You know it’s an alternate reality because Kaito likes Nonoha’s baked goods
|I feel like episode 17 wasn’t very long ago…Anyways, here we are for another wild ride through the world of puzzles. The series has really been picking up lately, and there isn’t any sign of the excitement letting up any time soon. I guess magic and puzzles just go together like milk and tea.|
Ohhhh man, this episode was a doozy. Orpheus really shows off the extent of his powers by trapping Kaito and his friends in an alternate reality and almost tricking them into becoming true Phi Brain children. Without the full extent of his power he can’t do much but provide a pleasant slideshow to his rivals, but it still has quite the effect on them. If you ignore the fact that Orpheus would destroy the world just to unlock the ultimate difficulty puzzle, he seems pretty persuasive. Instead of the usual, threatening visions of the world being in ruins as everyone dies at the feet of a cloaked Orpheus we get something a little…different. He isn’t here to intimidate Kaito and Freecell, but to try and break them by offering them what they want most.
It’s easy to forget that these guys went through hell as kids. Kaito just keeps solving puzzles without any hint of trauma and Freecell has since gotten over any deep set grudges (and clinical mental disorders/yandereism). They’re pretty well-off now. However, who’s to say they wouldn’t be better off if they didn’t live a good portion of their lives as neglected orphans? Orpheus is allowing them to construct their own, ideal future. He is providing only one example of what could happen through these images. There are infinite possibilities. If Kaito wanted to, he could try and rewrite the past so he was dating Nonoha or talk himself out of that tramp stamp puzzle tattoo (I’m almost certain he has one).
Of course, the magic of friendship means they say no because of individuality and all that. I think most of us are too afraid of altering who we are now to make those sorts of changes as well, so it makes sense. That’s a very general statement and I’m sure some people would love to change the past and would benefit from it. But human nature makes us skeptical of these nebulous concepts that could involve the loss of what we call the “self.” I don’t think I’d go back and change my crappy childhood either because then who would I be? Not me anymore. If I’m not me then what’s the point?
Still, it’s a nice idea to toy with. It also gave us the excuse to see some adorable alternative universe material that is usually reserved for fanfics. Seeing Freecell’s gargantuan bobble head again was very..um..nostalgic. I also greatly enjoyed the brief but wonderful AU where they all go to the same school and just dick around with (non-deadly) puzzles. Rook has glasses and Nonoha has her hair down – two miniscule changes that somehow transform them into entirely differently people. Nonoha seems infinitely more feminine and pliable to Kaito’s interests in puzzles whereas Rook is…well, so much for his suave look.
Finally, Kaito’s past with Nonoha gives us some new info about their past. Not their fake past, but their real one. Nonoha is the only one who doesn’t like puzzles, so it’s hard to fit her development in with the other characters. Her dilemmas are more about her inability to solve puzzles and how she manages to find a place in the world despite that. It doesn’t leave her with much of a starring role in an anime that is entirely about solving puzzles, but every now and then she shines. Unfortunately, every major event around her (and almost every other girl) is basically “I am not good at puzzles, so I’ll just cheer you on!”. The girls don’t get to venture much outside the kitchen here, so to speak…At least Nonoha says that she actually enjoys watching Kaito solve puzzles, and doesn’t feel like she’s being excluded.
More amazingly, Kaito is actually kind of nice as a kid…when he’s not being cheeky. He actually comforts her! And so he should – she’s the one who snaps them out of it and allows them to get back to the actual task of finding Orpheus. I would have liked to see them get trapped in that web of lies a little longer if just for the promise of cute alternate universes where everyone is happy. However, the show must go on.
Nonoha resonates with me strongly at times like these
Speaking of Orpheus, he really is living up to my expectations as a “final boss” villains. When Kaito declines his offer and shatters his Orpheus Ring in a explosion of dramatic lights, he doesn’t look alarmed. Orpheus just always has a smug grin to let you know he’s in control and no one can mess him up. He only falters once, and that’s because he faints. Jin’s still in there, but he really doesn’t have much control. I get the feeling that he’s going to try and sacrifice himself to save him friends, and that’s not going to bode well for Kaito and Raetsel. The whole plan was to give him his memories back and I don’t think you could call it a rousing success if they do so and then end up killing him. Not the best display of friendship, I’d say.
Just about anything could happen at this point. With magical elements now fully in effect, Orpheus could probably make a million copies of himself and I wouldn’t bat an eye. The abilities of these Orpheus Rings just get crazier with every season. I really dislike watching the good guy mentally wrestle the bad guy for dominance over one body, but it seems inevitable. I just have to hope it lays off the cheese, and keeps with those creepy eyes and evil plans.
Bonus Screenshots:Show ▼
Preview: Gammon gets a plane ticket to Amgine, so I guess he’s going to have to suffer as well! A lot. He puts on an Orpheus Ring and it’s like season 1 all over again. Will Gammon end up as another villain or will he be able to control it? Either way, offering up his mind to Orpheus in that state is not the way to go.
“Ayyyyy babe, check out the gun show” “GAMMON, NOW IS NOT THE TIME”