The Day I Became a God
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 8 of
The Day I Became a God ?
After the last episode was largely spent spinning wheels, you can imagine the chill that ran down my spine when I saw that this episode is titled “The Day of the Trip to the Beach.” Like, really guys? Seven episodes of largely dicking around and barely teasing out your story, and you're going to have a beach episode? Say it ain't so. Thankfully, this week's episode wound up being the farthest thing from a pointless, time-wasting excuse to show the characters in swimsuits, as we immediately learn more about Hina than I ever expected.
First off, it turns out I got it wrong last week – Hina isn't the mysterious professor's daughter, she's his granddaughter, who he raised and rehabilitated from a degenerative sickness after her mother passed away and the father packed his bags and left to start a new family. We also learn that Yota's parents worked with the professor at some point – I'm sure there's more to that story, but today is Hina Day so it'll have to wait – and he left instructions for them to take care of the girl should he pass away. Apparently that plan was to dress the kid up like a JRPG nun and let her wander around the countryside until they happened upon her, which is...let's call it a questionable adoption apparatus. Yota finally learns all this and asks Hina about what she wants to do with herself. For what it's worth, the God Gremlin is pretty chill; whether that's because she's convinced of the oncoming apocalypse or just doesn't care about her unusual familial circumstances isn't clear, but when the pair ultimately go to hunt down her long-lost father, it's seemingly more for Yota's sake than hers.
What follows is a deeply awkward reunion that only lightens up for a brief The Sixth Sense gag before returning to being seriously uncomfortable to sit through. That's not a bad thing, honestly – unlike episode 5's tepid tragedy, the portrait of Hina's life and family we're shown is a lot more engaging and complicated, but it's still rough to watch her father make excuses and invoke emotional ultimatums for why he abandoned his dying daughter. To its credit the show doesn't seem sympathetic towards him, but it's careful to not portray the man as the kind of cartoonish monster other Bad Anime Parents tend to be. Rather he's something a lot harder to stomach – a flawed human who crumpled under the pressure and pain of loss, fled from somebody who truly needed him, and convinced himself to move on from it. That's perhaps made easier by Hina's apparent indifference towards it all – again I can't say if that's because she thinks the world will end, or if she just doesn't care about a man she never really met whose only connection to her is his blood. Personally I kind of hope it's the latter – fiction likes to portray parent-child relationships as a kind of mystical, innate attachment that transcends actually knowing or spending time with each other, and having an orphaned kid care more about the family that raised her or love her now is really refreshing.
Though we don't seem to be totally done with this plotline. No sooner have Hina and Yota made their awkward exit than Suzuki shows up at Papa Sato's door. We still don't know exactly what he's searching for, but I can hazard a guess that it involves whatever mysterious occurrence led Hina to “become a God” and that whole thing about quantifying love. For now though, I feel satisfied with the strange, but no less striking story we got this week. For as up and down as this show has been and likely will continue being, I can say I've never seen a conflict quite like this one in anime before, and that's all I can really ask.
The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation.
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