This episode saw many people losing their cool. Art screamed at Nice at the beginning of the episode when he felt that Nice was trying to push his way into a case; Ratio forced Birthday into bed rest when he found him chatting up a pretty florist; a group of desperate fanboys ganged up against Kouichi (this week’s minor character) when they found out he had slept with their idol; Nice blew off some steam on the bickering fanboys (question: how enraged would Nice be when he finds out what Moral did this week?); Moral snapped when he heard Art calling Nice his friend; and I lost it as the episode came to a close.
The earlier part of the episode progressed rather slowly, and the only thing I thought was worth taking note of was that tidbit of information which Honey provided of the Hamatora members when they were all at Facultas Academy. According to Honey, Birthday, Ratio and Nice all dropped out, with only Honey and Art staying till graduation (anyone else wondered what happened to Murasaki in this discussion? Lol). As Honey reveals, Art is the first (and very possibly the last) graduate of the academy who had never actualised his minimum ability.
I have a lot of admiration for Art and I do believe that there is so much to learn from his character. Even though he was found lacking, he never did give up on himself and instead put in extraordinary effort. He even went to Three to seek help in improving his physical ability. Art’s determination saw him through and I was very touched by this. Gosh if it were me, I’d be wallowing in self-pity and misery.. Anyway, my takeaway from this is that we are responsible for our own outcome. What we do in the situation that we are placed in is what makes or breaks things for us. And there is a lot to learn from Art and the way he constantly perseveres.
Other than my little tribute to Art, there was one other thing which caught my attention at the beginning of the episode, and that would be Nice’s amazing detective skills. The way he put the pieces together, plus the little trick he played on Art, to enable him to surmise that Moral was the culprit behind all the brain stealing and minimum empowering, showed a clever side to Nice. It was quite a welcomed scene, as before this we were not given that much insight into his character. Although that was only a very small scene from Nice, I expect we will be seeing more of him, and him coming to the rescue (:
And so, the exciting bit of this week’s episode came immediately after we focused in on the episode’s title – the Black Cosmos. As it turns out, the grave scene last week was a set up to this week’s revelation. And we find out that Moral was actually the one who had offered the flowers to Art’s little brother’s grave the week before (surprise surprise). As soon as the pieces in Art’s mind clicked, we are presented with a confrontation between both of our white-haired characters, Art and Moral. They may have similar hair colour, but their personalities could not be more contrasting.
This week’s philosophical discussion came in the form of the confrontation between the pair, which was very interesting, to say the least. Moral tells us that whatever he did up until now, was to achieve equality in the world. Before, he was merely providing an opportunity in the form of power. As he so wisely said, the powerless do not take action and only limit themselves to voicing objection from a place of safety. Yes, I agree that people generally shy away from actual conflict and instead criticise from within their comfort zone – ‘pathetic parasites’, is what Moral referred to them as. Again, these are tell tale signs which show that this series reflects what goes on in the real world. And this parallel is one of the reasons why I have come to appreciate Hamatora to the extent that I do. It is not merely an anime that I enjoy watching as a respite from the rigours of reality. It digs much deeper than that.
Back to the discussion, Moral then finally revealed his master plan. He wants desperately to save Nice. Again with his twisted, but scarily accurate, worldview, Moral gave us a little lecture on equality and solitude – “The weak are not the only ones who suffer from inequality. The strong also suffer from the solitude of having no equals”. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Being at the pinnacle of excellence, Moral felt that Nice would forever be burdened by solitude and he wants so very much to save Nice, by giving him an equal who could challenge him. (Hence all that killing and brain stealing of the Forbidden Minimum Holder and what not)
The aww moment for me though, was when Art declared that, as his friend, he would protect Nice. This clearly provoked Moral, because he claimed that Art, who had no minimum, did not deserve to, and could not ever, be in the same league as Nice. This then led to him tempting Art with the opportunity to have a minimum of his own, to which, of course, Art politely declined. The aww moment was deepened further, when Art, in all his loveliness, replied that one does not need a right to be someone else’s friend. So true, too true. Then came the gasp moment. When Moral stabbed, then shot Art. The episode ended with Art seen lying on the ground, bleeding and left for dead. I cannot accept this. I refuse to accept this.
In other news, here’s a little commentary on the ED. I never really paid much attention to it, but it played a pivotal role in this week’s episode. For starters, the acoustic version was used instead of the normal upbeat one. And I have to say I very much prefer the acoustic version. The opening notes of the guitar added that touch of mournfulness, which accentuated the despair of having seen Art get stabbed. Needless to say, EDs signify the end of an episode. And in this episode, it definitely served as a reminder that the episode was ending. Which made me feel all the more frantic that I knew Art was dying and nothing much was being done about it.
The entire dying scene was very well structured. Other than the use of the ED, the visual effects also added to the gloomy setting – with the rain falling, and the black petals from the black cosmos fluttering in the wind. Of course we can’t have a dying scene without the seiyuu who voices the dying person. And so, special mention this week to the absolutely amazing HiroC, for his (literally) breathtaking performance – Art’s dying rasps as he struggled for his very last breaths had me short of breath.