This episode was a step in the right direction. Safu made her return, and we discovered a bit more about the disease and its apparent spread.
The main reason I felt things were improved, however, was because Shion and Nezumi weren’t together much. This isn’t the best of signs. Alone, each of them is tolerable, even if they aren’t the best characters. But when they’re together… The scenes where Shion was with the dog woman and his mother’s friend were pretty decent, until Shion heard about the bee disease spreading and started screaming about how he had to tell Shion right this second or the world would end. People miss their significant other when they’re apart, but the extent Shion takes this to is simply ridiculous. And then after he rushes over to the theater, Shion decides he shouldn’t go in because Nezumi told him not to. I don’t care what you do, Shion, just don’t waste my time titillating.
I will admit that the dancing scene was nice though (at least in terms of animation). Some very nice scenery. Shion’s confession afterward and the hitting of Nezumi’s weak point… ugh. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as the fiasco at the theater.
Interestingly, Shion is already becoming more popular than Nezumi due to his less abashed charity. He’s already closer to the dog woman and the neighborhood children than Nezumi ever was. For those who are wondering, the story Shion read to the children was Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, and the show has already referenced it several times. My simplistic interpretation: Shion is the prince, who has already lost his ruby / hair, and Rat is the Swallow. Who will the reed be?
The other event of note is Safu’s return. I had kind of assumed that all of No. 6 was as frank about sex and reproduction as Safu, but this appears to be incorrect. She’s an oddball even in the cities. It seemed that the creators were trying to show how Safu changed a lot since she left, with her classmates claiming the only thing that hadn’t changed about her was her frankness regarding reproduction. I can’t really see how she’s changed at all though. She seems exactly the same to me. Perhaps she’s a bit more pretentious?
The other thing is that vision. Why did both Safu and Nezumi see the same thing? The only thing they appear to have in common is that they both know Shion, who happened to be in the vision. Perhaps not only did the bees affect him, but he affected the bees? My suspicion is still that the bees are a censorship tool used by the city— everyone so far has become ill after voicing some rebellious ideas. Hard to say though.
With Safu coming back next week to
say goodbye to her grandmother fight off her love rivals, I’m optimistic that things will improve. My patience is gradually wearing thing with No. 6, however.