You need to kill the bird? Don’t you need the cage?
It’s a shame we played this card so early. Yes…Haruki. Best girl is gone. How do I know? It’s like a macabre imprinting, the first assassin you see will be offed this episode.
This week opens on flashback. Tokaku is ignoring her aunt, whom Tokaku’s grandmothers calls the disgrace of the family. Whatever. This development is coming so slowly because we have to focus so hard on the assassins. Like Black Bullet, pace is hurting Akuma no Riddle.
In class, it’s festival time! The girls are going to do Romeo and Juliet. And Shiena is just adorable, taking the director’s chair and just bossing people around…so cute…
Haruki is helping Haru with props, and she seems to be legitimately bonding with her and Tokaku. Tokaku confides that it’s silly when they’re all murderers. Haruki seems to agree, but says there’s nothing wrong with fun. Well that’s cue for the pathos machine, she gets call from her siblings. She looks back despondently. She’s going to have to kill Haru.
Poor family is a good motivation. It’s enough to get us to understand why Haruki might be a good person ultimately, but feels compelled to partake in this game. It also is simple enough that it doesn’t require a lot of exposition.
Haruki confronts the pair in the bath, implied she purposefully is trying to force a bit of a confrontation. While Otoya (episode 3) went after Haru’s emotions, Haruki seems to sense that it’s Tokaku’s emotions that are easiest to prey on. Get her angry at Haru, let her make a mistake when her compassion feels strained. She says she heard about her history from Nio. She asks how Haru can smile after people have died all around her. Haru says she has to, what else can she do? Haruki laughs at this, telling Tokaku “You hear that? She’ll smile even when you’re dead.”
Tokaku takes Haru away, but in their room it’s clear she is pissed. But she can’t express it. She tells Haru to get angry for once, but Haru, as always, is able to shrug it off. But Tokaku is pissed. And really it’s hard to blame her. Protecting Haru was an impulsive decision, and Haruki basically just said Tokaku wasn’t special to Haru, just the latest in a string of dead friends. And Haru did not disagree. It’s a good strategy by Haruki, because this IS an emotional commitment by Tokaku. It’s not logical, and it’s not her mission. There’s wiggle room here beyond professionalism. Which leaves enough room for Tokaku to make a mistake.
We learn some stuff about Tokaku’s family. First, that she only really knows her grandmother, and it’s implied she killed her aunt at some time (in connection to the mental blocking, did she sacrifice herself to prevent Tokaku from killing?) The Azuma lineage is famous among assassins, one of two shinobi clans who dominated underhanded deeds in the past. It’s like assassin royalty.
So what better than for her to go up against the pauper.
Haruki sees Azuma. She apologizes, saying her anger overblew. She even hints that she might have a plan to save Haru, whom she has come to regard as a friend. She’ll tell her tonight, she promises.
But we see Haruki painting her nails, real full job. Much like samurai armor was bright and colorful, “a suit of armor to die in” as the saying went. She’s preparing to die. She says she wants ehr family taken care. She also whispers something to Nio, which Nio responds it’s no problem. Obvious set up is obvious. If she dies, her family will still get the reward if she manages to kill Haru.
She’s called Haru to the gym, where the play is being set up. She tries to garrote Haru, but Tokaku arrives. Haruki, however, makes one miscalculation. She says she can beat Tokaku in her poor state of mind. Well, as expected, Tokaku now writes off everything that’s happened as Haruki trying to drive a wedge between her and Haru. This fight is pretty good, but like the others, short.
But Haruki has one last trump, setting the scaffolding to drop. As it falls, she has one last thought. Her siblings will smile after she’s dead, just like Haru can.
…Ow, right in the feels…
But the girls are saved by one of Haruki’s props. Haruki’s still alive, though we’re left to decide if she’s crippled from the ordeal.
Again, pace. The Tokaku/Haru relationship just feels too shallow still for being near halfway through the series. Ugh, it’s depressing I cannot even latch onto the yandere lesbian hour as a source of comfort this season.