Now with the power of looping at her disposal, Satoko does everything she can to change Rika’s mind about St Lucia’s. But Rika refuses to give in, and with each refusal, Satoko merely resets the loop and starts again. The mysterious spirit tells Satoko of Rika’s own 1983 looping and to understand her friend better, Satoko uses fragment pieces to experience RIka’s one hundred years of looping. But rather than gaining a better understanding of her friend’s wish, it only strengthens her resolve to force Rika to stay in Hinamizawa. But the continuous loops by the two girls aren’t only impacting themselves, as those closest to them begin to dream of and see the horrors their ‘other selves’ committed in other loops.
To be honest, when I first finished these episodes, I was feeling quite disappointed. With the secret behind Satoko’s looping and reasoning revealed, I was pumped for the confrontation between her and Rika. But no. Instead we go through through even more scenes of Satoko looping and arguing with Rika. By the end of episode 23, I didn’t really feel like anything had been added to the story as everything we needed to know was clearly explained in episode 21. We don’t need to go over it again and again, and we certainly don’t need to see time wasting montages of characters being killed. All I want is to see the showdown between Satoko and Rika in the present (?) 1983!
Feeling frustrated, I did do a bit of digging and found a Reddit post where it appears the show has been extended for another 6 episodes (and maybe more). I couldn’t find much more information / official announcements. To be honest, I’m not surprised at extra episodes being potentially announced, I was actually thinking they’d need a season 2 as with the way it’s going I would be very surprised if there’s any sort of satisfying resolution. I’m a bit on the fence of the show being extended as I was really looking forward to a tense, tightly paced conclusion and the way it’s going it just seems way too drawn out. But who knows, there could be a major payoff to all the build up and important info dropped!
Speaking of, despite my frustrations at the story pacing, we did learn two very important pieces of information in these episodes. The first is that while continually looping keeps you existing it doesn’t make you mentally ‘invincible’ (which is more a confirmation than ‘new’ info) and the second is that those around you are impacted by the looping (for example in episode one Keiichi has a nightmare of killing Rena with a baseball bat). I’ve talked a lot about the mental strain one has to undergo looping, and in particular with Rika not only seeing her friends being killed again and again but being murdered by those closest to her.
Now we have Satoko looping and I wonder how much her mental stability will spiral. Not just from experiencing her friend’s ‘betrayal’ over and over but also having to continually kill herself to reset the loop. We already saw her cracking in episode 16 when she doesn’t even give Rika a chance but rather eviscerates her while she’s sleeping. These loops, along with Satoko’s mentality, have evolved not just to convince Rika to stay by her side but as a cruel way to punish and torture her for the perceived betrayal. That’s why Satoko asked Eua to ensure Rika could retain her memories through the loops. Rika cannot remember who murders her, just the fear and pain of her murder. Satoko essentially tries to traps her in a confusing and terrifying existence until she ‘breaks’.
Perhaps one of the most important events that happened in episode 23 was Teppei attempting to reconcile with Satoko. Having seen his various ‘futures’ in previous loops, he literally has the fear of god put into him and decides to clean himself up and become a decent person. When ‘Eua’ explains non-loopers retaining memories or being impacted by loops, she talks about how Rika called this a ‘miracle’ and almost mocks her for it. But honestly, if you don’t see Teppei trying to turn over a new leaf as a miracle, I don’t know what else is.
At the start of the season Gou was listed as having 24 episodes, and if it really does only have one episode left, I would be very surprised if the show manages to wrap up the story in time. But as linked above, we may be getting extra episodes. While I am enjoying the show, I can’t say that having additional episodes really makes me happy. It feels like the show has dragged itself out to seemingly justify these potential episodes, and if these episodes don’t happen, well we’re going to be stuck with a rushed ending. Of course, this is all just musing and we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any official announcements over the coming week.
Also my apologies for another two-in-one review. My mental health did a complete nose dive over the last week and I had to take some time to recuperate.