Part 70: Episode 10 - Despair Side, Episode 5: The Beginning Of The End
Back on the Despair side of town, we begin our episode just as we did the last one - with a flashback. Here, we have a young Ryota getting bullied by others from his school.
His parents argue about this bullying, wondering what would happen if he stopped going to school, all that stuff.
But Ryota doesn't notice that. He's glued to a TV screen.
Watching Heidi, of all things. I'll admit this right here - I'm German, and this confused the hell out of me. It was only now that I learned that this series was in fact a Japanese production. It was just filed in my head as this completely German thing, probably based on the the whole thing taking place in the Alps and being based on a German (well, Swiss) story. Who says that you don't learn things with my LPs?
We then cut to Ryota in the present time, working on his animation, and we get a voiceover from him, chastising himself to work harder and put more time into it because the world needs what he's creating.
After the opening, we then cut to Chisa having her first day at the Reserve Course.
Then we fast forward through her time there. To quote Chisa: "Short version: It sucked. Big time."
We end up in March. Not sure why we get a specific month here, but whatever. Anyway, Chisa's banishment to the Reserve Course is about to end, and she's chatting with Juzo about what she found out while she was there. She responds by asking how difficult it would be to get an ID card off of one of the Hope's Peak trustees. Juzo answers that by saying it would be very difficult, if he got caught, he'd get fired - or worse. Chisa then brings up the Kamukura Project as something the principal and the trustees are working on, and all she knows is that most of the Reserve Course money goes there, and it has to be something big, but she needs an ID card to learn more.
She also brings up Hajime. Turns out that she found out in her research that he got expelled. Of course, we know what is actually happening behind the scenes - he got basically erased from school records since he'll no longer exist after the experiment. At least not as Hajime.
We then cut to Chisa being told that she can return to her original class, and is also being promoted to being their regular homeroom teacher as opposed to just being the substitute.
Koichi, who was the previous homeroom teacher, is now going to be focusing more on scouting. The topic of Nagito is also brought up, and he seems to have disappeared. Koichi suspects he won a cruise around the world in a contest or something like that. Chisa then runs off to see her old class, and Koichi and Jin talk about the next class. Seems that compared to the current class, the next group is a bit slimmer, though those that are there are very talented.
And, well, we know those, too. Jin's attention obviously falls on somebody particular.
We then find Chisa nervously pacing up and down in front of the classroom, unsure of if they'll even remember her and all that stuff. She psyches herself up by thinking about how Kyosuke would think she's an idiot for being so nervous about this, calls herself Kyosuke's future beloved, then blushes violently when she realizes she just did that, then heads into the class...
...to find that the class definitely remembered her.
Turns out that Chiaki was the one that organized all this. Basically, Chiaki knew about this because Koichi talked about it, and she was keeping class morale up by holding game tournaments, picnics, all that kind of stuff. This kind of sums up my problem with anime Chiaki - she's "tell, don't show" as fuck. Somewhere, she's made this transformation from a girl that mostly keeps to herself to this class leader that becomes the glue that keeps everybody sticking together, and we kinda just skipped the fuck over that process. This can mostly be blamed on the lack of time we have - we need to get through the whole shebang with the Kamukura Project, we needed to get through the Twilight Syndrome backstory, and we're still due to get to everybody's favorite character in this episode, so there's not a lot of time to get into Chiaki's transformation, especially since we also need to get her relationship with Hajime in. It's unfortunate, really.
Hiyoko then shows up, having had, uh, a bit of a growth spurt. Her personality hasn't changed, though.
Also, Gundham and Sonia have gotten in sync in the meantime, much to Soda's chagrin. Everybody's happy that Chisa is back, and everything's just hunky-dory. Awww.
Then, we cut to the imposter coming back to "his" home carrying some food, with Ryota also being there, still neck deep in work and chastising himself to work harder. The imposter has a pretty amazing line here with "I wouldn't dig through his browser history, but you can't beat [Teruteru] Hanamura's cooking. People flake out and let you down, but carbs are always there."
And as the imposter leaves, an airplane arrives.
Meanwhile, somebody else arrives at the airport by taxi, leaving an entire purse behind as payment. As the girl arriving steps out of the car, the driver remarks that it must be his lucky day, and after driving away, the girl says that he jinxed it.
What does she mean by that? Well, with the car driving, suddenly, the purse starts ticking...
...and BOOM! Who would be so insane as to just randomly blow up a taxi?
