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X episode 19: Inferno

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Just as the last episode focused on Yuzuriha, so too does this episode focus on Karen Kasumi. We get a glimpse into her back story via flashbacks and she is given a sort of character arc as a result of said flashbacks.

As it turns out, when her powers first manifested, her mother labelled her a demon and began verbally and physically abusing her. It's fairly eye-roll inducing if for no other reason than the fact that it was predictable and is the sort of thing you've seen a thousand times already.

For those concerned with how demographics are portrayed, Christianity does get a more positive representative in the form of a priest who takes Karen in after her mom dies. The scene between the two was nice, but all sorts of questions are raised as a result.

For one thing, we learn that Karen still harbors the mindset that no one will miss her when she's gone and goes in Aoki's place when he challenges one of the Dragons of Earth to throw down. While Karen's mother did hammer in that mentality, you'd think that the years she spent with the priest would have done something to counter that idea. If it were something that she was grappling with, maybe it would have worked better, but it was pulled off oddly, especially since all Aoki needs to do to counter it is to tell her that he'd miss her if she died. You'd think that the priest would have thought to tell her that once or twice over the years.

The setup between Aoki and Yuto was heavily reliant on coincidence. Aoki decides to file for divorce and Yuto is the one who processes his papers. It is there where the two decide to face off. I guess you could argue that Aoki knew he would be there. In any event, Karen is there too and overhears this, later deciding to take actions of her own.

I somewhat understand Aoki's logic in wanting to protect his family, but couldn't he have just told them to leave town? I'm not sure what filing for divorce accomplishes. Would the Dragons of Earth honor that? Like, if they were going to kidnap his family for leverage, would they abort that plan because the legal connection has been severed? Aoki even says that he plans to remarry his wife after all is said and done, so the connection is still there. How did he explain this to his wife? That seems like it would be a weird thing to explain. I'm kind of curious to see how that conversation went.

As said before, Karen intervenes and drugs Aoki in order to keep him out of the fight so that he can go back to his family. I like how the drug doesn't kick in until the instant that she brings it up and then knocks him out instantly. You see that fairly frequently in movies and TV, I guess it's just rule of drama. You'd think he'd feel the effects sooner, but that's more of a nitpick than anything.

This episode was OK. There are some headscratchers in terms of certain plot points, but it wasn't nearly as annoying as this episode's predecessor. With only a few episodes left, I kind of wish that things would start to kick into high gear. I kind of feel like stuff like this should have been covered several episodes ago, but with so many characters, I guess it's unavoidable. We'll see how things play out as we come closer and closer to the series' end.

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