Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today seemed like a perfect opportunity to hop back into the drama of Yuki Yuna is a Hero, where we’re currently all scanning the skies and waiting for some kind of celestial second shoe to drop. Having allegedly defeated their enemies and completed their duties as heroes in the fifth episode, the gang are now suffering under mysterious injuries and uncertain expectations, their tight-knit community the only shield against whatever comes next. Though their overseers claim their symptoms will subside, there’s no real indication their contacts even know what’s going on – or if they do, they’re content to keep such secrets from their troops on the ground.
Personally, I couldn’t be more pleased by this intriguing turn of fortunes. The idea of moving on past the standard magical girl paradigm, of accomplishing your grand task and attempting to reintegrate into normal life, seems like a novel and compelling way to explore the true motivations guiding our young heroes. Additionally, their treatment as veterans who’ve been abandoned by their country feels like a natural thematic expansion of Yuki Yuna’s interrogation of genre assumptions, placing our girls within a long and storied tradition of post-war dramas. Let’s see how they’re faring in a fresh episode of Yuki Yuna!
We open on scenes of total peace, the usually reserved color design of Yuna’s hometown now lit up by the sun, gleaming with reflected sunlight. The overall summer vibe is further complemented by the sound of cicadas in the air, leading into Yuna’s proud declaration that they’ve defeated all the vertexes and summer break has arrived
“The Taisha has arranged a retreat for us as a reward.” Well, at least they’re still getting vacation time
Yuna is apparently announcing all this exposition to the open air, prompting Tougou to ask what the hell she’s talking about
I like Togo’s unique beach-ready wheelchair. Consistently appreciating the care this show takes in realizing her disability
Unfortunately, it seems their injuries from blooming still haven’t healed
And of course Karin would take even this vacation as a chance for more competition, demanding Fuu face her in a beach race
“I was once known as the Mermaid of Seto.” Fuu’s eyepatch has only amplified the power of her tall tales and old man wisdom
“Back in kindergarten, I swam for like, five years.” Goddamnit Fuu
“I’ll show her that a talented soldier excels even in the water.” It’s nice getting to see their personalities bounce off each other under less dire circumstances
Huh, I haven’t seen this game before – Karin and Yuki essentially competing in a form of “beach jenga,” seeing how much sand they can remove from around a stick before the stick topples
“I’m so hungry.” “Take a bite out of Karin for the time being.” Karin seems fully integrated into the gang at this point, sharing in their goofy games and countering their jokes
As with her investigation of their lingering injuries, Tougou seems to again be the first one who suspects something is still wrong. The group find her staring out across the sea, undoubtedly wondering whatever new enemies are waiting to make their appearance. Surely the threat of the vertexes couldn’t have been so localized that one group of heroes could defeat them in a handful of battles, right?
But enough about that, they’ve got a feast to enjoy! Real goddamn crab!
“This place is affiliated with the Taisha.” The seemingly limitless influence of the Taisha feels at odds with the local, provincial nature of our heroes’ victory. If the fight were over that easily, this infrastructure would not be necessary
And Yuna again works to dispel the doubts of the others, making a big performance of how much she appreciates the texture of the food, given she cannot register its actual flavor
“Come home past curfew and I’ll tie you to a post.” “Now now dear, that’s taking it too far.” Tougou and Yuna are definitely two of the more married characters I’ve come across. This play-acting coming right after Yuna refers to her as “my princess,” as well
The team follows up their beach trip and meal with a trip to the hot springs bath. We’re really min-maxing our vacation episodes here, huh
And onward to sharing love secrets on futons. I appreciate the detail of Fuu attempting to steer this conversation with authority by forcing the others to announce it’s love story time, but then getting self-conscious when Tougou asks her to repeat herself. Fuu’s leader-like affectation is in part aspirational – she puts on a performance of strength, hoping to assure others even when she can’t necessarily convince herself
In spite of her generally no-nonsense attitude, Karin is actually intensely curious to hear about Fuu’s brief romantic entanglement
“Boys our age all look like kids.” Yeah, romance is an awkward prospect in middle school – people are shooting through puberty at uneven paces, everyone’s just sorta play-acting what they think they’ll be like as a confident teenager, and everybody else seems like they’ve got a better handle on things than you
As soon as Ibuki hits the lights, Tougou charges ahead with the final hot springs vacation convention: telling ghost stories. Well, technically the full convention would involve some kind of test of bravery, but we’ve only got so much time to hit all the highlights here
At some point during the night, Karin has to push a migratory Fuu back to her own futon. The relationship between these two has developed nicely over time – their initial disagreements over leadership have evolved into a firm mutual trust, each of them having come to respect the other’s confidence and reasoning
“You’re all better, Itsuki? I’m glad.” After first pushing Fuu away, Karin hears her mumbling in her sleep about her true anxieties – the fear that these illnesses will never go away, and that it’s her leadership that resulted in her sister losing her voice. And so Karin relents, letting Fuu hold onto her, sharing the weight
In the morning, Tougou and Yuna wake before the others. Tougou reveals that the ribbon she always carries came from before her accident – she knows it must be important, but not why
“The vertexes are based on the twelve constellations of the zodiac, right? But there are more constellations than that.” Hoo boy, here we go
“I wonder why the vertexes always appeared where we are. We’d be in trouble if they appeared from the Pacific Ocean side.” “It’s because the Divine Tree weakens its barrier at a specific spot to control where the enemies come through.” Huh, mystery solved I suppose
Yuna is relieved to hear the Divine Tree has a specific conscious will, though I’m not sure how comforting I find that fact myself
“It’s like you said in the hospital. We have to enjoy ourselves to make up for the time we’ve lost.” That tension hangs over this ostensibly carefree episode. All of them are putting on a performance of untroubled happiness, trying to convince each other and themselves that nothing is wrong
“If being alone brings you negative thoughts, then I’ll stay by your side even more than usual today.” These two are so good together
In our post-credits stinger, Fuu receives a message that sends her to the hero club room, where a suitcase bears their old hero phones. “We expect an attack within forty days of the new moon.”
And thus the idyllic summer days of the hero club come to an end! Though really, it’s hard to describe their vacation as carefree in the first place – all of them except Karin are still suffering the lingering injuries of their previous battle, and I doubt any of them truly believed their work was over. It was nonetheless nice to get a brief respite from their martial duties, particularly now that their team has established such a strong sense of trust and companionship. With the Divine Tree seeming less reliable and trustworthy by the episode, it’s clear that the warriors of the hero club can only rely on each other – and this episode provided plentiful examples of that trust in action, with even Karin learning to lean on her friends, and to serve as an emotional pillar for them in turn. Let’s hope their solidarity is enough to survive the coming storm!