Summertime Rendering - 05: Maelstrom

Title:Summertime Rendering
Episode:05: Maelstrom
The woman with glasses kills Mio's Shadow. She is Nagumo Ryuunosuke, apparently a novelist. She says she came to save Shin, and knows his name. She says a Shadow is coming, but it turns out to be Ushio with her cardboard mask. Nagumo has a trick to tell humans and Shadows apart: if you step on a person's (literal) shadow, it may move by itself to avoid your foot. She also says her sister has hypothesized that Shadows "scan humans with light and absorb their information". They survive by 'eating' human data, and must directly consume the person to get it. Nagumo senses "some sort of will controlling them, as if they're all working towards one singular goal". Shin races up the steps to the shrine, where he finds a slaughter in progress. A dark, multi-limbed Shadow, 'the Parent' is leading many lesser ones as they kill humans and pile their bodies up. "The hour of nine approaches" it says. it generates a shotgun of it's own and wounds Nagumo. It remarks that it was 'dangerous' that she made it as far as she did. Shadow Shin says Ushio is one of them, but she insists she isn't. The Parent says that Shin's right eye is the one 'Mother' lost long ago. It wonders how that could have happened and muses that it would allow the control of time itself. "No matter how many times the hero dies, they can always restart from a Save Point" it says. "So, the only way for the Demon King to win is to cut the game console's power. Don't you agree? Then what would happen if the 2D Demon King became aware of the 3D concept of 'electrical power? I would ask of you this favor, Shinpei. Observe the moment when I cut the power'" All the lesser Shadows combine with the Parent. A red light in the sky becomes a one-eyed girl descending to Earth. "What lies ahead is nothingness" the Parent says. A glowing blue fluid flows downhill, vaporizing everyone and everything it touches. "Seems by devouring a thousand humans she has recovered" remarks a doctor at the Hishigata clinic (a shadow sits in a wheelchair beside him). Nagumo describes the descending red woman as 'Haine'. She agonizes over her percieved failure. So does Shin, who then gets an idea: he begs Nagumo to kill him so he can reset yet again. The Parent tries to stop her but Ushio distracts it. Nagumo blows Shin's head off. In 'objective mode' he makes eye contact with the red girl, which is creepy, then encounters Ushio, who warns him that there's a limit to this power of resetting. He finds himself walking from the ferry with Mio back on July 22. Later, he does some thinking and realizes that the reset point is slowly moving forward in time, so he won't have unlimited opportunities to try again. He has three days to find a solution, and vows to do so. Ushio likewise finds herself on the seashore in her swimsuit.
Basically, this episode shows us what will happen if Shin doesn't stop the Shadows. It took me more than a full page of paper to take notes on this one episode (and I write very small!). The mentions of 'data' and comparisons to a video game gave this show a sci-fi angle whereas perviously it had seemed supernatural to me (but is there any sci-fi explanation for the red girl?). Surely the red girl is 'Mother'.

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