Iiiiiit's Junko, motherfuckers! Now, I need to get this out of the way early. You'll see when I put together my dub showcase video, or maybe you've already heard about it, but as far as the dub is concerned, Junko is the absolute top of the mountain. You see, I've always thought that the ideal voice for "Ultimate Fashionista" Junko would be a valley girl voice, especially since she's just putting on that talent as a facade, so it would be perfect to obfuscate her analytical talent by acting like a stereotypical ditz on the outside. Well, here they did it. And boy fucking howdy did they get into it. I'll have to try hard to not just put every single line from Junko into the video, because she is perfect. Like, full blown "hey Becky, let's go to the mall and buy some shoes" valley girl. There's also a bit of a running undercurrent with the dub that makes you think "you know, parts of this could pass as an Abridged parody", and Junko is about to take that to another level.
We then shift to narration being written on screen and spoken by Junko in a much more serious tone as she waits for somebody to arrive.
That somebody being Mukuro, her sister and other half of the Ultimate Despair. Mukuro asks what Junko is doing, and she replies in her valley girl voice that she's writing the narration.
We then immediately go back to serious Junko voice narration, which she speaks out loud while writing it down.
So on the ride from the airport, we're introduced to a sort of new dynamic between Junko and Mukuro.
Junko is constantly trying to kill Mukuro.
And Mukuro loves it. She just dodges anything Junko throws at her...
...including a grenade, which she just casually kicks into her champagne glass and tosses out the window. Basically, Mukuro gets off to despair like Junko does, and the thought of the despair Junko would feel seeing Mukuro's corpse is something Mukuro loves thinking about, it seems.
There's also a thing with Junko really not liking the way Mukuro smells. Anyway, Junko has asked Mukuro to show up because they both got scouted for Hope's Peak, and Junko is so ready to fuck some shit up. To quote: "This place is so far up its own ass they actually call it the high school of hope."
Meanwhile, we're back with Ryota and the imposter, and Ryota seems to be putting a bit too much into his project, judging by the look on his face.
He flashes back to the abuse he got back in school, and how drawing was his only solace as a kid. The imposter tells him that he needs to pace himself...
...and Ryota proceeds to fall over, muttering about how he wants to save the world with his art. The imposter decides he needs to do something quick.
So he passes Mikan off outside Hope's Peak...
...tells her he needs her right now...
...and then just carries her off while Mikan yells about her life being about to turn into a late night cable movie.
However, as you might have figured, he just took Mikan because he needed her to take care of Ryota, who's overworked himself and has a case of malnutrition. Mikan asks about what exactly is going on with the two of them, and the imposter tells his story.
Basically, at the beginning of the school year, he would notice strange noises outside his room at night, those being Ryota stumbling out of his room, unsure of when exactly he's eaten the last time, with him then collapsing out in the hall.
The imposter - currently in Byakuya form - brings Ryota back to his room and talks to him about his status as an imposter. Basically, he needs a new identity, and given that Ryota would just chain himself to his desk and draw every waking moment if he could, the two are in a situation where they could help each other out - the imposter takes over Ryota's identity on the outside, allowing Ryota to concentrate on his art unimpeded.
Mikan being Mikan figures that her stumbling onto this conspiracy means that this is the part where she gets killed. When the imposter assures her that she's not going to get killed...
...she instead shifts to this being the part where she shows how grateful she is...
...though the imposter puts the kibosh on that pretty quick and says that he trusts her.
This causes her to be incredibly grateful to the point of tears of joy, since people trusting her isn't exactly a feeling she's used to. The imposter tells her to have more confidence in herself.
Meanwhile, somebody else familiar has arrived at Hope's Peak, and he's pretty impressed!
And Junko's not far behind with Mukuro, narrating to herself again and getting excited about how they're going to blow the powderkeg that is Hope's Peak sky high.
Junko also doodles a little familiar design.
Finally, we find Hajime in an empty room, ready to undergo the procedure.
He remembers how Juzo beat him up, and how he last met with Chiaki.
He gets strapped into some strange machine that will make the Kamukura Project happen...
...and as it closes, he again thinks of Chiaki, his thoughts basically saying that he's doing this so he can be the hero of his own story and hold his head high next to her.
And on this not at all ominous shot...
...and this totally not ominous title card, we end the episode. Shit's not going to get better from here on out, folks. Next time, on Future Side, things aren't exactly wonderful either, with another dead body showing up, and Kyosuke being Kyosuke. Also, some old friends make an appearance!
What the fuck just happened?: Chisa goes through her time at the Reserve Course, and it sucked, but she found information on the Kamukura Project, though she needs an ID from one of the trustees to investigate further. When Chisa returns to her class, they have a big party ready for her, organized by Chiaki, who basically became the centerpiece of the class in the meantime. We also meet the real Ryota here, basically cooped up in his room working on his anime with the imposter having taken over his school life and caring for him. Also, Junko and Mukuro arrive at the scene, having enrolled at Hope's Peak and ready to fuck some shit up there. Finally, Hajime undergoes the Kamukura Project procedure.