What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (SukaSuka) Episode 9
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 9 of
What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? ?
Dang it, SukaSuka, you're making a liar out of me. I've been saying for a while that Willem's rescue mission must surely be right around the corner, but once again we get an episode set at the fairy warehouse. Things start off with a heart-to-heart between Chtholly and Ithea, where Ithea reveals a big personal secret in order to encourage Chtholly. The pep talk works, and Chtholly commits to living in the moment even as her memories continue to fade. A holiday party ends up acting as a formal send-off for the rescue team, and Willem, Nephren, and Chtholly finally depart.
With all but the final minutes of this episode spent on further buildup to the rescue mission, it's starting to feel like the series is chasing its own tail. Most of what happens mirrors previous events to one extent or another: Chtholly tries to enjoy the time she has left, Willem frets over both her and the mission, and everyone else takes a back seat to the main characters' troubles. The details may vary, but SukaSuka has definitely covered all of this territory already. Even a strong presentation can't hide the narrative redundancies, and I can't help but think that SukaSuka could have made better use of its time.
That's a shame, since this episode is very nicely presented. Chtholly gets the lion's share of screen time, and this is easily one of the best articulations of her perspective that we've gotten thus far. There's a clear emotional conflict between her desire to savor the present and her certainty that the memories she makes will eventually disappear. The happier moments in this episode have a bittersweet quality to them, and Chtholly's occasional memory lapses act as strong reminders of her predicament. Compared to the overbearing visions of Elq's memories, the scenes of Chtholly struggling to remember her friends' names are a subtler and more effective way of foreshadowing future tragedies.
She may be playing a supporting role, but Ithea also makes a positive impression in this episode. The conversation between her and Chtholly is arguably the first time that Ithea has truly broken out of the “obnoxious pain in the ass” mold. Her backstory of waking up without memories and trying to rebuild herself by reading a diary is compelling, and it sets up an interesting contrast with Chtholly's approach to her own disintegration. In a roundabout way, this revelation even provides some justification for Ithea's exaggerated personality. If we accept that she's trying to imitate the personality of her lost self, then it makes a certain amount of sense that everything she does feels like an exaggerated performance. I'm not sure if this is intentional on the show's part, but I'll take anything that makes Ithea seem less obnoxious.
Ultimately, this episode is somewhat troublesome when it comes to settling on a firm rating. On one hand, it boasts some reasonably strong character development and does a nice job of bringing Chtholly's troubles into focus. Unfortunately, most of this ground was already covered last week, which means that SukaSuka is once again dragging its feet when it comes to advancing the plot. It's an effective episode when viewed in isolation, but it's a questionable use of time when placed into a larger context. I'm inclined to go easy on it since it's a cut above most of the series in the writing department, but your mileage will probably vary. Think of it as a second, superior take on last week's efforts.
What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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