More Nines: Darker, Bantorra, Sasameki

I combined these three shows last week and was delighted. This time around there’s a drop, but not a big one.

I praise shows with complexity, but sometimes they baffle me. Such as with Darker than Black and its enormous roster of characters, some of them new, and others we met in the previous series, such as …

Hey! Look who's back! Make sense of the plot for me, Gai? Er, never mind ...

I can’t say I ever cared much for Gai Kurasawa. As comic relief he wasn’t much use. His assistant Kiko was a little better. This time around, however, I was relieved to see them, since I had completely lost track of what each covert organization was planning and why, or even who worked for whom. At least here was something I could recognize. Why did Hei separate from Suou and July and kidnap Kuoko? Argh. What is this future-predicting Contractor and why was Kirihara so interested? I forget, or maybe I was never told. Okay, it all centers around Yin, who’s still locked away somewhere. But at times it’s impossible to figure out what that means to everyone. The only clue we get is the prophecy that if Yin and (presumably) Shion meet, it’s big trouble for the world. Maybe.

At least Gai and Kiko could lead Suou and her buddies into something simpler: finding Suou’s mom. They do it in their usual haphazard way, and its Suou and a meeting with a blonde woman (and who the hell was she?) that clues them in. And when the mother arrives, we get the big shock.

Mothers and the secrets they know was a theme running through this ep. Hazuki is confronted with the news that her mother is dying, and she says she doesn’t care, but of course she does. Suou’s mother tells her a terrible fact. And even Gai interprets one of Kiko’s lines as from his mother, and realizes Kiko knows his true identity. As for the rest of the show, I blame myself for not paying attention, and the show for being both convoluted and fascinating at the same time.

I thought we had left the Zatoh/Enlike story behind last ep, but The Book of Bantorra 9 continues with it. Alas, it feels more like an afterthought than a climax. Enlike, having taken Zatoh’s body, is admitted to Bantorra and given free reign there. This doesn’t sit well with some of the other Librarians, and they have a point, because Enlike (actually Zatoh) killed one of them, is still conflicted, and old man Ganbanzel wants him to return to being a monster.

The power of persuasion.

And, Enlike, like any sane person, has doubts about Meseta. Why is such a woman running the library, anyway?

Insert comment about library directors here.

But when Enlike caves in and agrees, the big scene is sort of an anticlimax. Enlike goes through indecision, thanks to things Noloty has said to him (You can almost see a little angel and devil perched on his shoulders, whispering advice), then blasts Ganbazel. Not terribly exciting in terms of Enlike. But this seemed to be the old man’s plan from the beginning. Apparently he had a death wish, and is killed by fire from above, just as Meseta had nearly killed him the same way years ago. In the end, maybe he leaves and maybe Noloty talks him into staying. That’s left up in the air. All we get in the end is that Meseta is, if not a monster, a monstrous human being.

Sasameki Koto 9 devotes much time to Aoi, who’s fallen for Murasame. She proposes that they write a lesbian fanzine together, with Murasame and Kazama arguing about it behind her back with their own sign language. Funny scene.

Aoi takes it as a yes and starts to write her part of it. This takes up much of the episode, as we see her get happier and happier, and we await the blow that follows.

Murasame had never agreed to it, had completely forgotten about it. It’s a sad moment. The show had gone to great lengths to show how excited Aoi was, even having a scene with her parents discussing it. We’ve all had moments when someone we had put our hopes on lets us down, and the episode does nothing to mask her grief and disappointment. Sadder yet, what Aoi truly needs is not a companion, necessarily, but friends. And if she could tone down her contempt at Tomoe and Miyako’s relationship, she could have a whole handful of them. Happily, when Murasame realizes just how much she has hurt Aoi, she tries to make amends.

I love how this show can go from silly to touching. And the touching moments feel sincere, not forced into the story because the creators felt they had to have one. Sasameki Koto actually works for it.

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