Dealing with nothing but curve balls from last week, we’re thrown another one this round with a healthy dose of Ayaka back story. We find out there’s more to that awkward smile of hers than meets the eye, as well as what it means to take a leap of faith in a direction impossible to turn back from.
(If you’re looking forward to this episode and haven’t seen it yet, I strongly suggest you hold off on reading this.)
I found this scene of the flowerbed hauntingly similar to the Boss’ field of flowers in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Who would have thought that Ayaka would have taken such drastic measures in an attempt to end her life? And for what reason? The answers were only partially revealed this week as we struggle to piece together still-vague clues of her brother Toshi’s addictions, the mysterious Angel Fix drug hitting the streets, and Toshi’s botanical undergraduate friend; none of which helped to justify those last few moments of this episode.
With what little evidence we can gather, I wonder if I’m the only one trying to deduce the idea that Ayaka had secretly been helping Hakamizaka develop Angel Fix through her own botanical collection in the Gardening Club greenhouse. I doubt her reasoning of forbidding Narumi to enter the greenhouse at one point during the episode was good enough to cover up what was really going on inside of there. Besides, I also doubt Narumi would have a key to access it, seeing as how Ayaka is practically club president (if it hadn’t been mentioned before). I’m sure the guilt of indirectly causing her pain, coupled with a rather left-field revealing of her social issues springing back to life caused her to take said leap of faith into that beautiful bed of flowers.
Besides, if Ayaka really did take a permanent trip to care for the flowerbeds of heaven, who else besides Meo will help Alice cosplay as last night’s leftovers?
For an abrupt cliffhanger that’s sure to be the most shocking of this past summer season lineup, it sure delivered on the surprise. Conversely, it shouldn’t be surprising beyond the fact that it’s a main character that was affected since the show has always dealt with the heavier topics of suicide (from episode one) to gang wars (episodes five through eight). But in hindsight, the direction of this episode means that the show finally came around full circle in both character develop and story progression. All that’s left is for the remaining cast to deliver upon the ideals they’ve grown into since nine whole weeks ago. Narumi’s resolve to be a detective in Alice’s crew will be upheld with an even stronger morale boost now that he’s been directly affected by this recent case’s circumstances. And without Ayaka around, I’m sure the solemness and grief, just like Narumi’s observation of the coming and going of overcast weather during his last months spent with her, will give way to the resolution of what I hope will be a riveting final arc.
Next week: Narumi (re)accepts his devotion to being a detective’s assistant to close the lid on Ayaka’s case once and for all. Does that mean we get to see Alice and Narumi interlock their arms and drink a can of DoKuPe in unison?