This series really is fantastically off the hook. The balance is pretty exquisite – the ante keeps getting raised, but it never slips into outright farce. This seeming randomness is actually a very intricately woven web that hold together through all the stress the craziness puts on it. Doing that – and having really outlandish characters who are also relatable and even believable most of the time – is quite an accomplishment. Full credit to the anime staff for their excellent work here, but it’s such a shame we’re never going to get to see what else Sano Nami would have dreamed up.
This was the episode where all the answers really started to flow. Hitori’s secret didn’t get out, somehow. But Dari has taken to Hitori’s bed, distraught, and Eiji is slowly recovering from his pumpkin trauma. Migi decides to take matters into his own hands and find out the truth of why Eiji saved him, and dons the Sali cosplay to do it. A brother dressing like the girl he fell in love with who was actually his brother in disguise is a deliciously bizarre turn of events, and Migi is hardly the smooth method actor Dari is. But he does manage to fool Eiji (who had to force Reiko to let Sali in) long enough to get thee truth (as he believes it) out of him.
Eiji’s version of events is that he saved Hitori out of guilt – to atone for his sins. We know by now that that sin was, of course, and Eiji tells Sali (Reiko has been sent off to buy sourdough bread) that the whole diorama and secrecy is his mother trying to hide his crime. This is complicated (well, it’s all complicated) – Reiko apparently doesn’t know Metry is dead. And not only that, we later find out from Karen (the little sister) that Reiko is unable to bear children and that both she and Eiji are not hers (though it’s not clear whether Eiji knows this or not).
The absurd spectacle of Reiko menacing Sali with a baguette is only the appetizer to the craziness brewing here. It’s when he’s hiding in Karen’t room (after he’s been de-wigged and outed) that she tells him about Reiko. Eventually Reiko goes to the Sonoyama house and spikes the tea, then heads upstairs and captures Dari. He’s bait – she clearly suspects the truth now – and Migi takes it, revealing it 100%. She captures him too and offers the boys the opportunity to choose one to die, which Dari unsurprisingly stakes claim to. Things are looking mighty grim until Micchan finally shows up. And what an entrance it is, too.
I hated to see Micchan go – she’s one of the funniest in this cast. Her death certainly establishes the stakes her with certainty. Reiko is a killer and full-on psychotic, and the boys flee town with haste, leaving their stepparents and the beast behind. Eventually they hole up in an Inari Shrine (with room service) but Migi isn’t content to leave their old lives – and the old couple to fend for themselves. He was always the one longing for a normal childhood, more or less caught up in the wake of Dari’s lust for revenge. Now the pair of them are forced to make a choice, and Migi’s uncharacteristic defiance leads to a rather vicious fistfight in an irrigation ditch.
Migi to Dari really is an elegant construction, a real funambulist of a series in so many ways. It flies ever closer to the sun with each new twist, but these wings aren’t made of wax – at least not so far. It strikes me that this is going to be a pretty tricky landing to stick, and I didn’t feel that Sakamoto desu ga? totally did that. But this is a better series in every sense, at least for me, and it’s earned a good deal of trust with these first nine episodes. For obvious reasons, I’m even more strongly hoping it gets the ending it needs than usual.