This was totally worth marathoning six episodes.
If you’d notice, my last post of Tasogare Otome was for episode four, and I thought it was high-time I caught up with it earlier today (especially since I missed out on a lot of awesome things that happened). I’ll talk about that later, but now, I should talk about episode ten, which couldn’t have been executed any better.
I say this because essentially, this episode is a flashback episode, the likes of which are usually played out through a character’s memories. This episode is kinda like that, but instead, things are seen through another character’s (Teiichi’s) viewpoint, simultaneously with us, the viewers. Doing that made the reveal of Yuuko’s past and the real truth underneath the mysteries more “impactful”, in my opinion.
In the episode we have multiple nods to some of the more major mysteries of Seikyou Academy that have been mentioned, which, when combined together explain the gist of Yuuko’s demise. I’ll start with the “rock of curses”, later known to be a memorial for victims of an epidemic that struck the village sixty or so years ago (around the same time Yuuko would’ve lived). The episode confirmed that it was in fact legitimate to its use, and that there really was a plague that claimed multiple lives.
However, Teiichi’s earlier deduction about Yuuko contracting the plague herself was debunked. Which introduces the “spirited away” mystery. If you’d recall how it was explained a few episodes back, the mystery involves a girl that was taken by the gods, who were angered by the construction of Seikyou Academy on grounds where a shrine used to be. In actuality, the story wasn’t that far-off to what really happened. The desperation of the village elders had lead them to believe that the plague was really brought about by the anger of the gods, and in their panicked state, came up with the idea that they need a sacrifice to appease the spirits.
Enter the “Red Woman” (Akahito-san) mystery. This was the most distorted mystery among the ones mentioned, in terms of factuality. In episode six, it was explained that the “Red Woman” was like an urban myth within Seikyou Academy. An entity (not necessarily a ghost) that kills students who stay behind after the final bell by draining the victim’s blood, thus the name “Red” Woman. But, this episode proves that that version of the “Red Woman” was a misinterpretation. The Red Woman was like an envoy of the spirits for the miners in the village. “Red” was taken from the color of copper (which I’d assume is what the miners are mining”). Being an envoy, the elders devised a ploy wherein instead of choosing a sacrifice themselves, they chose a Red Woman, who would then choose a sacrifice for them (which was, incredibly dubious).
The appointed Red Woman, chose Yuuko, although inadvertently, and immediately the elders sprung into action (the whole scene was way way creepy) and literally threw her to an intact underground shrine – the same site where Teiichi first saw Yuuko’s corpse.
That pretty much sums up Yuuko’s death. In the end, by a cruel turn of fate, she became a victim of a weird circumstance. Yuuko’s final moments, her fall to despair was hard to watch. Had it not been her, it could’ve been her sister Yukariko (who, by the way, looks totally cute) or if Asa, the appointed Red Woman didn’t cough up a name in time, they could’ve just as well made due with her. If it really appeased the gods is beyond me, but it stands to reason that the plague stopped sometime afterwards.
Now the question is, how does Shadow Yuuko play into all this? It has been confirmed that she is the embodiment of Yuuko’s discarded emotions, yes, but as Kirie also pointed out, her emotions are tied to her memories. Hence, Shadow Yuuko is also Yuuko’s discarded past. She’s Yuuko’s despair, personified.
Keeping that in mind, there’s also Yuuko’s case of “amnesia”, or in this case, self-inflicted amnesia (although maybe it wasn’t on purpose). In Yuuko’s last moments, she dreaded the idea of dying, but couldn’t find it in herself to blame or hate anyone. So she instead hated (or detached from herself) the Yuuko who was capable of hatred. The Yuuko who had a reason to hate, and to feel anger, and loneliness and despair. The Yuuko she separated herself from, in turn separating her from the past that brought her these feelings. The Yuuko we all know as Shadow Yuuko.
So, what does that make Yuuko of the Old School Building? She’s a ghost. A ghost that lacks remorse, spite, grief, vengeance and anger. An amnesiac ghost that denied her death. Could the resolution then be for Yuuko to bear her death properly?
Things I missed in Tasogare Otome these past few weeks:
The Akahito-san (Red Woman) episode, which was like, my favorite mystery in the manga. C’mon how cool is Kirishima Yuuko wanting to be a Ghost Story Killer.
Some Black Rock Shooter jokes after a particular episode.
And Momoe power!! (Episode 7 I think, when Momoe was pushing down the door)