Last episode ended with Mei and Kouichi in the former’s home, talking about 9-3’s messy business, and this one continues that conversation. We see that the class actually asked Mei about her being cast in the role of the outcast. It’s not much of a choice since it’s ‘agree or risk death’ so she complies. There’s also a glimpse of Izumi, Blondie and Kazami discussing how Kouichi transferring has resulted in an extra student. Turns out Izumi did check if he were the horrorterror thing (yes, I insist on calling the extra dead student that) but concluded he wasn’t because a) he hasn’t lived in Yomiyama before and b) his hands weren’t cold.
Mei lists the class rules which include not talking about the non-existent student idea to anyone outside of the class and also giving the oldest desk to Mei. She’s certain that she’s not the dead person but we don’t get to know why. Her mother joins them at this point and they have a stilted exchange. When Mei walks him home later, Kouichi asks why Mei and her mother talk as if they’re strangers. Mei’s response is that they’ve always been like this, that she’s just her mother’s puppet and not real to her.
From that they move on to the topic of Kouichi’s non-existence in 9-3. It’s really just a desperate attempt to make that charm stronger. 9-3 messed up by not informing Kouichi in time about Mei and are now unsure about whether it would be enough if he started ignoring her. So they just chose to add him to the nonexistent list in hopes that it would strengthen the charm while also saving them the trouble of explaining everything to him.
She also tells him about her eye. She lost hers when she was four from a tumor. Her mum wanted to give her a special, beautiful eye but she almost died during the surgery. Mei says she was conscious of it happening and describes death as being black as far as they eye can see while you’re all alone in it. She also adds that no matter what relationships you have, in the end, you’re all alone.
There’s an interesting conversation that night when Kouichi’s dad calls him. Kouichi asks him if his mother told him anything about 9-3 but gets no information. However, his dad then asks if Kouichi’s enjoying being back in Yomiyama after one and a half years. Kouichi’s naturally confused since this is his first time here since junior high started and then his dad also agrees to that after some suspicious static.
The next few days in class see Kouichi and Mei spending all their time together and being generally cute. A foray to the art club has all the students from the other classes greeting Mei enthusiastically until Yuuya shows up and herds them all out with lame excuses and a lot of terror.
Later, they both go to the library where Chibiki, the librarian, is informed of Kouich’s new status. It’s revealed that he was the 9-3’s homeroom teacher when Ritsuko was part of it. It also sounds like he was the 9-3 teacher when the original Yomiyama Misaki (who was a guy and died in a house fire that killed his whole family) mess happened but that part’s a bit vague. Chibiki does answer all of Kouichi’s questions though. The people in danger of dying are the students and those Yomiyama residents related to them within two degrees of separation – so basically parents, grandparents and siblings. Homeroom teachers and assistant homeroom teachers are also in danger – the current assistant teacher, Mikami, has already gone through this once.
As for the records, Chibiki gives an example of the class curse – a girl who died in 1993 returned to class in 1996. While it lasts, memories and records are altered and there’s no hope of finding who’s the horrorterror thing but afterwards, it all reverts to their natural states and detection is possible. Of course, it’s too late by then. Chibiki also puts forth the idea that the whole thing isn’t a curse, just a natural phenomenon without malice.
I’d say that Yukari with an umbrella through her neck and Mizuno who got crushed by an elevator would beg to differ.
Anyway, the best part? Even the one functional countermeasure only has 50% success rate. Sometimes, the cause of failure is something as obvious as the ignored student rebelling but other times, there’s no discernible reason for it to fail. So, to be succinct and crass, 9-3 is fucked no matter what they do.
Before they leave, Kouichi asks whether the deaths happened in the 9-3 of fifteen years ago, when Reiko was in it. Guess he has made the connection between his mother and her sister. Reiko all but confirms this at home. Of course, she’s not certain about it. She also says that the calamity stopped mid-year that term and that something happened during the summer break but she can’t remember what.
The plot thickens!
The next day, 9-3 is greeted to the sight of their dear homeroom teacher coming to class like an ambling zombie and pulling a knife on them after a hysterical speech.
…this show loves its cliffhnagers, huh?
Damn, this is one convoluted story. No, that’s not a complaint.
There has been so much information dumped on us this episode that I had to pause the episode a lot and take twice the usual time to write this post. But Another seems to know what it’s doing and I get the feeling that all this information is eventually going to come together into one big picture. It better be a pretty impressive picture.
What caught my attention most this time was Mei’s relationship with her mother and Kouichi’s phone call with his father.
Mei is Kirika’s puppet? She’s not real to her mother? What? The?? Hell??? I can’t even begin to guess what that’s all about and I can’t wait to find out. I’m also curious as to why Mei is so sure she’s not the one who’s dead.
As for Kouichi…is he the horroterror thing? Because that phone call has got me very suspicious especially when I remember that in one of the earlier episodes, one of the 9-3 kids mentioned that the class two years before them experienced the curse/calamity/whatever. That coincides with the time Kouichi’s father thinks he was in Yomiyama. So, is Kouichi actually a fourteen year old or was he that age two years ago or is this all just one big red herring? Also, when Izumi implied that the horrorterror thing’s skin is cold, was she stating a fact or a hopeful guess?
Who knows? Not me, not yet.
But speculating is fun.