Takuya has a heart to heart with Ayumi on a crazy episode of YU-NO.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
After the rather shocking cliffhanger last week, Takuya remains relatively calm, all things considered. Since he has the kooky alternative dimension device, all he has to do is travel back and stop Ayumi from hurting herself. Unfortunately, this proves to be much more difficult than anticipated. Even when he manages to dig up dirt on Toyotomi, Ayumi still tries to take her own life. Luckily, Takuya returns home in time for once and manages to talk some sense into his stepmom.
Yikes. This was certainly one insane episode! I’m still processing just how overtly violent and over the top this fifth episode of YU-NO was, but I was watching it with full attention all the way through, which is sometimes high praise for this series. From Ayumi’s escalating attempts on her own life to Toyotomi’s ever-growing creepiness, Spiral of Tragedy is without a doubt the kind of episode that will either turn viewers away or draw them even further into the, well, spiral of the series.
Let’s start by unpacking the first half of the episode, where Takuya keeps going back in time (or parallel, or whatever) to stop Ayumi from committing suicide. As the methods of suicide kept rising to greater and greater heights (sometimes literally!), I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. It was almost bleakly funny at first, especially when Ayumi just faints in front of an oncoming semi truck. But then things get even more depressing, including Ayumi throwing herself off their rooftop and laying in front of a train. I was getting comically frustrated with Takuya – why can’t he just tie her to a chair or something? Alas, even this might not stop her, I guess, because Ayumi is singularly focused on ending her life.
That’s another thing I found somewhat interesting. Throughout the episode, Takuya and all of us viewers are led to believe she’s committing suicide based on the shame of slanderous rumors being spread about her across GeoTech. However, even once Takuya makes it clear that Toyotomi is the one behind it all, Ayumi still insists upon death. Perhaps her true motivations combined guilt, shame, depression, and loneliness for Takuya’s father. Despite the somewhat of a twist ending being kind of neat, I don’t entirely buy Ayumi’s abrupt change of heart. It seems like she’s been feeling this way ever since her husband died, and I don’t know why a five-minute talk with her idiot horny stepson would fix anything. Still, I’m glad Takuya cares about someone other than himself?
A few stray observations about the Spiral of Tragedy… Man, Toyotomi sucks. But the reporter who provides the evidence necessary to prove his dalliance sucks even more maybe? Toyotomi may have committed fraud, deception, and attempted rape, but at least the attempted sexual assault wasn’t enacted on a minor. The green-haired lady pins Takuya down and tells him she’s always wanted to take a young boy’s virginity, which… WHAT? Then they move on talking about GeoTech as if nothing happened. When the show attempts to paint one assault attempt as being less ‘evil’ or valid than another, that’s a problem.
This week’s dub was pretty solid. Toyotomi and Takuya had great interactions as always, and I especially appreciated their reversal on the ‘the good guys always winning’ mantra. The script was natural sounding and handled this episode’s traumatic events fairly well.
Spiral of Tragedy is definitely an episode that stands out because of its content, which is much more dismal than usual. While much of this episode had a lot of suspense (although it would’ve been more effective if we actually knew about limits to Takuya’s powers), it was just too ‘out there’ for me personally. Suicides with a pinch of sexual assault and a ton of corporate sabotage? If this sounds like a successful recipe for entertainment to you, then you can take home these leftovers.