Yuki Yuna is a Hero Season 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Yuki Yuna is A Hero Season 2 ?
The big mystery lingering at the end of last season was what Yuna's near-fainting spell in the series' final scene meant. Yuna taking far longer than the others to recover, being catatonic for a lengthy enough period of time for Mimori to be off her crutches after regaining use of her legs, was largely just accepted as the consequence of her dangerous actions during the climax. Apparently, that should have been regarded with more suspicion, as this episode reveals why she probably fainted during the play. It also fills in the missing context from last episode about the mysterious appearance by the Taisha member. This all results in another potent episode whose impact isn't lightened in the slightest by the bursts of frivolity early on.
In fact, that early frivolity is a necessary counterpoint to the heavier content later on, even if the series' wit isn't quite as sharp this week. (The one comic highlight actually comes later, in the sound effects and subtitles accompanying Mimori's hand signal exchanges with her fairy while breaking into Yuna's room.) Sonoko apparently wasn't the only one picking up on Yuna's odd behavior, as Karin noticed enough to approach her about it and Mimori noticed by studying video of Yuna's behavior. Ultimately, the truth comes out partly from Sonoko revealing what she found out from the Taisha/Amnesty but mostly from reading the journal Mimori found in Yuna's room, which she was keeping at the direction of the Taisha.
That truth is far grimmer than anything we were led to believe up until that point. Yuna was apparently catatonic because her astral form was drifting in the black hole space where she later found Mimori. Her body is imperfect because it was entirely reconstructed by the Shinjyu, since the original was so badly damaged. The fiery symbol, which we now know is a Curse of God, has also spread to cover her entire front side, and she's not expected to last until spring as a result. In other words, she's effectively a terminal patient keeping her condition a secret, only in this case she doesn't dare confide in anyone for fear of the curse spreading. Her secrecy leaves Karin feeling rejected, giving her some of the most emotional scenes she's had to date, but even that is nothing compared to what Yuna is dealing with.
All of this verges on tragedy porn, but the script avoids pushing things too far. This isn't tragedy just for the sake of tragedy but rather tragedy as a result of a carefully-written storyline with logical consequences and complications. Whereas the fate of the magical girls in Madoka Magica was portrayed more as cruel manipulation on the part of Kyubey, this series has always portrayed the suffering of the Heroes more as the price for being heroic. Whether or not that price is worthwhile is an underlying theme of the whole franchise, but it's entirely secondary to the more standard magical girl themes of the strength of friendship. It's just not the standard sugary treatment that such ideas normally get.
Assuming that the recap episode doesn't count as one of the series' twelve, there's two more episodes left for the girls to find a way out of this predicament. I have confidence that the script won't ultimately resort to a Madoka-like solution, though I'm at a loss right now for how that can be avoided, and the definite visual slips in the artistic quality control can be concerning. The point from the first series about Yuna showing the highest aptitude of any Hero candidate has been underplayed to this point, so perhaps that will factor into the conclusion? I'm also intrigued by the final line of the next episode preview: “Yuki Yuna will get married.”
Yuki Yuna is a Hero season 2 is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.
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