Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ga-Rei - Zero 07: Angst-fest

Kagura is on the brink of breaking down so Ayame decides to put her and Yomi both on leave. Kagura uses the time to angst about her catastrophic experience while Yomi goes on a date with Noriyuki. But unknown to both girls, evil forces are at work, leading them to unexpected personal tragedies.
EPISODE 07: Chains of Remorse
More Screencaps from Ga-Rei Zero 07

We open to the sight of Mei's "dead" body. There's a blue butterfly on one of her hands. As it flutters away, Mei's hand twitches. In the next moment, we see her standing up, body still covered in blood. In school, Noriyuki comforts a shell-shocked Kagura as emergency medical workers take away the dead nurse's body. Kazuka is also there and is the one who explains the situation to Kagura's classmates, Yacchi and Mikku. Yomi arrives a few minutes later and Kagura runs into her arms.
Much later, Ayame and Kiri discuss Kagura's recent experience and both of them decide that it would be best to give the girl a break. They likewise think that Yomi should be put on leave as well to keep Kagura company. As to the strange spiritual signal they discovered earlier, Kiri says that it disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared. Meanwhile, Isayama makes known his decision to hurry along Yomi's succession. But he makes a fatal mistake in letting his brother Yuu and niece Mei know about it before he could make the announcement at the next branch family meeting. Back in school, a remorseful Kagura goes to the nurse's office and meets the new school nurse. Unable to hold herself back anymore, she breaks into tears.
Later, Kagura goes to visit the school nurse's grave and unexpectedly meets Yacchi and Mikku there. It seems Yacchi blames Kagura for what happened and confronts her about it. But Kagura has nothing to say for her defense. Just when we think Yacchi is going to bitch-slap her, the three girls just hug each other. Back in the Isayama household, Yomi encounters her uncle and cousin on their way out. Yuu makes no secret of his dislike for Yomi and even admonishes her, reminding her of her responsibility as wielder of the Shishi-ou. But it is Mei who catches Yomi's attention when she brushes past the younger girl. At the cemetery, Kagura chats with her friends about her family's being exorcists. As they talk, two familiar-looking people pass by and Kagura suddenly stands up, looking at them in surprise.
At SDCD, Ayame and Kiri discover that the strange signal is back and this time, there are two of them. They wonder whether the original signal somehow managed to split itself. At that moment, Mei is standing on top of a billboard and she's got a nasty smile on her face. The next day, Yomi and Kagura spar with each other. It is during this time that Yomi realizes Kagura is catching up to her in terms of sword skills. Kagura, however, still lacks confidence and it falls upon Yomi to cheer her up. Later, when Kagura goes off to see her friends, Yomi gets a strange visitor in the form of the kudagitsune. Speaking of strange visitors, Isayama is surprised to see Mei dropping by. Meanwhile, Yomi and Noriyuki spend some well-deserved couple time at the park only to be interrupted by Kagura's calling.
The two girls chat over the phone for a bit while Noriyuki waits impatiently. Finally, when it doesn't look like the girl-talk is going to end soon, Noriyuki steals a kiss from Yomi just as Kagura is saying her goodbye. At the cafe where Kagura is calling from, Yacchi and Mikku arrive with dessert. Back at the park, Yomi hits Noriyuki with her cellphone and warns that the next time he does that, she's going to bite his tongue off. But then, she turns her cellphone off and settles down for another round of kissing. Unknown to both of them, Kagura comes home that evening to the sight of Yomi's foster father, unconscious and bleeding on the floor. When she and Yomi arrive at the hospital hours later, Yuu puts the blame on Yomi, saying that they've been trying to contact her. Mei then interrupts her father to tell Yomi to say her final goodbye to the dead Isayama.

Hahahaha. Tooru and Natsuki's cameo made me LOL. Gee, I wonder if they are going to feature prominent in the series.... Or are they just going to make random cameo appearances throughout the entire show? The latter would be even more hilarious.

Hilarity aside, I think perhaps they're going to tie this up to episode one. And in order to do that, they're going to have to gradually introduce the characters from that episode. Maybe they'll make it like the SDCD members know some of the members from Fourth Division, or some such. Or maybe they'll end up working on the same mission. Gosh, I hope they're going to spend at least a few episodes developing if not the Fourth Division then at least Tooru and Natsuki. I think Tooru's backstory is going to be significant, so here's to hoping.

Now, about Mei being alive. No surprise in that. It's the sesshouseki. The white-haired kid must have given it to her at some point. Which means Isayama's death is just the beginning. Obviously, Mei's turning is going to wreak more havoc. Poor Isayama. And poor Yomi. She's got no one to stand up for her now at the branch family meeting, which means only one thing: she probably won't inherit the Shishi-ou after all. And that could be devastating to her already fragile self-confidence. Good thing Noriyuki is there for her. But is it enough? Because if Yomi can't inherit the Shishi-ou, it means she's not an Isayama successor and wasn't her betrothal to Noriyuki solely based on her being the next Isayama head?

Don't get me wrong. This episode is not merely about Yomi. It's about Kagura, too. But more than seeing Kagura finally get a grip (even in the manga, she hasn't gotten it completely together), I want to see very clearly how Yomi turns from this cheerful, self-assured woman to the bitter person she has become in the manga.