Playtime is over.
I still don’t know why girls go to the bathroom in groups, but they’re definitely not a group any longer. Playtime is over. According to Sakuya, if Kotarou treasures his current, ordinary life, he should stop sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. I’m not quite sure how to respond to that, not least of all because Kotarou is and should be involved in the struggle over Kagari more than anyone else – and as the person who previously held the rewriting ability, Sakuya should be perfectly aware of that. Yotarou only ended up being able to leisurely enjoy his ‘youth’ in school in the first place after Kagari wiped the floor with him when he was still a Guardian agent. You can tell from his passionate speech at the start that he really did love the Occult Club, though – it felt a little out of place in the anime given that they haven’t animated enough of the many Occult Club activities contained in the common route, nor have we heard much of his inner thoughts on this matter, but it was a really important place to him. Remember that despite his seemingly outgoing nature, Kotarou has very few real friends outside of the club members and Yoshino – he believes that the girls think of the club as highly as he does, which is why he teared up when they accepted its demise without arguing against it at all.
Was it Inoue’s fault? Kind of, but not really. In the end, the girls all have very different prior affiliations, and this is why the Occult Club was doomed from the very start. Even if Inoue hadn’t disappeared, it’s not like Kotarou would be able to continue living like he has been for much longer – in the near future, it’s possible that everyone’s ordinary lives will be over if Gaia succeeds in invoking the song of destruction. And even if Kotarou hadn’t chosen to stick his nose in, the club would still have fallen apart – the escalating conflict between Gaia and Guardian means that the girls in the Occult Club would have gradually drifted away in the days to come regardless of whether they found out the truth about each other. So although the breakup was accelerated by Inoue’s disappearance, it was inevitable either way. It’s just a matter of when, and that time just happened to be now.
I liked the Leaf Dragon fight! I was never a fan of the CG used when animating the dog familiars, and somehow they managed to make the dinosaurs look even more bizarre than they already were in Moon, but I really liked what they did with the Leaf Dragon and how it was illuminated from behind by the moonlight. It gave off a similar sense of imminent danger to what I felt whilst reading through the fight in the VN, especially when it was sucking Kotarou’s blood out with its proboscis. It would have been nice if the entire Occult Club had been there during the encounter though, as from what I can remember it was the crucial turning point that got everyone to realise that they were all involved with the supernatural in different ways – and the dinosaur familiars just don’t have the same impact. I’m pretty sure they’re only supposed to appear in Moon actually, and only because of Kashima Sakura. I’ve also always wondered why the Leaf Dragon chose to attack Kotori – was she just the easiest target? It wouldn’t attack Akane or Chihaya, but it’d be interesting if it had some sort of reason for going for Kotori over Kotarou. Like if it could sense the druid in her or something.
Just like in the game, Kagari-chan saves the day! It’d be pretty funny if Akane and Chihaya now believe that Kotarou is strong enough to beat a Leaf Dragon on his own – they must already know that he’d killed some familiars prior to meeting them given the blood on his clothes. I’d like to think that Kotori was the one who brought Kagari to save Kotarou, instead of Kagari just wandering to him on her own volition – but it’s possible that Kagari sensed that he was in the forest and went over for a snack. Kotarou is still far more terrified of her than he should be, you’d think that he would have had a conversation or two with her by now given that this is supposed to be a Kagari route – I guess all he can remember of her is that she has a shocking level of combat ability and that she’d grievously wounded him sometime in the past. It definitely looked like a ribbon was about to attack him as she approached him at the end there, although I can’t tell whether Kotori didn’t want Kagari to hurt Kotarou or the other way around. Maybe both? I’m fairly sure that Kagari only becomes a threat when someone tries to do something to her first.
So the cat is out of the bag, and we Guardian now. I think. I actually don’t know – this is supposed to be the point where Kotarou chooses a heroine based on how he’d interacted with them during the common route, and given the two episodes dedicated to Lucia and Shizuru you would think we’d be leaning towards a Guardian alignment. It’d be really helpful to know what option Kotarou chose on that questionnaire Akane gave him during the first episode, although maybe there’s something to be inferred from the fact that she wasn’t too impressed with his choice. It’s unlikely to be the Gaia-affiliated response, in other words. Add that to how the confrontation between the girls went down, and everything seems set up for Gaia to be the antagonists. But then there’s also Kagari to think about – this is supposed to be her route, and I really doubt her route involves teaming up with hunters to kill her. Whatever happens, we should be onto anime-original material from next week onward, and I just hope it involves Kotori. I want to give her a big hug, she doesn’t deserve to suffer alone in the forest.