Icing covered in Hyoubu? But I’d much rather Hyoubu covered in icing~
|So far, things continue to be rather fun. There are a lot of surprises for newcomers to the series such as myself, and this episode isn’t just another throwaway. The reasons for BABEL’s sudden attack last week become more apparent as we discover some interesting things about Hyoubu’s past…and his future.|
Unlike Hyoubu, I don’t have a predilection for small children. They’re cute, but I don’t often find myself falling prey to their charms and doting on them. Therefore I must concede defeat when I say Yugiri is darn cute. A real cutie! I wasn’t sure I would enjoy an episode about her going to an amusement park, but I actually came out of it liking her even more. It’s sad that they still discriminate against espers even when they’re as young and well-meaning as Yugiri, and the shift from a fun day on rollercoasters to pure cruelty hammered that point home really well.
I tend to forget that normal people dislike espers so much since all of the main characters are espers. Among their own kind they can be at ease, but as soon as they’re in a crowd they get dirty looks all around. The older ones can take it, but Yugiri doesn’t understand why they hate her so much. She knows it’s because she’s an esper, but she doesn’t fully get why that warrants the treatment she gets. She still has hope for a happy co-existence, but her kindness towards the normals goes unanswered. No wonder Hyoubu gave up trying to compromise.
“OK OK FINE, I’LL BUY YOU COTTON CANDY! CHILL!”
Yugiri’s breakdown when she reaches the end of her tether was a nice contrast to her opening up to Andy. Her wide-scale hypnosis turned the theme park into a nightmarish corner of hell, which is likely how she subconsciously feels about the world when the normals discriminate against her. I wonder if she can still use her powers consciously to form an image that she wants like Hyoubu has done to make “clones” of himself or that Princess. If she can do it on the same large scale she did it here then that could be a very impressive power to use in the future. It’s not a frontline combat ability, but it would be an incredible support to Hyoubu. Perhaps one of the big reasons he has her in PANDRA is to help her tame this rampant ability so she can become a fine esper one day. Well, that and because he really likes little girls apparently.
He seemed genuinely touched by her present at his party too. As much as the lolicon jokes fly around, I refuse to believe they’re anything but jokes. Andy or Hyoubu don’t harbour anything but paternal love for Yugiri in my eyes. Andy is a lot more stoic, but he’s already warming up to Yugiri. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have bothered to take her to an amusement park for more than 5 minutes. He’s already oddly used to Hyoubu, and now he’s gotten himself attached to Yugiri. He really sucks as a spy, doesn’t he? Not only that, but he already feels guilty about not being able to attend Hyoubu’s birthday next year since he’ll have betrayed them by then. He’s really starting to get stuck now.
Andy’s getting real tired of your bullshit, Minamoto
Things get even more complicated when BABEL contact him. Andy really is the perfect character for the show since he gets information from both organizations (as well as his own). That way, we get bits and pieces from both sides of the story. In the end he’ll probably have to sum up everything he’s heard and make his own decision. BABEL says that Hyoubu is a revenge-hungry murderer while PANDRA all idolize him as an advocate of esper rights. No one side is right since Hyoubu is both of these things, which makes it even harder for Andy to chew down since he has to balance the two things instead of just rule one out. He’s certainly gotten curious, so I imagine he’s going to do more info-digging than following through on his actual mission for now.
While Andy’s organization seems purely against PANDRA, I’m not so sure if BABEL is actually antagonizing them in the same manner. Minamoto mentions yet again that he’s capturing them for Hyoubu’s own good, which may mean he’s aware of Hyoubu’s ailing health. I’m not sure why this ostensibly immortal esper is suddenly dying when he looks fine, but he is. Maybe he can’t regenerate his telomeres forever, or using his Unlimited state too often has been eating away at his health. Either way – this was quite the shock for me. As of now, we haven’t seen anything more than a shred of weakness from this man. He’s been nothing short of invincible. Yet here he is, secretly withering away without wanting to tell anyone. I really don’t want him to die! But what could BABEL do to stop this process when Hyoubu doesn’t even think he’ll live another year? I hope they explain how simply capturing him will save him from dying.
As much as Minamoto seems to care for Hyoubu’s health, it’s pretty clear that BABEL and PANDRA are still butting heads in their own way. The way Hyoubu isn’t afraid to break the law is probably what pushes the line. It’s their duty as the “good guys” to stop a crazy murderer and his rag-tag team of espers from doing anything else crazy, after all. However, after Andy learns about the darker side of Hyoubu, he also learns about the meaning behind why PANDRA is a family of sorts. When he’s not being a rebel, Hyoubu saves espers from death and adds them to his organization. Being nearly immortal, he was able to raise all the current members from when they were only knee high, so he’s really like a father figure to most of them. It’s very convenient that almost all the core members were in the same place at once, but hey, I’ll buy it. The one thing I took away from this is that Hyoubu still has a nice side. He is not good nor evil, but a mix of both. He’s not a perfect mix either, and he usually tips a bit more towards being evil..or at the very least, chaotic.
I would have started to get really uneasy if the episodic trend had continued to this point. The plot is now chugging along at a decent pace, with Hyoubu at the centre and 3 organizations circling around him. At the end of the day, it all ties back to the titular star of the show. Hyoubu! I want to see how Andy will fare getting tangled up in all this, because what he decides may ultimately decide Hyoubu’s fate.
Bonus Screenshots: Show ▼
Preview: There’s a lot of talking next week, from what I can tell. Hyoubu doesn’t look happy either, so he’s either the bearer of bad news or he’s not hearing something he’s particularly chuffed about. Oh, and Kaoru has an esper battle. Gotta have some action to mix things up!
The “you’d better give me more screentime” glare.