The Day I Became a God
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 10 of
The Day I Became a God ?
I swear, The Day I Became a God is the most whiplash-inducing series I've ever reviewed. And I'm covering Wandering Witch this season! Yet somehow this series manages to trip from one end of the goofy-vs-serious spectrum to the other and back again in mere seconds. It's honestly kind of impressive, even if it makes covering just a single episode awkward as all get-out for me.
The first 15-odd minutes of “Days that Pass By” is at least partially at odds with itself. You'd think it would deal with the immediate fallout from Hina's abduction, but oddly enough that largely gets glossed over. We see Yota and everyone else handing out missing person posters, even doing TV interviews looking for her, but as the search turns up nothing everyone is pushed by the passage of time to continue with their daily lives. It's honestly a pretty effective way to handle this part of the story – Yota isn't a super spy or a wonder kid who can just believe in himself hard enough to stop what happened, and even in the face of tragedy the world doesn't stop. It's not lingered on, but as months pass and Yota quietly tries to keep the search alive, there's a feeling he's losing himself to entropy, powerless to reverse what's happening. He wants to reclaim his lost family member, but with no clue or influence to do so, he's left clambering in the dark hoping for a miracle that will probably never come. And in all of that he's still got to study, prepare for entrance exams, and attend to the parts of his life that refuse to remain in stasis.
Then in the middle of all that Suzuki shows up and hits on Yota really obviously. Okay he's actually trying to finagle his way into Yota's social group to drop subtle hints that he knows about Hina, all in an attempt to arrange a way for the pair to reunite, but you don't hack your number into a guy's phone if you're not also trying to date him at least a little. Except that Yota is a total dipstick who couldn't recognize foreshadowing if it kicked him in the dick, so Suzuki spends six months playing kohai to their friend group before getting sick of the whole endeavor and spelling it out for our moron lead. This is actually pretty funny, but god does it not mix well with the somber atmosphere of the emotional narrative surrounding it. It's yet another example of the unique but not always graceful ways this series has tried to juggle different tones, and while it ultimately serves its purpose I once again have to wonder if there wasn't a better way to handle it.
And then...well, we meet Hina again.
Look, there's a lot that can be said about how anime in general and Maeda in particular tends to use disabled or traumatized characters – usually women or young girls – to mash on the sadness buttons for both their audience and male leads. It's a trend that's not unique to Maeda, certainly, but it's a well he's gone back to a few more times than I'd like. Even outside of his oeuvre, there's just a whole lot of baggage attached to the portrayal of physically or mentally disabled people as devices for able-bodied, neurotypical characters' development. So I cannot blame anyone who sees Hina, non-verbal and unresponsive in a hospital bed, and rolls their eyes out of their head at seeing something like this again. I get it, really, and I'm certainly not saying folks are wrong or insensitive for being exhausted with where this episode goes.
But at the same time, I've been there. Not in this exact situation, and certainly not due to the sci-fi circumstances of the show's plot, but I've experienced that alienating, terrifying moment when you realize a loved one doesn't recognize you, and is even afraid to be in the room with you. It's a sickening experience with no real resolution, and the entire time Yota was in that room, slowly, almost reluctantly realizing what's happened to Hina, it was like being punched in the throat. I frankly don't want to get too personal in these reviews, because this is no place for a confessional, but when something hits that hard and close to home it's difficult to separate that reaction from a more objective analysis. At least for now I can't even really decide how I feel about this whole sequence, and I imagine the remaining two episodes and how they approach it will be critical in deciding that. For now though, all I can say is that if nothing else, this episode's final minutes are going to stick with me for a very long time.
The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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