Won’t forget, can’t regret, what I did for love.
One of Nobuyuki Takeuchi’s strengths in his visual direction is taking something established and recontextualizing it with a completely different look or added scene. The entirety of what is widely considered his best episode, Mawaru Penguindrum‘s “Frozen World” is all about this, and there’s little doubt that his opening scene in Sarazanmai will be fleshed out later in the series. His first stint as an episode director in Sarazanmai — he’s already Chief Director of the entire series — sets about giving further context to the developing relationships between the boys of Sarazanmai‘s main trio: Kazuki Yasaka, Toi Kuji, and Enta Jinai.
Since they accidentally destroyed the kappa statue together in the first episode, Kazuki and Toi have been thrust into a variety of absurd situations that should (and have to some extent) pit them against each other. Yet as they open up to each other outside of the “leakage” scenes when connected as kappa, they develop a shared understanding of each other. Toi respects that Kazuki is willing to go to such great and illegal lengths for Haruka, because he’s willing to do the same for his older brother Chikai.
In this episode, we discover why Toi is willing to do this via a leakage scene that is given particular weight and gravity due to music and color choices that frame the serious admission that Toi killed a man when Toi was a child.
Even before this reveal, Kazuki knows that Toi is willing to break the rules of law to get what he wants, and trusts Toi with his own insane plans — this week it’s a plot to momentarily kidnap the real Sara Azuma so Kazuki can take her place, covering up his lies that he is Sara for Haruka. They don’t have the same childhood weight to their friendship that Enta and Kazuki have, making it easier for Kazuki to open up to Toi. In fact, Enta’s crush on Kazuki and his insistence that things return to the status quo as the “Golden Duo” of their soccer club is actively pushing Kazuki away because Kazuki is not the person that Enta wants him to be. That person doesn’t actually exist.
With Toi, Kazuki not only doesn’t have to hide his crossdressing, but can also be completely upfront and honest about his increasingly illegal plans while acting as Sara. This leaves Enta not only in a fragile emotional state regarding Kazuki’s lack of reciprocation, but also precipitates extreme jealousy of Toi and his growing closeness to Kazuki.
This week, Toi and Enta are given another one-on-one scene that serves as a follow-up to Toi discovering a beaten-up Enta last week. In last week’s conversation, Enta inadvertently blames Toi’s arrival, saying that Kazuki quit on the day that Toi joined their class. When Enta says that he wants the dishes of hope to make Kazuki play soccer again, Toi scoffs at him.
Although Toi shows no signs of letting Kazuki have the dishes, he has backed off in the past when Kazuki has talked about why Kazuki needs them. With Enta, Toi offers less leeway, despite offering a sympathetic ear and, in this episode, appearing to be emotionally affected by Enta’s words. Yet, what Enta is willing to do for love isn’t the same as what Toi is willing to do, or Kazuki. There’s still a fundamental difference between Enta and Toi that separates them completely, reinforced visually throughout their confrontation in this episode. In the scene above, only Enta’s shadow stays separate from the entire block of shadow that contains Toi.
As they walk into the abandoned lot, Enta hops over the traffic cones immediately, while Toi pauses before stepping over. It’s a subtle difference that’s given specific visual attention from Takeuchi and crew.
In past episodes, Enta has been shown as a small voice of reason, chiding Kazuki for breaking the law when he stole Nyantaro, and acting astonished at what he thinks is Toi’s brazen disregard for the rules. Last week, we saw the lengths that Enta was willing to go for his crush on Kazuki, which broke all kinds of personal boundaries. Of the two, Enta is far more chaotic and his emotions carry him easily over thresholds that he crosses without care, all while looking down on others for breaking different rules.
This actually makes Enta the most volatile of the group since he lacks a certain consideration that both Toi and Kazuki have been shown to possess, even in an episode where Toi admits that he shot someone as a child and Kazuki lays out a plan to briefly kidnap Sara Azuma. There are additional visual nods tying Enta and Toi together while also separating them by showing similarities between Toi’s childhood apartment and Enta’s current living room. Soccer is a common denominator, and they are even shown to have liked the same player. In another timeline, one where he didn’t have to leave due to killing someone, Toi may have been on the same soccer team with Enta.
After Toi’s reveal and similarities to the soba zombie — he wants to be closer to his brother but his brother is actively pushing him away so he can lead a somewhat normal life — he gets into another dust-up with Enta, reinforcing the divide between the two of them. Enta is still willing to draw very specific lines of what he believes to be “right” or “wrong.”
This is the lead up to Kazuki offering Toi his dish of hope and admitting that he actually hates Haruka.
The visual framing is similar to the way the series captured Enta’s offering of his own dish of hope, complete with the new miçanga, to Kazuki last week. This time, instead of points of light that separate Kazuki and Enta, Kazuki and Toi are united by a line of light behind them. While Enta’s offering was more selfish than anything else — to return his relationship with Kazuki back to what he considers normal, genuine crush or no — Kazuki’s seems to be more selfless.
In that moment, Kazuki simply regards Toi’s desires as more important than his own.
Love has already been pitted against desire in the language of Reo and Mabu during their desire extractions. Yet Kazuki offering up his dish of hope and admitting that his feelings for Haruka are much more complex than we initially thought inspires another train of thought worth following.
What happens if Reo and Mabu determine that one of their victims has love and not desire?