Kazuki’s spectacularly bad plan for the Sara fan meeting actually goes ahead, with Tooi ‘kidnapping’ Sara so that Kazuki can take her place. Luckily, even seeing the obviously fake Sara in person, Haruka doesn’t suspect a thing. Unluckily, the real Sara isn’t actually human, and thus was easily able to escape every single confinement Tooi tried to lock her in. She manages to get back to the venue right as her manager declares Kazuki to be a fake in front of everyone, and Haruka finally is confronted with the idea that his older brother has been dressing up as Sara the whole time and lying to him.
A zombie materializes – this time stealing all the ‘sachets’ (or scent pouches), but Kazuki is too mentally distraught to complete the Sarazanmai when a memory of his mother is forced out of him. For the first time, the zombie actually wins, and, angry at them all, Keppi refuses to turn the kappa boys back into humans.
Kazuki’s past also comes to light – he was apparently adopted, which he didn’t even find out until his grandfather was on his death bed. He thus has never felt truly connected to his adopted parents – even Haruka – and only managed to meet his birth mother recently. On one of the occassions he went to see her off at the station, Haruka followed him, and ends up getting hit by a car when Kazuki tried to get away from him. Despite everyone’s assurance that he wasnt at fault, Kazuki blames himself for Haruka’s injury and wheelchair, and had cut soccer out of his life as some kind of punishment for himself.
Well, I knew that Kazuki’s terrible plan was going to go wrong in some fashion, but I didn’t expect it to go completely belly-up so quickly. It’s a little ridiculous that literally nobody except Enta recognizes him in the Sara costume until his wig comes off – not even his (adoptive) parents, but it did make for a nicely dramatic moment. I know this statement is moot in an Ikuhara show but: I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen now – what Haruka is going to do, and how Kazuki will bounce back (and that’s if he does). The most gut-wrenching moment was Haruka declaring the real Sara to be the fake one because she didn’t know their ‘secret message’, as it really drove home that it was Kazuki who Haruka was so close to all along.
While Kazuki’s family situation does explain some of his actions, there is something weird about it and he clearly isn’t telling the entire truth – or else he’s jumping to some odd conclusions. There are a lot of things about his situation and the information given that don’t really add up, or seem off. His grandfather’s last words were cryptic – that his mother was ‘a messy woman’ (he’s actually calling her a slut) – which was enough information for him to gather that the parents he lived with weren’t his real ones. (which seems an odd way of delivering that information to me, and it implies his real mother is someone known to their family, even if only superficially). It was enough for him to feel out of place and disconnected with them, to the point of no longer wishing to dress like them. (I actually had no idea what he was talking about on my first viewing of the episode, but on the second I finally noticed everyone in that family wears stripes except for him). We have no idea how he met his biological mother – she literally appears out of thin air and seems to recognize him, and we don’t know why it took her so long, or why it had been kept secret. We don’t know what she was doing in Tokyo – only that her time there was apparently limited (and not why that is), as we see her at the end of the flashback going back home on the train, apparently upset that Kazuki never saw her off, as he was busy dealing with Haruka’s accident. And, last of all, his mother had some kind of special fragrance to her, which Haruka for some reason also had in his own scent pouch that get stolen by the Kappa zombie. Which, by the way, is also weird. We can assume he had that scent pouch with him because it was the lucky item that day…..but he only learned this while he was in line to meet Sara. Where did it come from? There’s really something off about all of that – a lot of things off – and I still don’t entirely trust Kazuki as a narrator. It’s pretty hard for me to know how to feel about this development as its too early to tell exactly where it’s going.
Possibly because of all this other stuff going on, the actual Kappa Zombie part was extremely lackluster, which was probably intentional so that it could be over and done with quickly – but I’d kind of been looking forward to seeing what the otter boys had done to up their game like they said they would in the previous episode, and it seems like they didn’t actually do anything that different. Kazuki only really failed because of his own stress. At any rate, this is the first time a Kappa Zombie hasn’t been defeated, but…we still don’t really know what happened to it. Presumably it got converted into energy for the Otters to use, but is the original human still erased from existence? Anyway, the Otters have some more cryptic dialogue for each other – they mention being able to leave their post now – although Mabu apparently also has to go for ‘maintenance’ (possibly related to that mechanical heart of his). Whatever this means, it’s something that caused Leo some anger – so hopefully we’ll get more info on the nature of their relationship soon, as its clearly an important thing. (I mean, it wouldn’t feature like that in the opening otherwise).
Lastly, there’s Sara. I always did suspect that she wasn’t human, but I didn’t expect it to be revealed so soon. I…assume she’s meant to be a kappa, as I said previously, but to be honest I didn’t expect that the weird mascot thing she always has was another form of hers, mainly because it doesn’t actually look like a kappa at all to me. She has the same jewel thing on her back as Keppi, (she also has a tissue box shaped like him) but she doesn’t have a beak. Anyway, despite the overall grim tone of the episode, most of the stuff involving her was light-hearted and fun – the montage of Tooi trying to contain her somewhere was extremely silly, and I liked the various sight gags such as her looking at what seemed to be google image search results of cucumbers on her phone. She’s a really fun character, but she’s always seemed more like a fantasy existence as we had yet to see her outside of her TV segments, and it feels whimsical seeing her interact with the ‘real’ world the other characters are in for once. I hope we get to see her interact with the boys some more soon, and I’m sure we will.