The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window ?
Community score: 4.3
If I listen to the sarcastic, cynical part of myself, I could see this as one of those series where everything could have been easily solved by one specific action: Sensei and Mikado's mom using birth control. Had Mikado not been born, most of the events he's involved in wouldn't have come to pass. But maybe they would have happened no matter what – after all, the theme of this episode, if there is one, is that some people are just too awful to be saved, and nothing says that someone else wouldn't have risen up in Sensei's place to torment people or that Erika's dad wouldn't have found another way to exploit her powers. If nothing else, this is a series that shows that each small event cascades into another until we arrive at the point where drastic action is needed, and Hiyakawa's childhood torture, Erika's exploitation, and the sad state of Sensei's powers might not have been so easily circumvented.
Hiyakawa's torment, trapped in the padded room in the basement of his mother's cult, is perhaps the most important factor in all of this. His escape was merely on the surface; Hanzawa physically rescued him, but his upbringing left Hiyakawa constantly searching for someone who could support and love him, which eventually brought him to Mikado. It's not that Hiyakawa couldn't have survived on his own, but more that he didn't want to, or even think that he could. After all, his entire childhood was spent under close watch, essentially programming him to think that he needs someone to support him in his spiritual work. I'm not talking about a healthy relationship, but rather one where he's entirely dependent upon the other person, even if he wouldn't frame it in that way. It's similar to how Sensei saw his relationship with his wife – they weren't partners but rather she was his sole support, allowing him to move comfortably and freely through the world. That's what Hiyakawa seemed to be looking for in Mikado and how he consistently treated him until their falling out a few episodes ago – and why Mikado choosing the bystander over him hurt so very much. Sensei and Hiyakawa aren't so much two sides of the same coin as two people reacting to their circumstances in similar ways.
That's what makes Erika and Sakaki's relationship so interesting when compared to Mikado's with Hiyakawa. This week Erika does the same thing to Sakaki that Hiyakawa did to Mikado in the early episodes of the series, but where Hiyakawa made Mikado experience pleasure, Sakaki feels pain. This could be read in a couple of different ways: Sakaki and Erika may not be romantic soulmates like Hiyakawa hopes/believes he and Mikado are, or it could simply be the difference in their types of power – Erika controls death and curses, so of course her magic would be more painful. But regardless of the feeling it produces, Sakaki is okay with Erika touching his core in a way that Mikado never was with Hiyakawa because they already have a strong relationship. Sakaki is Erika's protector, and he will do anything that he has to in order to fulfill that role. As we saw last week with the symbolic turning on of the windshield wipers as Erika began to cry, Sakaki wants to spare her pain. When they stumble upon the gruesome shade of her father, Sakaki refuses to let Erika put it to rest; it's his duty to save her, even from her terrible father. (And I think we can all appreciate him wanting to punch the man in the face.) His words to her, that her dad had been dead for a long time, aren't a statement about his physical state, but rather that Mr. Hiura had relinquished his role as father when he sold his daughter. As a dad, he's been dead for years.
That's not quite the same as what Sensei and Mikado face now. Sensei tried to do the right thing for his son but was warped by the results. Mikado's father has been gone for years, but it wasn't until he began to regret not killing his child that he was lost in the same way Erika's dad was. But unlike Erika, Mikado is an adult, and that means that he needs to save himself from his monster. It doesn't have to be without help, as we see from Mukae taking on the responsibility of a regressed Hiyakawa. That will help Mikado, too, and it fits with Mukae's character – remember, he's the one who offered to be the parent Erika needed because her own were doing such a garbage job of it. But ultimately some monsters must be faced alone, and that may be what's about to happen with Mikado and Sensei. And now that Mikado's finally embracing his own power in a way that his father never could, he may have the strength to break Sensei's and Hiyakawa's destructive cycles before they replicate in another sad soul.
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