Well. That was unexpected. I mean, it was fairly obvious from last episode’s preview that Takami and Hikari would have some rather strong disagreements, but I predicted some sort of cold war between the two that would end with Takami accepting Hikari after seeing her go up against a Neuroi in battle. Which only half happened, because they had a little competition instead. What I certainly didn’t expect was for Takami to have won. I have no doubt that Rall will stand by her word, and in light of the terms of their showdown I therefore concluded that Hikari would somehow win. And really, there’s no way you didn’t root for her, right? Especially when literally all of the 502nd started encouraging her towards the end, Kanno and Nipa of course being the loudest. It was really touching. They seem to accept (and are right in thinking) that Takami is the stronger of the sisters, but even so, they want Hikari to stay with them. Seeing that made me really happy.
Two issues stood out to me. The first is that in theory both Hikari and Takami could have stayed, if only for this large-scale operation. Hikari wants to fight with her sister, right? And the base at Kauhava has gone without the extra Witch that’s been assigned to them for three months now, so surely it won’t kill them to wait a little longer. On top of that, the Contact Eye produces the very same result that they’re asking Takami to risk her life for, and from a strategic point of view it can only be a good thing to have a backup Witch capable of carrying out the mission just in case Takami falls ill or gets injured making it to Grigori. Of course, though, it’s not like this franchise is known for having members of the top brass who are particularly intelligent.
The second is that I don’t really understand why Takami did what she did. I mean, I kind of do, but did she have to do that? I can see perfectly well why, being a war veteran, she wouldn’t want to see her little sister hurt. I can understand that sentiment of wanting to keep her out of danger and to protect her. But did she have to be such a bitch about it all? Instead of giving her the cold shoulder, why not just say ‘I love you, Hikari, and I’m really proud of how you’ve worked but this mission is too dangerous and so I’m going to issue this official order to keep you away from it’? Takami even said herself that she knows Hikari is really stubborn, and so the way Hikari responded shouldn’t have changed all that much regardless of how Takami acted.
And honestly, it’s almost impossible to side with Takami after having spent an entire season watching Hikari slowly becoming a true member of the 502nd. She’s now even at the point where Kanno is praising her in public. And there’s a comfy dynamic between Hikari and the 502nd that Takami doesn’t yet have, so to see the latter wipe away the efforts of the former all in an instant is hard to stomach. I really should have seen this sort of development coming, actually – I kind of forgot about Takami recently until she woke up last episode. I will say though, the power gap between her and Hikari is astonishing. Not only from the way she could casually walk up the pillar using her feet, but also from how she seems to be a Witch on the level of Krupinski and Rall. Takami’s spent most of the series unconscious in bed so we never really had much time to notice, but she also looks really imposing with her bird ears and Striker Unit on. Does that sound weird? I was suddenly struck by a realisation that she’s actually really, really competent.
One last miscellaneous point. We saw Krupinski’s Striker Unit sticking out of that orb-shaped Neuroi. What’s it still doing there? They made it seem at the end of the Krupinski episode that something would be done with it, but nothing seems to have happened and the Neuroi in question was destroyed again this episode. I doubt it’ll regenerate with a core within a core within a core, so is the potential sub-plot with my cute Witch Neuroi girl now moot? Say it ain’t so.