Kazuma Soma is introduced to Tohru as the mundane grandson of the former chosen of the zodiac outcast, the martial arts master who has instructed many of the Soma clan, and Kyo’s surrogate father, who took him in after his mother’s apparent suicide. Having now returned from a trip abroad, Kazuma senses that Kyo cares for Tohru, and is uneasy in his current living situation largely out of fear that she might discover the secret of his true form. In order to break Kyo out from his unhealthy stagnation, Kazuma gambles that Tohru’s reaction to this discovery won’t destroy their relationship, and he forces the issue.
This is another episode where I’m not sure if I have the range of experience to provide any useful commentary. Much of it speaks for itself, as far as Kyo’s behavior being rooted in his rejection by the main Soma family in general – and by Akito in particular – and in his mother’s ultimately-unsustainable denial. The post-transformation scene where he lashes out at Tohru in a misguided attempt to drive her away so that she won’t regret abandoning him is a powerful one, as is her return, all but begging him not to throw away everything they’d built in the past several months.
A couple of minor immersion-breakers – mostly cinematography stuff:
Immediately preceding the slow-motion shot of him removing the rosary bracelet that inhibits Kyo’s “true” form, there is a dramatic shot of Kazuma using his other hand to cover Kyo’s eyes. Two seconds later – which is implied to be less than two seconds, because of the apparent slo-mo – the very next shot has a clear view of Kyo’s eyes. What was the point of covering them?
Tohru popping onto her hands and knees in shallow water after being completely submerged garnered a double-take, especially after the previous shot made it look like she dropped in past her full height. Like, I appreciate the effort, but I feel like there was enough going on in that scene that we could have done without the three or four seconds of wondering whether she’d drown after taking a hit that seemed to have left her conscious and that wasn’t intended to incapacitate her.
That’s pretty much all the criticism I’ve got, though. I will say that I do rather like the repetitive shots of Kyo’s mom pushing his sleeve back to see the bracelet – it helps sell the sense that something is wrong. I’d say the drama overall is definitely solid. Heck, I’m curious now about how the show is going to complete the picture of the tragedy that is—of all characters—Kagura, who seemed in the previous episode to be unwilling to engage Kyo on a level that it seems like she should have known to be necessary.
This is a must-see emotional climax. More questions are answered than raised, I think, so that’s a win. Hard to believe that there’s an episode after this one before the season wraps up, considering they ran Kyo’s monologue all the way through the ending credits, but I think we do deserve a little denouement.