The chutzpah of the Usuba family is astounding, although knowing that they’ve been told they’re the country’s failsafe against rogue Gifteds might explain why, at least in part. While we don’t know everything yet – that should come next week when Grandpa Usuba recounts the tale of Sumi, Miyo’s mother – there’s been enough said that we can grasp one very salient point: the Usubas knew all along where Miyo was, and what was being done to her. And they didn’t lift a finger to get her out of that situation. Kiyoka may not always have been Prince Charming, but no one can say that he hasn’t done his best for Miyo, something which he continues to try to do this week. When Arata and Grandpa dare to mention that Miyo was kidnapped and injured by the Saimori family, they’re glossing over one very important fact and question: their statement implies that they were fully aware of the kidnapping and its aftermath. How dare they blame Kiyoka when they are just as much at fault, if not more so? After all, Kiyoka didn’t know how Miyo was living before she came to his house. The Usubas apparently did.
Considering all that, it becomes even more horrifying that they now believe they’re entitled to her and her powers. Someone else did the hard work of saving her life, so now they feel like they can step in and snatch her up. There may well be some warm familial feelings involved – Arata seems to feel something for or about her – but they’re still clearly not fighting fair. They don’t say that they want Miyo; they say that they want her dream-sight, and they frame it as Kiyoka not being fit to take care of her. Seriously? I’d advise them to look in the mirror on that one.
Viewer-rage aside, this is a very good episode for Kiyoka’s emotional trajectory. We see him go through a variety of emotions that he hasn’t been able to fully express before; when he first takes Miyo to the Usuba house, he’s worried about her; throughout the rest of the story, he expresses anger, depression, calculation, and shock, to say nothing of determination to keep her with him. He’s too angry to see that what Arata is doing is counting on Miyo being uncomfortable with the idea of two (or three) men fighting over her, leading to their duel in the first place. Miyo is so aghast at what’s happening that she retreats inside herself, reverting to her belief that she has no right to take up space in the world. That allows the duel to come about. Arata uses that to his advantage, not only winning the fight but presenting Miyo with a fait accompli of Kiyoka being removed from the Usuba barrier and, he presumably hopes, her life.
The worst part of this episode is when Arata walks into Miyo’s room and sees her just sitting there like a lifeless doll. He may not recognize what’s going on, but we can see that all of the progress that she’s made has fallen away like autumn leaves, and now only the bare branches remain. Kiyoka has Hazuki force him to recognize his situation, but Miyo is left with only the voices in her head, which always tell her that she’s not good enough.
Miyo is a person. Only the Kudo siblings and Yurie seem to recognize that. Until the Usuba family can be made to see it as well, the battles waged quietly inside her heart may be fiercer than anything the Grotesqueries can come up with.
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