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X episode 18: Newborn

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This episode puts the focus on Yuzuriha as she is confronted by quite a few of the Dragons of Earth. Her first run in is fairly harmless as she has a meeting with Kusanagi. It's a fairly cute scene as the two chat over ice cream. Unfortunately, it is interrupted when one of the other dragons attacks the city and Yuzuriha has to rush out to stop it.

Said dragon is Satsuki and, rather than fight Yuzuriha, she wishes to hold palaver over the value of a human life. Specifically, she asks why killing humans is wrong when Yuzuriha tries to reason with her. For some reason, Yuzuriha can't come up with an answer for why killing humans is wrong. Satsuki further hammers in the point going on a tirade about the evils of man. It's all stuff you've heard a thousand times before so it isn't really all that deep or profound and the fact that Yuzuriha is unable to counter is just bizarre.

After that debate is "settled", Satsuki goes for the kill but is interrupted by Inuki, who sacrifices himself to save Yuzuriha. It's noble and sad, but Inuki's a spirit companion. I'm pretty sure you can't kill a spirit with tentacles made from television cables. In this world, I guess you can, because her connection is severed.

You do feel for Yuzuriha and her grieving is a pretty poignant scene. Though it does lead to some more wallbanging dialogue as Kusanagi explains that killing is wrong because people would be sad. Satsuki explains that biological and moral aversion to killing is inadequate, but grief is. I really don't understand the logic here and it comes off as more than a little stupid.

As if Yuzuriha's day wasn't bad enough, she is later confronted by Fuma, who challenges her will to live after the death of her spirit companion. She puts up the vaguest semblance of a fight, but she fares about as well as everyone else has. He does seem to honor his word to respect her wish as once she finds something to live for, he backs off. It's partially implied that he relented due to Kusanagi, who was waiting nearby to attack Fuma, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Why would Fuma find Kusanagi a threat? He's single-handedly dominated everyone he's gone up against, even when they worked in groups. Furthermore, why didn't Kusanagi jump in before Yuzuriha was on the verge of death? Yeah, she was pretty beat up, but she was still alive and you'd fare better against Fuma if you ganged up on him in a 2 on 1 fight.

It's moot as he leaves. He does exchange a brief dialogue with Kusanagi, thinking that Kusanagi has defected. Oddly enough, Kusanagi doesn't see that as the case and simply didn't like the scenario that had come up. It's going to be interesting to see how they interact in the future.

Oh, and in true "Old Yeller" fashion, Yuzuriha gets a new spirit companion. It's another wolf and she names it Inuki in honor of his predecessor.

This episode bugged me on several levels. The messages it espouses are eyebrow raising at best, the dialogue is sub-par, and really it doesn't feel like anything was accomplished. I feel like this episode was supposed to be some sort of trial for Yuzuriha, but it doesn't seem like she's changed much despite everything that's happened. The scenario wasn't well constructed and the results end up falling flat. Little has changed and when we're starting to get close to the end of the series, that's something that you can't really let slide the same way you could in the earlier episodes.