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It was already clear that this series was building up to something, but it blew right past where I expected it to stop. This episode basically starts off with the idea of a city devoted to testing radical ideas, and it ends with something almost supernatural. It makes me feel excited to find out how Zen ends up reacting to it. He even admits in the final scene that his base assumption has already been overturned, so I like the idea of seeing him adjust to a new paradigm.
The overall plan with Shiniki is actually an interesting one. Policy is easy to propose but difficult to project, so the idea of a zone used for testing them out isn’t the craziest thing in the world. Granted, the logistical issue of waiting for years to see an effect poses a bit of a problem, but it’s intriguing in theory.
I think the weirdest part of the episode for me was the level of support for Inaba’s idea of speeding up the approval of drugs for clinical use. Maybe it’s just because I’m somewhat invested in this area, but I think that topic should be much more debatable than it’s portrayed to be. To be fair, only one character seems to truly support it, but it’s not like Zen is saying anything to the contrary. Unapproved supplements can be very dangerous, after all.
The revelation that all of the women we’ve seen so far are the same person is a cool one. It’s one that I already partially suspected, and the reveal itself is a great way to pull her forward as the main antagonist.
The main twist for the episode was a surprising one. I really liked how we find out about the somewhat legitimate nature of Fumio and Inaba’s deaths. The right to die is also an intriguing topic to focus on. From what I’ve seen, the evidence suggests that suicide is something that happens in a whirl of emotions, which means that it would seem to be heavily reliant on timing. The right to death is something that’s important for the terminally ill, but the implications of a broader policy can leave plenty of room for discussion. I’ll be curious to see where the series takes it.
This is also a minor thing to finish things off, but I liked how Ai shifts between her various disguises as Zen is watching her. I honestly hope that this series doesn’t go too heavily into the supernatural to justify her premise. After all, the episode makes a point to say that the pills Zen found were only useful for inducing a peaceful death. I think it’s much more interesting if Ai successfully convinces people like Fumio or Inaba to die, rather than using a drug to force them to do it.