“The Solitude of Light” 「光たるの羨望（こどく）」
Wow. It started with what looked like a lover’s spat and ended with a suspense cliffhanger. Kamigami’s in form!
Never thought I’d describe an otome reverse-harem game adaptation as being in form but this episode truly was, especially in the second half. Continuing from where things left off last week, Loki confronts yandere Balder in what looks like a lover’s tiff, telling Balder to “Don’t make me suffer anymore!” At first glance I doubt anyone knew what Loki meant but by the end of this episode, it could very well be that Loki’s had it with shielding Balder? It’s a bit of a stretch and one that I’d rather the show not go through with in any case but that cliffhanger does leave this option wide open.
The 2-episode arc for Balder and Loki worked really well particularly in the pacing of things. I just wish we had this level of plot and pace from the very beginning instead of waiting for the second half of the season to turns things for the better. Congratulations to those of you who’ve made it thus far, seems like things are finally paying off! This was quite the heavy (i.e. dramatic) episode. As it turns out, yandere Balder (quite intimidating this week, more so than last) is like a split personality, an alter-ego that appears whenever Balder’s emotions become unstable (such a child…), so much so that he doesn’t remember what he says or does in that pissed-off-god-of-light mode. Loki warns Yui repeatedly to stay away from Balder, for his good and more importantly, for her own good. Just as he says this, Balder finally finds Yui with Loki and concludes Loki is competition. It’s no wonder his emotions went off-kilter.
Alter-ego, upset Balder is very powerful and has hurt people unknowingly such as in the past when shielding Loki from the other gods who hated the mischief maker. But Loki knows it’s Balder who hurts the most deep down. All that they’ve been through growing up and having one another in their most truthful, straightforward and honest form – that’s true friendship and I won’t argue against Balder really belonging to Loki. Yui’s the only other person to have been so true and real to Balder that he jumps the gun (what about Thor?! what about the other Gods?!) though by the end, he’s calmed down and while admitting he does like her, realises he has to take things slow. Does Loki like Yui too? He says no when Balder asks him but deep down he’s thinking it’s actually possible that she’s special to him too.
One minor plot hole though – since Zeus has sealed everyone’s powers, why are the fake students (yes they’re not real! creepy right?) still attracted to Balder? The contract his mother made with every thing in the world (except mistletoe because she thought it too insignificant to do any harm; how timely that we’re in a christmas market setting at this point in Kamigami) was for nothing to harm Balder, not for attraction. Also, if we’re talking about being attracted to light in refuge from fear of darkness, why doesn’t Apollon as the Sun God, have this problem? Difference of upbringing between the Greeks and the Scandinavians? Or maybe Apollon’s just too much of an idiot to think too much into things.
The lighthearted moments did well to balance the mood, an effect I didn’t quite appreciate enough in earlier episodes. Wall-slamming Thoth-sama never fails to crack me up, especially when you look out for it in every episode! And he does it twice this episode too! I really LOL-ed at that scene of him going all gangster in forcing his students a hard sell with his fake Egyptian mummy dolls. Why did he buy so much red bean soup though? To feed Anubis? The other cracker was a-ho idiot Apollon and his life-sized santa and reindeer candles. How blindly optimistic can this Sun God be? And how on earth did he come up with the name ‘watermelon gratin’ (スイカグラッタン su-i-ca-gu-ra-tta-n) for sky lanterns that look neither like watermelons nor gratin?! やっぱりアホかアポロン？(You’re really an idiot aren’t you Apollon?) Lastly, uncle Hades blushing like a little boy when Yui praised his flowers… 照れちゃった (te-re-chya-tta, to blush from embarrassment)!
All in all, this was a good episode and a hopefully a turning point for the series. Hosoya Yoshimasa does a cheeky voice so well but proves he can easily revert to the stoicism he’s portrayed in recent roles. HiroC, well, I actually got scared of yandere Balder there so there you go, he’s a seiyuu kami alright. The preview doesn’t say much so hopefully we get some air time with Apollon finally and that the pacing and plot continues from strength the strength from here on.