I think that at this point in the season, I’ve become attuned to the fact that SukaSuka is a show where it feels like, and often is the case that surprisingly little happens with each passing episode. The show often manages to delve deep into some worldbuilding, or some deep discussions between characters, but often, much of what passes the time for each episode comes across as being interesting, but ultimately inconsequential with regards to the rest of the show. Although it does still dabble in some of these issues, episode 10 is different. Episode 10 has a lot to say, and what it does say at its crucial points are important. In ways that some prior episodes did not quite reach, it manages to give us the drama, the heartfelt, touching moments, and meaningful worldbuilding that some of the earliest episodes used to inspire such faith in the show in me.
The locational focus of episode 10 brings us to the survey ship Saxifragia which has held Nopht and Rhan in its service and recently crashed after an altercation with a surface beast. Unsurprisingly, we find that Chtholly manages to tag along with Willem on this voyage to the surface, and once there, the episode, for the most part, takes on a characteristically lighthearted tone – Willem gets to know the two “new” fairies through some playful banter (and massages), Chtholly inspires the admiration and the respect of the ship’s crew, who initially only viewed her as Willem’s lover, Willem gets to catch up with his old pal Grick, and he finally finds Lapidemsibilus the dug weapon which can supposedly help stop Chtholly’s mental degradation, among other things, and in a not entirely surprising move, Willem discovers that the surface beasts were most likely once human. These different bits here and there make up a good half of the episode, and they do work to advance the story, though in differing degrees of importance and effectiveness.
One of this episode’s greatest strengths definitely comes in the form of Chtholly’s continuing to bolster her confidence and prove herself useful, despite no longer being able to wield a dug weapon as a leprechaun. Aboard the Saxifragia, Chtholly is initially greeted by the men aboard, who think of her only as Willem’s “esteemed secretary,” implying that her only real use is for comforting Willem. After we scene-skip away from that initial encounter, however, Chtholly sets off to working her matronly muscle, cleaning the ship up from the filthy dinghy that it was when she got there, and one by one, the men aboard begin to assist her in cleaning, slowly taking pride in their quarters, and coming to respect Chtholly, having her dubbed at points as “Boss.” By the end of the episode, she’s won over the hearts of the soldiers aboard the ship through her diligence and genuine care for the soldiers, even going so far as to sew cartoonish likenesses of their animal species onto t-shirts for them. It’s quite clear that Chtholly is satisfied with herself and her ability to still be of use and enact change, despite her inability to engage in combat, and it is a welcome change to see her in such high spirits, despite this and her steady memory loss.
There’s a bit of a balancing act to this, though. While we do see Chtholly becoming more confident despite her precarious mental state, she passes out again, returning to the mental plane where she met Elq. This time, however, she and Elq aren’t one in the same person, instead of being two separate entities. And they the only ones there – Lillia Asplay, the third brave among the old cohort featuring her, Willem, and Souwong, breaks through a wall, claiming that she is there to kill Elq and save the world. In typical fashion, we aren’t shown what happens once Lillia springs into action, but I feel as though we may find out soon enough. To be honest, the way that the show has played out thus far has not necessarily made me feel as though there are any grand stakes at play with the characters’ lives but scenes such as this continually make me concerned for Chtholly’s future. The mental degradation on its own was heartbreaking enough, seeing her try to cope as best she can and put on a brave face despite forgetting great deals about her closest companions, but scenes like this one continue to make Chtholly’s situation more precarious. At this point, even though Willem finally found Lapidemsibilus, I’m not particularly convinced that there is enough time remaining for it is going to be of much help.
I say this because this episode really sets the gears spinning for the end of the season. Lapidemsibilus is found, for one, which has been a pretty major point for this journey to the surface. Beyond that, through tuning Nopht and Rhan’s dug weapons and remembering that Rhan has been slaying surface beasts with Kinslayer, a sword which, as I assume you can guess, is used to kill only one’s kin. Essentially, it’s a dug weapon that should only be able to kill humans or other humanoids. Well, Willem had a brief conversation with the gals on the ship about the beasts, coming to the conclusion that they were bioweapons, and that they had living organisms of some kind as a base. Though he doesn’t outright say it, Willem reasons out that Kinslayer plus killing beasts equals a pretty bad conclusion. Discovering that the beasts were human at one point is an obvious flag for “things are about to get very real soon,” and it certainly doesn’t help that, immediately after this realization, Willem asks Chtholly to marry him, which she of course accepts. It’s a very satisfying, touching moment, wherein Willem gushes out that Chtholly has been his light, allowing him to be okay with living on, even after the horrible events he’s seen over the years. It’s beautiful, and it’s horrible because all signs point to the thought that these two are not going to be able to enjoy this newly-deepened bond for long. This is only further punctuated by the very short post-credits scene showing that the beasts beneath the surface, specifically some very viney beasts, are getting pretty riled up, and I have a very bad feeling that we’re going to be seeing a lot of them next episode.
It is also immensely important to consider that, if you use some context clues from this episode, we’re almost caught up with that gorgeous opening scene from the first episode. Considering the fact that the first line of the show is “We vowed to be together forever,” that we see Chtholly with a full head of red hair wielding Kinslayer, and that the crew is having difficulty with what seems to be a pretty angry vine monster, seeing almost all of these things touched on now should be doing more than signalling that something is about to happen – we best be buckling up for a rough ride. As Owningmatt93 mentioned before, the first episode held such a wealth of mystery and wonder – such things that the rest of the series hasn’t seemed to be able to catch up with. Though that first episode may seem like ancient history at this point in the season, it is about to become very, very relevant quite soon.