Chise reluctantly agrees to Cartaphilus’ terms in order to save Stella and discovers the curse that’s kept him alive for so long. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode and catch up on any posts you might have missed here.
As you might have noticed by now, I liked to focus my reviews for this show around a particular theme that I saw in the episode. For this one, Despite it being centered so heavily around Chise’s childhood (or because of it?), I chose the topic of maturity.
Chise has spent a lot of time in this series being guided and protected. In seeing her past revealed, viewers once again witness that her entire childhood wasn’t defined by the loneliness and fear that plagued her in the OVA. The period when Chise’s father and brother were still living them was quite happy, but made me really feel for her knowing what the future held. Although Cartaphilus counted on Chise reacting like the scared child she once was while being made to relive her past, she is a very different person today.
Running away from Elias and trying to save Stella on her own was the first sign of her maturity, though doing things on her own caused problems several times before. What’s different this time is that Chise chose a condition where she had no expectation that Elias could come and save her. She further underscores her maturity when she tells the haunting spirit of her mother that she can’t forgive her, but that she can move on. Because Chise was forced to lose the protective hands of her parents, she was able to experience the magical life we have seen play out before us.
Caraphilius’ personified curse hints that Chise’s maturity might make her different from the scores of people that called out to it for help. This was the kind of development I was hoping to see for Chise and was what made this a really great episode for me. I’m really excited to see how her confrontation with Joseph plays out next week, and to see how this series concludes.
I couldn’t help but think how much better the venture into Chise’s childhood might have been if the interaction with her father and brother had utilised more than a series of still images to show the relationship they once had. While we’ve seen glimpses of her mother’s final interactions with Chise numerous times, her father has been conspicuously absent from her memories and part of me wanted to see that aspect further developed.
However, I also understand that they had twenty minutes and in order to give the mother’s story a decent showing, they needed to give us the shortened version of the idyllic life prior to the father’s departure (though how he was able to protect them and all of that remains an unexplained mystery for later I guess). And to the show’s credit, despite knowing how the mother’s story was going to end they did a decent job building this up and giving it the context and weight it needed which also made Chise’s development (as Weekend Otaku mentioned) all the more compelling.
And that really is the take-away from this episode as barely ten minutes seems to pass in the actual world. This isn’t about what is going on in the real world, though it does nicely set up where we will go next episode. This episode is very much focused on Chise and her growth as an individual since she was picked up by Elias. Everything from her confidence, her stance, her desire to actually live; literally everything has changed and yet she’s still Chise. She hasn’t thrown aside who she was; instead, she’s accepting it. For the first time we see her embracing the past that has haunted her and while she still isn’t happy about it, she’s come to terms with it.
Visually, the flower sequence used in her final moments speaking with her mother was truly beautiful and links nicely with the flower symbolism that’s been threaded through the entire series, however outside of that this episode missed an opportunity with the still images early on being pretty flat looking.
Still, this has been an excellent journey to follow Chise on and it is nice to see that her character has managed to mature and grow over the course of the series. Now we just need to see if she can help Elias learn to grow a bit.