Summertime Rendering - 12: Bloody Night

Title:Summertime Rendering
Episode:12: Bloody Night
Shin finds himself in the presence of 'Mother' and wants to find out what she did/will do at the Summer Festival so that he can prevent it from happening again. Mother's form "belongs to the person Hiruko first copied" Tokiko says. That was Haine, and Mother/Hiruko now prefers to go by that name. Haine transforms into the form of Shiori--it was her, not some ordinary Shadow, who erased Shiori. Tokiko says Haine now needs a new body. Nurse Negoro appears, steering two caskets. Tokiko says her family clinic has been feeding Haine bodies for generations--including that of her father. Tokiko says that she is prepared to be killed by Shin. One casket appears to hold Officer Miura, the other, much to the surprise of Shin, Shadow Ushio and Sou, holds Ushio's original body. Tokiko says her father (a Shadow, right?) substituted another body before what was supposed to be Ushio's cremation. Shin demands to know how 'Toki' got involved in all this. She says she was surprised when original Ushio was killed, because she hadn't expected her to team up with her own Shadow to save Shiori. Toki argues that she had no choice but to serve Haine, who coughs up some blood. Toki says that if Haine dies, so will her mother. She says her father asked Haine to change her into a Shadow in order to save her from an incurable disease, and she did. Sou is bewildered but Toki points out that they treat Shadow Ushio just like the original one. Haine erases Miura's body and acts as if she has just eaten something delicious. She's about to do the same to Ushio's body when Shin calls out to Shadow Ushio to print him another nail gun. He uses it to distract the 'Wild One' Shadows while Shadow Ushio grabs the body of original Ushio. Ushio argues that Haine has been manipulating Toki. Haine transforms Negoro into a hideous, zombie-like monster; Ushio engages her. Shin is about to shoot Haine with his nail gun when 4-arms (I think) appears and slashes it from his hands, taking off most of Shin's fingers as well. He also has Mio as a hostage. While Shin writhes in agony 4-arms promises to retrieve Ushio's body. 4-Arms almost seems to outrank Haine, who behaves like a spoiled child. Tokiko is angry because she had been promised that Mio wouldn't be hurt. 4-Arms says that promise doesn't matter since no human will survive beyond tomorrow. Tokiko realizes that she has been fooled. Sou makes a move but is shot by 4-Arms, who has generated a revolver. Meanwhile, Ryuunosuke is badly injured but Tetsu comes along; he is human. Nagumo takes over (has Ryuunosuke died?). She asks Tetsu what happened to Mio (who he had been with) and he says monsters took her. Back in the other chamber, 4-Arms shoots Tokiko. "I can't let this become reality" Shin says to himself. The handprint he got from the previous fight with Haine comes to life and plucks out his right eyeball. Haine concludes that Ushio beating Negoro is a sign of her ascendance to 'superior' status and says it would be a waste to erase her. She vows to 'reprogram her brain' instead and begins to do so. Shin's removed eyeball vanishes, and Haine observes that it is 'impossible to take away his power'. It reappears back in Shin's face as normal. 4-Arms says the eye "overlooks the flow of time from a higher dimension and observes multiple parallel worlds" and that it gives Shin "the power to make the world you observe into reality". He says that right now Shin is rendering this world. 4-Arms says this is a "truly terrifying, godly power" but that Shin hasn't mastered it. It is only accessible when Shin dies, so he and the Shadows just need to keep him alive until the end. 4-Arms then crushes Mio's head, killing her. Shin feels he has totally failed and sinks into despair. Suddenly Tetsu drops into the cavern. Nagumo appears as well, and attempts to shoot Shin but is blocked; 4-Arms kills her. But it turns out that amid the confusion Shin drank a vial of poison that he had been carrying. Shin vows to loop as many times as he must until he defeats the Shadows. Haine notices that rather than be 'reprogrammed', Ushio has only grown stronger. "She's turning the corrosion back on me!" Haine shouts; "Are you the egg?". She orders 4-Arms to kill Ushio and even herself if necessary. But Ushio vanishes. "He took her along" Haine says, i.e, when Shin dies he somehow takes Ushio with him. Inbetween loops Shin and Ushio vow to win at any cost. The 5th Loop begins with Shin finding himself at the point where Nagumo declared him to be a time traveler. Ushio materializes alongside him as well, which makes his claim to have just come from the future a good deal more convincing.
Who is Haine again? We have heard that name before, but I never quite grasped who it was. A girl whose form Hiruko took on, IIRC. And why does Haine need bodies? Most Shadows feed on 'data', don't they? Where did Shin acquire these godlike powers that he holds? I'm glad this loop has lasted as long as it did, because if Shin kept getting killed and starting over every episode or two I doubt if I'd be able to keep track of what is going on; that is, what events are still in effect and which have been cancelled out by resets. Still, a distinct change in the storytelling of this show seems to have taken place, and not for the better. All of a sudden all sorts of wild events are hurled at us--Tokiko is one of the villains! That wasn't Shiori at all! Negoro is a Zombie! Ushio wasn't cremated!--and it is up to us to make sense of them. Whereas following the plot used to be quite fun yet remarkably easy, now it is confusing and difficult.

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