With Akito’s hold over the zodiac children weakening, each of them is beginning to set out on their own path in life, forming relationships and maturing as they let go of their fear and uncertainty. Momiji in particular has grown literally and figuratively over the past year. As his bond with Akito begins to break, and he begins to come to terms with a new life of freedom and loneliness.
This episode is chock-full of character growth and serves as a fantastic insight into how far the Soma children have come since we first met them. We spend a few moments with most of the zodiac members, getting glimpses into how they’ve changed and the bonds they’ve begun to form with people outside of the family. It’s encouraging to see so many of these children, traumatized and hurt by their twisted upbringing, stepping out onto their own paths and finding a measure of happiness.
It’s not just the children we focus on, however. Ayame, Hatori and Shigure are also experiencing change, and the latter two are coming into conflict as Shigure continues to goad and needle Akito. Shigure himself is remorseless over this, and explains that he doesn’t really feel any need for familial love or compassion.
All of this paints Shigure as borderline sociopathic. Throughout the show he’s pushed and prodded at Akito, riling her up and contributing to her decaying mental state. He manipulates her affection for him and seems unconcerned about how his actions will affect the other zodiac members.
There’s been a sense throughout the story that he wants the curse to be broken so that he and Akito can be together, but this is still an incredibly selfish desire, especially considering the age gap between them and the fact that he’s been manipulating her since she was an actual child. Long story short, Shigure is strait up trash.
While we take time to catch up on most of the cast, the focus of this episode is on Momiji, who’s experienced a serious growth spurt and is turning heads all around the school. More importantly to our story, his bond with Akito suddenly breaks, further weakening the hold she has over the Somas.
In a moment of surprising maturity, he waits to discuss the change with Akito until the next day. Momiji makes it clear that he is willing to step out into the world on his own, even if it means facing the separation from his birth family without the unspoken connection that bound him to the zodiac. Despite his childish attitude towards many things, Momiji has faced down Akito in the past, and this moment is just as powerful.
It’s good to see a character I’ve been critical of in the past get the chance to shine and really stick it to someone who has brought them nothing but pain. Momiji has demonstrated a lot of growth, and I honestly wish him the best. He’s endured plenty of hardship and deserves a shot at a life he can forge on his own.
If there’s one thing that still makes me uncomfortable, it’s how Momiji basically tells Kyo that if Tohru weren’t obviously infatuated, he would swoop in and take her. I get that he’s a teenager with some serious interpersonal issues, but that just comes across as incredibly uncaring towards both Tohru and Kyo. She may act like a doormat a lot of the time, but Tohru isn’t just there to be claimed, dude. Sort yourself out.
Now, to end on a wholesome note, have a picture of Kisa challenging herself to say good afternoon to Kyo.
Much like the last episode, this one is pretty dense and covers a lot of ground, though it handles it well and gives us a great perspective on where everyone is in their journey as we hurry towards the conclusion. Momiji’s scenes are moving and satisfying to watch, and the tension is steadily building as the status quo is about to be broken. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.