The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
Episode 8

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 8 of
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window ?

If last week's episode was about the fact that you can't save anyone, this week's may be about how someone can be saved. The general consensus is that the person in question needs to have someplace to come back to. That's why Hanzawa is at least half-convinced that Hiyakawa can't be saved – he doesn't believe that he has a place he'd want to come back to. That's not a difficult assumption to make, really; as the sole survivor of his cult (or rather, the cult his mother formed around him), Hiyakawa not only had an…unconventional upbringing, but also now has no one left who he could reasonably call family. That's not quite how Hiyakawa himself sees it, though – when Mikado puts the question to him, Hiyakawa very quickly answers that Mikado is his point of return, an answer that Mikado might reasonably have expected given Hiyakawa's answer to the question of whether or not they were boyfriends last week.

But the sheer rapidity with which Hiyakawa answered both times makes his feelings a little suspect. The world of this story isn't necessarily one where true love is an instant bolt from the blue; even Mikado's dad took a little while to really come around to his mother, and he truly did find her to be the one person he could come home to. But Hiyakawa's quick certainty about Mikado may indicate that he's not even aware of what it means to have that person or place that makes returning feel like coming home. It interestingly mirrors a trend in yuri manga, where one character asks the other how you know what “being in love” is and the second responds with something along the lines of “Well, you want to kiss them and stuff.” That can come with love, yes, but it's not the definition, and there's some sense that Hiyakawa is struggling through a similar conundrum. He may not understand the difference between “love” and “in love,” or even between platonic and romantic love. His assertion that Mikado is someone he loves therefore doesn't necessarily indicate that he's in love with the other man, instead meaning that he finds it comfortable to be around him. In any event, Mikado does seem to be the first person to make him feel comfortable since he lost his mother to her cult, and that alone could be enough for Hiyakawa to base his assertions on.

And it's clear that he did love his mother. When Hiyakawa and Mikado spiritually infiltrate Sensei's house – which is built on the ruins of the cult's headquarters, because where else would Sensei live – Hiyakawa wonders if his mother's necklace is still somewhere in the remains of the cellar. He pulled it off of her dead body back when he was a kid and put it away for safekeeping, a reminder of a time when she was his mother rather than his jailer, and that absolutely tells us that he mourned her loss and still misses her. He's smart enough to recognize that she ceased to be his mother as she grew more involved with the cult, but he still remembers the mother she was before that. In a non-new age sense, Hiyakawa's inner child is still waiting for her somewhere deep in his soul, and until he can truly find peace in his memories of her and what she did to him, a younger version will always be waiting for her to come home.

Perhaps that's part of what draws him to Mikado, even though when they first met he had no way of knowing about the other man's absent father. Certainly the curse Sensei cast upon himself to protect his wife and child is bouncing back to hurt him in ways he didn't necessarily expect, and that could serve as a manner of foretelling what lies in wait for Hiyakawa if he goes down a darker path. (Or Erika, if she hadn't gotten involved with Mukae, Hiyakawa, and Mikado.) Sensei is truly beginning to unravel here, with his memories flaring and fading and moments of weakness after casting a curse rebounding and making everything worse. He is no longer the master of his own thoughts, it seems, and his actions are made out of reflex rather than deliberately. That could spell bad news for everyone, although by taking Erika's dad out, unconsciously or not, he may have done her a favor, since Mr. Hiura was the one who sold her to Sensei in the first place.

Should Mikado become Hiyakawa's place to return to? Or will that just set Hiyakawa up to become another Sensei when he realizes that things can't be as perfect and safe as he wants?

Rating:

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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