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I.S.S. KyoAni has deployed the KEY-class Heart-Breaker Cannon. ALL HANDS, BRACE FOR IMPACT!!

This episode showed that KyoAni has not forgotten how to create this almost unbearable atmosphere – a skill they gained when working on KEY shows like Clannad or Air. The soft and distant piano, the bleak colours prevailing throughout the episode – it’s like certain episodes of Clannad After Story all over again.

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Obviously, the first person of interest in this episode is none other than Rikka herself. Three weeks have passed since the fateful cultural festival, and Rikka’s struggling to adapt to reality. It’s good to see that Yuuta’s actions didn’t lead to them breaking up just right after the confession, but there is an air of uneasiness around Rikka.

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There are times when it seems as if Rikka isn’t even her anymore – these distant, half-closed eyes are very telling. Even though she finally managed to talk to the rest of the class and even get a few friends, it’s almost as if she was a zombie – devoid of happiness and the genkiness of her old self. Even the “Reality, be rent! Synapse, break! Banishment, this world!” cannot penetrate the apathy surrounding Rikka.

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What we see here is a kid, who is completely lost. Her sister has moved away, she barely knows her mother and she can’t even fall back on her Tyrant’s Eye anymore. It’s easy to understand why she’d cling to the last constant in her world – her love for Yuuta. And the said Yuuta has troubles of his own.

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Togashi-kun isn’t stupid. He sees that something is wrong, but he also realises that he is the one who pushed Rikka over the edge and it would hurt her even more if he backed down right now. After all, Rikka is making progress – she has new friends, she made up with her mother and is slowly being reintegrated into the society. A bit of gloominess surely isn’t a steep price for doing what was needed to be done. But Nibutani correctly points out that perhaps they are trying too hard. Sure, accepting reality is a necessary step and Yuuta should be commended for going through with it despite the consequences and his own doubts, but that shouldn’t mean that Rikka needs to abandon everything at once. A bit of fantasy never hurt anybody.

Throughout the series it was often said that Rikka’s attitude created problems for others. The adults assumed that they know what’s best for her and so passed the judgement – her weird behaviour is unacceptable. It isn’t much of a surprise that now they are happy – Touka openly thanks Yuuta for all that he’s done, Rikka’s mother is supposedly happy as well, and Rikka herself does everything to make them happy. But the one question that is hinted, but is never asked in this episode, is “What does Rikka want?”. Nibutani and Togashi both see the problem – but the former has too little to say to make a difference, and the latter ignores the issue because he himself is unsure what’s the right thing to do. And the adults, being adults, are just content with themselves that the problem is apparently gone.

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Dekomori, being the perceptive girl that she is, knows that this whole situation sucks and, being the good friend that she is, she tries to save Rikka. But there is little that she can do at this point. Her attempts at making Rikka ‘snap out’ of her conditions are useless and eventually she is just dragged away with what was perhaps the most natural, realistic and convincing screaming I’ve ever seen in an anime.

This leads to the best scene of the episode – the train station.

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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! - 11 Screenshot 20“Why didn’t you tell her?” indeed, though I think that Deko’s thinking is a bit wrong. I don’t believe that Rikka wanted to hear about the Tyrant’s Eye or how she shouldn’t go. But damn it, Yuuta, why didn’t you ask her if you could come with her? You just sent a completely lost girl to face the harsh fact that her father is dead ALONE and instead of at least *trying* to boost her confidence, you put on the fakest smile possible? Pathetic. If you doubt whether she’ll come back, THEN YOU SHOULD JUST GO AND MAKE SURE THAT SHE DOES. He’ll probably do just that next episode, but this was such a simple decision that could defuse the situation in seconds. Instead, we get this:

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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! - 11 Screenshot 23Great job at handling the situation, Yuuta :P

Next episode is the finale one – and I’m looking forward to KyoAni proving that there are still some emotions left in that cynical heart of mine.

 

 

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