ViVid Strike Episode 10: Rain
Being Rinne is suffering.
It felt like I was the only one rooting for Rinne throughout the entire episode. Even the girls themselves were all for Fuuka. And then my heart betrayed my head and started supporting Fuuka as well – because Rinne wants to be left alone, and the last thing I want is for Rinne to be left alone. I’m pretty conflicted, but at any rate it’s now looking increasingly unlikely that my preferred outcome of Rinne winning but also being saved will end up happening. Rinne is just super stubborn (it would be kind of cute if it wasn’t having such a destructive effect on her) and nothing Fuuka is saying is getting through to her. As has been mentioned multiple times before, there’s a huge hypocrisy and irony in Rinne having become the very sort of person she despised whilst trying to ensure her own (partially physical and certainly mental) safety. And then there’s how Rinne has been beating herself up so much to the point that it no longer matters whether her justifications are inconsistent or illogical because they’re just a broken record she plays over and over in her head by now. She needs Fuuka to beat something different into her head.
I can honestly sympathise with her train of thought. It is true that her grandfather would have passed away happier if she’d been there. Maybe she should have handled the bullying differently before it had escalated to that point. But all these are mistakes revealed in hindsight, and it’s so much easier to blame yourself with hindsight because you have a perspective you never would have gotten if a chain of events hadn’t already happened. It’s not like, for instance, her grandfather would never have died if she was there for him. I have a feeling it was about time, to be honest, and that he knew that as well. Rinne being around probably increased his strength, actually. As for beating those little fuckers up, I don’t think that was a mistake at all. Her mistake was letting the bullying get that bad, but it’s not really something she has complete control over and I hesitate to say at all that bully victims ever make mistakes whilst they’re being bullied. In the long-run, maybe I wouldn’t recommend her having done that back then given how she remains hung up over it to this day. But I remember those events, and that episode, very vividly. It’s the most memorable episode of the entire season to me (of all four shows I’m even following, that is). And that day I learned that justice was a cute loli. If it was wrong to have half-killed those bullies at that point, then I don’t want to be right.
Now, about Fuuka. Remember how I expressed concerns over her power level? I don’t think this episode did anything to remedy that. It might have made things worse, in fact. I know she has the talent, and Einhart initially picked her up because she had natural talent, but it’s weird to see Fuuka dominating to this extent, although it could be because Rinne’s heart has been rather unstable recently and it’s affecting her performance. I was also really uncomfortable with all that stuff about Fuuka’s fist being a gift from God, and that she’s blessed with God’s Strike and all that. I know she’s gifted, but… a gift from God? It even came from Sieg, which really made me queasy, because Sieg has actual credibility. Why couldn’t it have been, I don’t know, Harry who went on about all that? Four months of martial arts on Fuuka’s part has resulted in not only an impending defeat for Rinne (partially) yet again at the hands of Strike Arts, but also to a Fuu-chan who has both incomparable talent and a work ethic that bears surprisingly quick fruit, meaning she’d satisfy the ideologies of both Nove and the (now repentant) Jill. Being Rinne truly is suffering.
I don’t know whether she’ll ever return to being as kind and cute as loli Rinne was, but I think I’ve seen this expression before. It’s what Fate-chan used to look like. It might be time for Rinne to grit those teeth.