This series is absolute inspired lunacy, and it’s a crying shame it seems to be drawing almost no attention. I’ve been trying to categorize it, and it doesn’t neatly fit into any one box. It has elements of absurdism and surrealism, though it’s not either of those things. And at times it almost puts me in mind of one of those wacky stories Terry Jones and Michael Palin would write in the days after Monty Python disbanded – like an animanga version of a Ripping Yarns episode. Whatever you to call it, Migi to Dari is both pretty unique and immensely entertaining.
As we saw last time, Reiko has framed Hitori for the murder of Micchan (though it would never hold up once the evidence was examined, the boys don’t know that). They’re pretty short on options, and here Migi’s more adept social skills pay dividends – he has an ally he can call on, and Dari is in no position to say no. And once Akiyama joins the fray you know things are going to get crazy. That’s especially true when – much to Migi’s horror – he invites Murata-kun to join the team. Murata has tech and he’s a sneaky bastard, and that makes him a natural ally in this situation.
All this time Migi is trying to convince Dari to reveal himself to Akiyama, but this just plays up the differences between the brothers that much more. Migi is just much more open and willing to trust, while Dari is pretty much broken socially. But once the birdboy hatches a plan (pun intended), Dari is out of options – it’s now or never. When the truth does come out Murata and Akiyama-kun freak out in truly hilarious fashion (Murata is about to push the big red “Mama” button he has in his room).
This pretty much devolves into a truly ridiculous spy caper as seen through the mind of a bunch of schoolboys, which is in effect exactly what it is. The idea is for “The Beavers” to liberate Karen – who Murata has learned via Morse code is imprisoned in her room – and have her act as a hostage to get Reiko to confess the truth on hidden camera. There’s Akiyama screaming in a bird suit, rope, barbed wire, and budding romance (Karen apparently has a tooth fetish). Karen declares that the Ichiyama house should be “brought to ruin” (sounds good to me) and the smitten Murata is only too happy to promise to do it.
At this point things get ever weirder, as the plan shifts to making Eiji the hostage – Karen figures she doesn’t have enough value to Reiko (and her explanation even more strongly suggests Metry is Eiji’s mother). But Eiji has been dumped into the same re-education nightmare that Migi endured (Akira seems to be aware of this and chooses to ignore it). Dari is convinced that a sort of Revenge of the Sith “high ground” scenario is the key to everything, the dog comes in and bolloxes up the plan, and eventually a tense standoff ensues, with Migi holding a knife to the infantilized Eiji’s throat while Reiko glowers up at them and eventually agrees to spin the tale of why Metry was a “devil”.
As ever with Migi to Dari, Sano Nami manages to maintain the structural integrity of the characters even as they’re surrounded by the bizarre. Migi and Dari’s differences have become a larger and larger theme as the series has progressed, and it seems to have been building to this – now that they (seemingly) have the person that killed their mother in their clutches, what will they do? Migi seems able to grasp that the act was unintentional, and that Eiji is really a victim too – but Dari seems unable to make that leap (yet). One suspects he eventually will, but with this series I wouldn’t make that assumption just yet.