in that position in the first place so they can’t say more than that in the anime.
The other new scene of far less importance is the conversation between Sella, Leysritt, and Shiro. Since in the anime Sella has not confronted Illya about sneaking out at night so she merely has a more generic scene with Leysritt over being concerned about a frequently more exhausted Illya. It degrades into a battle around Sella’s lack of a chest and Shiro opening his mouth when silence would be the best recourse.
On the other hand Illya is showing the signs of major depression. No matter what is going on around you a depressed person often feels trapped in a well of despair. Even when your brain tells you that you theoretically should be feeling anything else you just can’t feel anything but awful and listless.
And so Illya resigns to losing because it is better than not doing anything any losing anyway. She tells Rin she can’t fight anymore. But it feels less like a brave act of separation and more like a cowardly break up with Miyu through a third-party. But Rin lets Illya off the emotional hook the best she can in her trademark stoic manner. She admits that the card capturing business was an unfair task to give to another. Illya feels an odd sense of rejection from Rin but Rin tries to make it clear that she has no hard feelings. But when Rin tries to get Ruby back her wand refuses to go.
But Miyu overhears the conversation and declares she needs no one but herself to get the last card and goes off.
It is really one of those situations were a mixture of pride and stubbornness refuse to let you say what you want. Have you ever really wanted someone else to chip in on the check but can’t bring yourself to ask that they help out? The other person wants to throw in some money. They know they should but since the other person won’t ask they cowardly keep what they have. It then creates this horrible tension. The person who pays all the money feels a mixture of resentment and anger. They feel like the other person should have given that aid willingly not because their arm was twisted. The other person feels bad because instead of having the burden of less money they have this new terrible burden of feeling like they let down the other person.
Such is the power of communication and the trouble that occurs when it is severed.
In the anime I feel this odd resentment between the Illya and Miyu. In the manga there is a little more insight into what Miyu is thinking so it is much clearer that she is worried about Illya. But Miyu also did not blow up at Illya in the manga so there less of this horrible divide between the two.
The new material undoubtedly changes the pace. There is a very deliberate pace in the manga that is going to tell the story of this card capturing adventure in two books come hell or high water. In many ways I feel that is the pace people want. There are breaks in between the fights but overall there is a very strict fight and then a short rest followed by another fight formula. The anime is clearly trying to slow that down. In the next part of the story the pace is much slower with a but more horsing around. Maybe there attempting to slow down the pace so the next part is not as jarring. Or maybe they just want to add their own mark to the story. I’m not sure. I don’t have a real problem with the new pacing. I mostly just wanted to point out the changes.
OK. That roof looks familiar. Is that a known Fuyuki City building or just a random one? Those building lights are on skyscrapers all throughout the visual novel. Any version of the intro to the game will show you that. But that helipad looks familiar. But I can’t find it when Rin jumps off the building in the prologue or when Saber fights Rider in the Fate path. So is my mind playing trick on me or is that supposed to be someplace I know? In the manga the building is even less distinct and looks highly generic so that is no clue.
So Miyu, Rin, and Luvia go to take on a Greek hero whose love for you is like a truck. As he is one of the hardest servants to kill it looks like Miyu is not going to have a good time.