Blood-C Episode 9 – All the Right Questions
Last episode I speculated, off a couple lines in the preview, that the classmates who survived the latest attack might turn on Saya, but that didn’t pan out. There weren’t enough classmates alive to do that effectively, anyway. That being said, the words that prompted that speculation prove remarkably important.
The problems with the opening fight are the same ones as always: Saya’s red eyes are treated not as a power-up so much as an “I win” button. (The censoring is out and in force too.) The strengths of the fight, however, more than outweigh my complaints about it. Emotionally, it’s one of the most charged things we’ve seen since the show began, as Saya finds her resolve to protect doesn’t always translate into action.
It doesn’t help that the monster has a target rich environment to play around in, or that Saya is interrupted again and again by flashbacks which disable her for longer and longer periods of time. In the end, everyone present save class representative Itsuki Tomofusa is killed; the death of close friend Yuuka Amino is what finally sets Saya into blood rage mode.
As psychologically scarring as watching her class die, the real “damage” comes afterward. Itsuki is one of three people who have stumbled onto Saya fighting and not been murdered, but he’s the first to ask the obvious question: What is Saya, and how can she fight these monsters head on? Saya falls back on her programmed family history, but it’s obvious that she’s trying to convince even herself now.
They are interrupted by their homeroom teacher; immediately Saya loses consciousness and wakes later alone in her bed. When Watanuki comes to her to bring up the same questions about her past again, he too is interrupted by Shin’ichirou. This, of course, is a standard way for plot writers to stall revelations, by keeping the protagonists from asking and getting answers to relevant questions. Here, however, it seems more deliberate: Watanuki says as much, implying that the reason key figures swoop in isn’t (just) author fiat but the work of a deliberate conspiracy of those in the know.
That would make Shin’ichirou one of those “in the know”—I need to complement the guy who suspected that Shin’ichirou, too, had secret motivations. Unlike his last interruption, however, this time Saya is much more skeptical, and when he declares that he loves her, she’s skeptical about that too. Why would he love her, when they barely know each other? Where was he when the monster tore about the rest of the class? For that matter, why was only Saya’s class given the all clear to come into school?
Shin’ichirou’s evasions are themselves interrupted by Tadayoshi, who doesn’t seem to like his “daughter’s” “suitor.” Again, this is deliberate, and speaks to a wider conspiracy where all the actors, however much they dislike each other, are working in tandem. It also implies a level of surveillance and planning that is borderline draconian, which probably explains why Watanuki has made himself invisible to all but Saya.
More to the point, it indicates that every fight Saya has had was predicted and perhaps even orchestrated by that same cabal. The slaughter of Saya’s class was deliberate, not an accidental side effect of the experiment or an unfortunate consequence of the monsters engaging in reprisal against Saya for hunting them down. And it makes just about every named character still living (save Itsuki and possibly Watanuki) responsible for bringing disaster to Saya and those she cares about.
The best part about this episode, however, is that it not only integrates what could have been an annoying stalling technique in the narrative proper, but that it is also clear that the device no longer works. Shin’ichirou’s attempt to distract Saya failed, but Tadayoshi’s (assuming the two were working in tandem) didn’t work either. The last line of the episode is Saya explaining she can’t remember anything about her mother, including her name.
Maybe Blood-C still has some stalling techniques up its sleeves, but regardless the wheels are coming off of experiment Fumito, Tadayoshi, Kanako, and Shin’ichirou are all involved in. What that means for how the remaining three episodes will play out, I have no idea. I suppose much will depend on whether this eventuality, too, was part of the experiment, and how Saya will work to end it altogether.
I’m still disappointed this series has only had Saya win her battles twice with brains or skill and has relied on superpowering her up for the remaining eight or nine. But Blood-C is giving us dark drama and an increasingly accelerating plot. And both of those count for a lot.