Episode 7 of SukaSuka has most definitely calmed down from the dramatic, lore-filled rollercoaster that episode 6 was. In one respect, this is certainly a good thing, as the previous episode encountered a few hiccups in character motivation and narrative direction, among other things. Episode 7 returns to a very relaxed pace for SukaSuka, somewhat reminiscent of the beginning episodes of the show in how it goes about giving us some information about the world. Frankly, we learn quite a bit of pertinent information here through means that seem quite conversationally natural, and we do have some satisfying emotional payoffs in this piece, as well. At the same time, though, it feels as though we fall into some really odd places with regards to Chtholly’s own sense of self-worth, which once again leaves me feeling like this episode is a bit of a mixed bag.
In my post about the first episode of SukaSuka, I talked at length about how the show managed to do a solid job dispersing a great deal of information to the audience without delving into long, cumbersome exposition setpieces. The first few episodes did well to keep this a trend, divulging important plot points and details about the world as they were needed, and doing so through means that seem wholly organic in regards to how the characters themselves would actually talk. Episode 6 suffered pretty extensively from a deviation from this, instead opting to embrace said long, cumbersome exposition scenes, so it was refreshing to see a return to form in this most recent episode.
Quite early on in the episode, we learn two very important details. The first is twofold – we are introduced to two other fairies, Nopht and Rhan, who are on an expedition aboard the Surface Survey Ship, Saxifragia. During one of their surveys of the Surface, Rhan found an old book, as she says, likely a textbook, and she has been reading it. Through their conversation about the book, we find out that, according to the author of the text, humans were created by “visitors,” or gods, and eventually, the humans went on to create the beasts that have ravaged the land. More or less, we already know this, but it does expand a bit more, noting that “Humans unleash the beasts, and fill the world with the ashen truth.” By the end of the conversation, though, Rhan assumes that due to the nature of the book, it was made before the actual end of the world, and as such, that humans must have created the beasts in the image of the text’s imagining of them.
The second major bit of information that we learned in this episode comes during a checkup that Chtholly has with Nygglatho. After running a short series of physicals and blood tests, Nygglatho reveals that, as a result of whatever happened in the previous episode, Chtholly is still very much alive, but her body is no longer that of a leprechaun. Furthermore, she cannot risk wielding a dug weapon – even though she was once able to, since her bodily composition is no longer the same, it is difficult to tell how the weapon would react if she attempted to use it currently. Because of this, plans are arranged for Chtholly to remain at home with the other fairy children, keeping off the battlefield until further notice.
Both of these conversations include a great deal of necessary story information, and they are quite interesting in how they inform our understanding of the beasts, mankind’s role in creating them, the bodily makeup and composition of a leprechaun, and also adding to the sheer mystery of the world, since we still know so little about it. Further, though, these two conversations felt like that initial kind of dispersal of information that she show dabbled in early on – the information given was actually fresh, new information given in a meaningful way. It is not as though, say, Nygglatho was telling Chtholly a huge amount of information that she already knew, but that the viewers didn’t. We were actually learning about the world in step with the characters themselves, and this does wonders for a show when its world building doesn’t feel heavy-handed and unsatisfying.
While these dispersals of information were very refreshing after last week’s somewhat droning, plodding infodump, the show pretty quickly descends into some full-blown eye-rolling territory for me. After finding out that she cannot fight on the battlefield any longer, Chtholly, understandably, feels pretty disheartened. Although it is a bit of a sodden lot to take, fighting against the beasts has been all that Chtholly has known for some time – after all, wielding the dug weapons is about the only thing the leprechauns had been raised, trained, and told to do by the vast majority of those who interact with them regularly. She even muses to herself, thinking “What good is a fairy soldier who can’t wield a sword?”
Now, there are a lot of responses to a question like this. Chtholly is an incredibly kind, talented girl, and there is much that she can contribute to if she is not dedicating her efforts to being a soldier. What I probably wouldn’t do, though, is ask her if she wanted to get ready for marriage to Willem. I might do this jokingly, of course, to lift her spirits, though, and honestly, when Nygglatho suggests this in the first place, it felt like her brand of prodding humor. I was wrong. After suggesting that, she goes on to explain herself – basically, Willem is only contractually obligated to be at the warehouse for a time, and he will eventually leave, though he might stay if he was asked. This is not at all a ridiculous assertion to make. If anyone had seen how Willem had interacted with the fairies, and how he has basically become a father for them, it’s pretty clear to see that he would most definitely stay. However, just asking isn’t persuasive enough, according to Nygglatho – he needs to think of it as his home, and to do so, of course, of course, he needs to have a wife and family at home!
Come on, now.
Though it is pretty clear that Chtholly is definitely infatuated with Willem, it is pretty surprising how hard Nygglatho pushes her to go for him. As the episode later notes, Willem has only been stationed at the warehouse for about a month. One month, and Nygglatho is genuinely suggesting that Chtholly should try to get hitched with Willem. I understand that she’s doing this in a pretty standard “I’m rooting for you!” kind of way, but the scene leaves me honestly feeling a bit uncomfortable with it, since Chtholly leaves the conversation essentially thinking that she has to act now, otherwise she might lose Willem forever. She’s looking at this as if it’s on a timeline, rather than approaching this naturally, at her own pace. I also realize that Nygglatho might possibly be approaching this so aggressively because she is unsure of how much time Chtholly might have to live, given the weird bodily complications that have arisen, but it ultimately just left me feeling weird about the situation.
Now, with that in mind, much of the rest of the episode is quite heartfelt: we follow Chtholly, and we get to hear her honest internal monologue regarding the deep feelings that she has for Willem, for one. We also see Willem making cake for everyone and bringing one up to Chtholly especially for her, allowing her to keep her promise. Few then see Willem and Nygglatho try to bargain with Limeskin to see if they can get Chtholly moved to a non-combat position since she can likely no longer wield a dug weapon, ultimately resulting in Willem deciding to go see Souwong about it. Finally, we end the episode with a flash to Nopht and Rhan fighting a pretty swole beast on the surface, effectively bookending the episode with the two new fairies.
In many ways, this episode showed shades of a return to form for the series, but as we’re now in the second half of the season, it’s difficult to say whether or not we are going to see this trend continue. Fingers crossed.