Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
Whether you believe in a God or not, Episode 11 of Kuzu no Honkai brought about a change that could have easily been attributed to divine intervention. I’m not an animist or a theist, but I trust in the power of the human kindness. I believe in the power of transformation that comes from allowing a highly empathic person to connect with us on the deepest level. And that’s exactly what Kanai-sensei did.
You can throw out the window all those past assumptions that since everyone in this series had some kind of personality disorder then Kanai-sensei couldn’t be an exception. The scarce references to his mother pointed me to the wrong direction. ‘He has an Oedipus complex’ I presumed, ‘or maybe he was the victim of child abuse.’ Guilty of making assumptions guided by the anime’s plot, Kuzu no Honkai brought this episode to slap me in the face and shout, ‘WHAT NOW, YOU KNOW-IT-ALL?’ I’m sure that some people will delve deeper into analyzing the character’s behavior, but in my eyes, Kanai-sensei is just awesome.
Minagawa-sensei, true to her manipulative self, is still trying to milk Kanai-san’s feelings and add him to her collection of men, a collective whose behavior is justifying her whole existence. She is a slut who is incapable of feeling. Men hate her for not being able to change for their sake, for not being able to remain faithful, for not giving a damn about their feelings. Unable to find a role in which she can be herself, she assumes the necessary roles that can feed her with the thoughts and feelings of others. It’s the only life she ever knew, and maybe the only life she will ever know. A life that some part of her, a hidden subconscious that’s maybe not as sociopathic as the Akane we know, is observing from afar. How weird that that subconscious was penetrated for the first time by an outsider.
There is something wrong with you
In front of Kanai-sensei, Akane doesn’t have to pretend. And without her façade, it’s difficult to manipulate him. Kanai-sensei, loving and caring Kanai-sensei, is in love with Akane for exactly what she is. I’m not sure if that unrequited love is a result of love-blindness or of an incredible level of clarity, but it’s ,without a doubt, the kind of love that can change your very being.
Please don’t laugh when I tell you this, but the stars and flowers exist to be compared to you…
Akane struggles to understand their relationship as her calculations fail to provide any answer that she could comprehend. Indirectly, Kanai keeps bombarding her with his kindness. He understands why she does what she does. She loves her not for what she was or what she is or what she is slowly becoming as she opens up to him, but for everything she ever was, is, or will be. Akane was so used to people hating her that this kind of acceptance felt foreign, but at the same time liberating.
Hypothetically, could you continue to love someone who hates you?
And as she feels nervous and her heart starts beating faster, she accepts the unthinkable: maybe it’s possible to love someone unconditionally. It is possible for a love on the forehead to make you cry, and it is, after all, possible for a person who always felt unconnected to finally connect with another human being.
I finally feel connected
The second part brought Mugi in to confirm Akane’s transformation. During their ‘date,’ Mugi realized that Akane-san was not the same person as before. She wasn’t trying to define herself through a man. She didn’t sleep with him. She didn’t even try to manipulate him in any way. She had really changed.
I loved the way you were before you changed
The Akane-san that Mugi had in front of him was not the same Akane-san with whom he was in love. Not the same teacher that was sitting beside him, shyly giving away glimpses of her true nature. This was a new Akane-san that is determined to find out if her relationship with Kanai-sensei is an illusion or not.
Marriage: That was the last thing I expected, but I was really glad that Kanai-sensei had the guts to pop the questions. I know that I’ve said some awful things in the past for Akane-san, and I still stand by them, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want them to be happy together.
Sex scene of the week: There was no sex this week. Only sweet and kind love. I feel so romantic right now.
Literature: I don’t usually laugh in anime. My sense of humor is weird and I feel that anime are not that funny unless they fit certain criteria that I will not analyze right now. But this exchange was hilarious:
Kanai: It’s difficult to explain why I love you
Akane: But you’re a literature teacher!
Onsen: Hot springs are so typical in anime that every series that respects itself has a hot springs episode. Onsen are the Japanese equivalent to what we might call a spa town. To fully understand how common these scenes are, anime hot spring moments have their own wiki that catalogs them.
That wasn’t fair Kuzu no Honkai. That wasn’t fair Yokoyari Mengo (the original author). You gave me a character who I loved to hate, just to include him in your ‘everyone can change’ doctrine. I’ve always felt that change is difficult if not impossible. Especially when it comes to sociopathy and psychopathy. You can’t really change the way your brain works unless Akane-san was not a sociopath, but instead, a much-traumatized girl that needed an equally strong shock to make her feel again. I could work with that.
I’m not really sure I have the answer to that question. Like Mugi, I’m not one to hold any grudges, and that’s why I sincerely hope that Akane-san really started going down the path of change. At least, the way things are, we have a nice set-up for the final episode of Kuzu no Honkai. You cried and you suffered, Mugi. This was a good ride. Now go and have a relationship that really matters.
Don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Winter 2017! Next week we’ll start posting our series reviews, so keep an eye on our homepage!
Also, Spring 2017 is just a week away. Since it’s time to start building that anime list, we prepared our customary Anime Hashtags article to help you choose:
NEXT TIME: A Story of Two People (2人のストーリー) – Series Finale