The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. – George Elliot
So, Kamisama no Memo-chou always managed to give me a massive surprise of some sort. This last arc wasn’t an exception and it certainly didn’t leave anything to be desired, that’s for sure. My apologies for holding off on this review for so long. If only you knew the pain of chemistry…I never want to see a solubility expression again in my life…
Episode 9 starts off with all the guys at an arcade. It seems as though there’s a popular baseball video game that’s all the rage and the NEET crew is super into it. All of a sudden, Nemo-san barges in and claims that the rent is going up and, as such, he wants to change the arcade into a pachinko parlor. Major is especially upset about this and the two decide to gamble over a baseball game, winner takes all. Alice agrees to be the captain and the NEET team gets to work practicing and actually learning the sport. Narumi and Alice realize that Nemo-san used to be some sort of great pitcher back in the day which explains why he’s so sensitive about the sport. The game commences and the NEET team does pretty well. The Fourth is pitching for them but he doesn’t last for very long seeing as he just got out of the hospital. Nemo-san then starts pitching and things begin to look bleak until Alice decides to step into the game. She managed to trick the players on the other team and gets a couple points for the team. Finally it’s the last pitch and Nemo-san’s up. Narumi comes up to pitch and makes a bunch of fouls. Nemo-san pulls out his final move and, to his surprise; Narumi hits it resulting in a win for the NEETs. When asked how he knew the final move, Narumi tells Nemo-san that he found it stored in the video game. Nemo-san and the greatness of baseball were never forgotten.
Later on, at the arcade, the manager comes up to the NEETs and informs them that Toshi, Ayaka’s brother is here. He beats Tetsu at a video game with ease and, when Narumi expresses surprise over how fast he was, says that he can see everything. When Narumi asks him about Ayaka, Toshi, while popping some pills of some “Angel Fix” drug, calls her annoying, stating that Narumi is apparently his replacement. Afterwards Toshi disappears with a man wearing glasses. The Fourth then comes in with a request for Alice – he wants them to look into Angel Fix as somebody died from it. They kick out Ayaka, as the case concerns her brother. Later on at school, Ayaka and Narumi get into a fight because he won’t tell her anything. In the process, her gardening club sash gets ripped and Narumi immediately feels bad. He commissions Yoshiki’s assistance to make new club sashes and gives one to her. Their relationship is mended and things go well for a while. One night, Narumi arrives at Hanamaru to find Tetsu and Major outside researching plants used to make drugs. He tells them to put it away because Ayaka will be coming soon. Unfortunately, as they’re discussing the drugs and her brother, Ayaka overhears them. She seems to take it really hard and, one morning, chooses to take her life as she jumps off of the school roof.
After her suicide attempt Ayaka doesn’t die but she’s in a coma for an indefinite period of time. Narumi is in a state of shock. He refuses to go to school or even do anything until his sister lectures him about how it would not have been what Ayaka wanted. Finally, Narumi shows his face at Hanamaru where he asks Tetsu to teach him how to box. He then goes up to talk to Alice and she makes him her official assistant (…what was he before?). They discuss Ayaka’s suicide attempt and Alice feels as though it’s her fault. She has a question though: Why would Ayaka choose the school to jump? She tells Narumi to keep a lookout at school.
“You could be a model you know? You have a pretty face.” “…”
The next day at school, she calls Narumi and asks him to get keys for the greenhouse. He opens the back door and the Fourth busts in to take pictures of the greenhouse. He refuses to tell Narumi what’s going on and leaves. Narumi then finds a blue flower petal on the ground. When he goes to return the keys to the teacher, she asks him in the flowers that were in the greenhouse are still there. Narumi is surprised as the greenhouse was empty. Later on, the NEET crew realizes that Toshi was making Ayaka grow the flowers for the Angel Fix drug without her realizing. They find out about Hakamizaka, a biochemistry student, who seems to be the head of the operation. The Fourth and his men are eager to kick some ass and hunt the men down. One night, Narumi meets Tetsu, Major and Hiro. He orders them to find Toshi and they immediately get to work. However, some time later, Narumi receives a call from the man himself from Ayaka’s phone. Toshi is clearly way too far gone, he can barely speak and then he begins to ask Narumi for help. Just then the phone is taken by Hakamizaka who suggests that he made Ayaka take Angel Fix. He then tells Alice to try and find him as it won’t be very easy.
The NEET crew is doing their best to find Toshi and one day they seem to have a lead as they have found the GPS coordinates for Ayaka’s phone. However, it’s fake lead; it’s only some random druggy sent by Hakamizaka. They confiscate the Angel Fix drug from him and give it to Narumi and Major who are told to leave as the Fourth proceeds to beat the man into pulp for information. As Narumi is walking, he notices something on the bag of the drug. Back at Alice’s place, they take a look at the drug and realize that it’s visual enhancement drug. It operates on some sort of visual cue, angel wings, which is how the other druggies are able to find each other. The only way they can find Hakamizaka is by taking the drug which is pretty much impossible until Narumi offers to take it. There’s no other way.
