The 2012 Winter season has started at last, and so far has been better than I expected. Amagami was always going to be a safe bet, but I was quite pleased with the first episodes of Symphogear and Mouretsu Pirates as well. Nothing on the same level as Mirai Nikki yet, but this season’s horror offering Another should be out soon, here’s hoping it lives up to my high expectations!
After defeating Kurusu, Yuki decided to take Yuno on a trip to see the stars. But when they reach the bus stop, Yuno prevents him from ringing the bell, instead convincing him to stay on the bus and travel to an even better place. Of course, there’s no knowing what constitutes a good place in Yuno’s mind…
Meanwhile, Deus and Murmur discuss recent plot developments, which haven’t been going as Deus predicted (or as they would inevitably have gone, if the diary owners hadn’t changed the future). He considered Kurusu a strong candidate for godhood, and accuses Murmur of intervening. She admits that Kurusu wasn’t meant to find out about his son’s illness until much later in the process, but that she sped things up a bit. Partly for fun, but also because Deus’ time is running out (the god himself and the room around him seem to be crumbling quite fast). Then, she offers to make a wager with, but we don’t get to find out what they’re betting on yet…
Having now left the bus, Yuki waits on a bench while Yuno goes to get a drink from a nearby vending machine. She returns with a can for Yuki as well, which I assumed was just her being friendly… but after taking events later in the episode into account, maybe not. We already know she brought a ton of ‘medicine’ with her, after all…
Then, suddenly fanservice! We’re reunited with Hinata and Mao, glad to know they haven’t been completely forgotten about. They’re both relaxing in a hot spring (hence the fanservice), which they were invited to by Aru, supposedly to celebrate Mao’s recovery. Ecchi hijinks ensue when Hinata notices a light underwater, which turns out to be the flash from Mao’s camera phone… later on it is revealed to have been ‘upgraded’ for underwater use by Murmur. 😛 But again, their presence at this hot spring hotel turns out to be plot relevant later on.
After bathing, the girls meet with Aru and Kousaka (yes, he’s there too). Their discussion moves to diaries when Aru is seen writing in his, and Kousaka proudly shows off his own online ‘Kousaka King’ diary, filled with what he considers to be his brilliant moments. Hinata accuses them both of acting like Yukiteru… and she actually uses his given name, which is of course a bigger deal in Japan than in the west (though I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have noticed the change if Mao hadn’t overreacted). Clearly she has strong feelings for him… good luck getting past Yuno.
Next, a hint at the reason why Aru invited them all there. Following Kurusu’s death, Nishijima discovered a letter and notebook explaining everything the late detective knew about the survival game. He shares this information with Aru, realizing that Yuki and Yuno are in danger, but that if he or the police make a move, their diaries will warn them in advance. Nishijima has info with regards to their location – via the driver of the bus they caught – but the boy detective seems to have a better understanding of Yuno’s mind. He believes that the bus journey was a false trail left by Yuno, and that they’re more likely to be in a place nearer to facilities…
The morning after their arrival at the hotel, Aru takes the group to an arranged meeting place, where Nishijima is waiting. He explains he needs their help to find Yuki, who Aru believes is being confined by Yuno somewhere in the town. The kids are understandably surprised that they’ve been tricked, but are willing to help their friend (eagerly so in Hinata’s case, while Kousaka complains a lot but tags along anyway). The area is full of abandoned hotels, any of which would make a good hiding place, so the four friends split up – Kousaka with Aru, Hinata with Mao.
At first, they literally search every room of every hotel, but when Kousaka discovers the building he and Aru are currently in has no water supply, they’re able to narrow the list down to abandoned buildings with water and electricity. Even then, there are a number of buildings which fit that description… and their search soon becomes dangerous, since Yuno has left traps in many of them.
When even this focused approach gets them nowhere fast, Aru phones Nishijima, asking him to check whether Yuno’s family own(ed) a hotel in the area. Elsewhere, Hinata is having no luck either, when suddenly she receives an email – from Yuki! He claims that he is indeed being confined by Yuno, in the cellar of the Grand Hotel. With his location finally known, Hinata runs off to rescue him (alone and unarmed, against Yuno…), telling Mao to contact and wait for the other two.
Mao phones Aru (who along with Kousaka has only just escaped from a faulty elevator), and they meet up. She explains the situation, and Aru senses another trap. Yuno’s diary informs her of Yuki’s every action, so why would she let him send a message asking for help? It is clear that Yuno sent the message herself. The moment they reach this conclusion, Mao’s phone rings – now she has a message from Hinata, confirming that Yuki has been found! Aru has doubts about this message too, but with no other leads and a good chance that Hinata is in danger, they head for the Grand Hotel.
Arriving at the cellar, Aru opens the door to find Yuki inside. He doesn’t respond to their voices, so they assume he’s unconscious. Still fearing a trap, Aru tells Kousaka to hold the door while he and Mao investigate. Inside the room, what they thought was Yuki turns out to be a dummy with a wig… but Kousaka, being an idiot, forgets his sole responsibility in under a minute and wanders into the room. The door closes, and they’re locked in. Elsewhere, a button is pressed, and the sealed room starts to fill with gas. Now that’s how you do a cliffhanger ending!
Remember Murmur and Deus’ wager at the beginning? It turns out they’re betting on who’ll win the game. Murmur goes with the obvious choice, Yuno… but Deus picks Yuki, claiming that the boy has remained his favorite from the start.
Right now though, he doesn’t look too good.
So… why the hell is Yuno doing this? Will Yuki forgive her and learn to love her again after this? That’s assuming they both get out alive… what an episode!