Narumi takes the drug and responds really badly to it. He keeps thinking of Ayaka and imagining her as an angel. However, with his help, they’re able to find another drug user and consequently Hakamizaka’s place. They bust in and find a bunch of trashed druggies, including Hakamizaka himself. He launches on a tirade about how, because of his work, he’ll be able to go to heaven. It turns out that Ayaka and had been forced to take the drug in return for getting some flowers. Under the influence of the drug, Ayaka had fallen into despair and thus jumped. Alice then walks up to him, telling him that she is an angel and there’s no spot for him up there. In his drug induced state, he believes her and freaks out. They then find Toshi and leave him to Narumi who beats the crap out of him, refusing to stop even as people try to hold him back.
After the case has been settled, Ayaka has still not woken up from her coma. Narumi comes in everyday to talk to her even though it doesn’t seem like she’ll ever wake up. One morning he goes and sits with Alice on the school roof and she talks to him about Ayaka. Ayaka had wanted to preserve the school roof, the place where she and Narumi had met. In a sense, her suicide attempt was a way of ensuring that. The flowers that Ayaka had requested were long-headed poppies that bloom in the morning and fall at dusk. She planted them on the roof, thinking of Narumi. Back in the hospital, Ayaka’s fingers twitch, her eyes opening; she’s finally woken up…
Good morning sunshine.
Wow. So, I definitely knew that the case with Ayaka’s brother was going to be covered but NEVER did I expect it to be so complex and emotional. Drugs can ruin lives and Kamisama no Memo-chou didn’t hold back with this reality. Ayaka was never a character I expected to commit suicide but, albeit under the influence of drugs, she did it. It really hits home the fact that you can’t tell what somebody is feeling at face value. Her brother is, quite frankly, despicable. Though I understand that his reasoning skills were compromised by his drug abuse, it disgusts me that he would so willingly get his younger sister involved in such a scary situation. He deserves every punch that he received from Narumi and I hope he sobers up. As a personal preference, I would never take drugs because I’m afraid of not being in full control of my actions. That somebody could let such substances consume them to that large of an extent is frightening.
Alice surprised me in the final episode with her psychological, dare I say torture of Hakamizaka. That’s not to say that he didn’t deserve it, but it was sort of surprising. For somebody so consumed in the world of his drugs, convinced that he’ll be going to heaven, to hear that he did it all for nothing is nothing short of cruel. And for that, I commend Alice. He ENTIRELY deserved it. Though it may have been subtle, Alice definitely breached out of her comfort zone a lot more towards the end of this show. For example, during the baseball game, she ventured out of her den of plushies and actually attempted to play for the team, winning them points in the process. She breaches out of her detective role as well and becomes more open and personally involved as the cases progress. She’s true to herself though; no matter what she’ll always have her plushies and Dr. Pepper. There are also, of course, her epic tsundere moments. And that’s what makes her so lovable.
We can’t forget about our main character though! Narumi was pretty damn amazing during this arc. Ayaka was his first friend in town and the one who introduced him to Alice and the rest of the NEET crew. He obviously cares about her, bordering on romantic feelings I’d say. For her to attempt to commit suicide would have to be devastating. However, he managed to stand up and keep fighting. Narumi isn’t the kid who would just start crying to make people listen to him anymore. He knows how to fight for himself and is willing to make sacrifices just as big as the other, as evidenced by his willingness to take Angel Fix. While he was on the drug, it was evident how much she affected him and it almost made me cry seeing how desperate he was. This is the first time in a while that I’ve seen so much character growth in any show. Narumi developed from a kid who was unenthusiastic and didn’t really give a crap about anything to a fighter who’s willing to give it all to help save a friend.
Kamisama no Memo-chou was definitely one of my favorite shows of the summer season. It was quirky, with an awesome cast of characters. The art was smooth and character designs were awesome (The Fourth. Need I say more?). What I liked the best was that it had an interesting blend of suspense and predictability. There were times where you would have no clue what was happening and would get completely shocked out of your wits. A rather blatant example of this was Ayaka’s suicide. I don’t think anybody could have anticipated that. However, the greenhouse and her involvement with her brother’s drug issues were rather obvious. It’s not annoyingly predictable though. It allows the viewer to actively engage in the mystery and there’s this humongous sense of satisfaction in realizing that you were right. Overall, The ending was close to perfect in my opinion. My only qualm was that I would have liked to see a more first person perspective from Ayaka as opposed to simply viewing her as the victim and damsel-in-distress. However, the ending was fantastic as it was built up as though she wouldn’t wake up. It culminated in a massive sense of catharsis on my part as she finally opened her eyes in the last couple seconds of screen time. Brilliant. Memo-chou was a fun and exciting watch, that’s fo’sho. I WISH IT WASN’T OVER! Fingers crossed for a second season! xD