Not being able to think of a better topic for this week’s Sunday Select, I decided to mention a few episodes of certain anime series (mostly ones I really like) that have great significance to the series. They are still numbered from 7 down to 1, but note that I don’t like any one of them more than the others, with the exception of Juuni Taisen. There may be some spoilers for the anime series mentioned here, but I’ll do my best to avoid them.
7. Juuni Taisen: Episode 12
The winner of the Zodiac War, one of twelve warriors, gets to have any one wish granted by the organization that essentially controls the world. This is the last episode of the series, and it’s spent exploring the thoughts and experiences of the winner as he considers his wish. For a series that I didn’t end up liking very much, I have to say, the final episode blew my mind when I considered all its implications for the character in question. What is the winner’s special ability, which he didn’t reveal during the fighting? It’s a psychological twist. What does he wish for in the end? It’s sure to surprise you.
6. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Episode 15
This episode happens farther back in the past than usual, several years before Keiichi came to Hinamizawa. Akasaka, a detective from a big city, comes to investigate the kidnapping of the son of the man running the dam project. While in the village, Akasaka talks to young Rika several times. But she doesn’t seem like herself in episode 15, when they are talking at the overlook. She predicts something major that will happen in the future, and Akasaka discovers years later that she was exactly right. How did Rika know the future? Why did she act so different? This episode is a major hint to the mystery of Higurashi.
5. Madoka Magica: Episode 7
Sayaka is falling apart emotionally after what was revealed in episode 6, and the other revelations she’s had since becoming a Magical Girl. To her surprise–and suspicion– Kyoko comes to see her and invites her for a walk and a talk. They go visit an old, abandoned church in one of the anime’s many iconic scenes. Kyoko tells Sayaka the story of her wish, how she became a Magical Girl, and how she lost everything because of the nature of magic and her own naivety. Kyoko no longer dislikes Sayaka, and even hoped to become her friend after that talk. The bitter Sayaka rejects the offer for companionship, based on her black-and-white moral principles.
4. Monster: Episode 37
In the 37th installment, several important things happen. My favorite part is when Nina reads the storybook that Lotte brought her, “The Monster Without a Name.” It inspires Nina to go find Johan at Schuwald’s book donation ceremony. There, Johan puts another evil plan into action, endangering the lives of about a hundred people there at the ceremony. Tenma plans to shoot Johan, but someone interferes with the plan.
3. Psycho Pass: Episode 20
The true form of the Sybil system is shown to Akane in this episode. While she hates the system and doesn’t think it’s just, the young Inspector realizes the need for it to keep law and order, at least for the time being. This episode through a lot of people for a loop, since the true form of the Sybil Sytem is shocking at first. I like the emotions and growth that Akane goes through as she deals with it.
2. Kiseijuu / Parasyte: Episode 18
Mostly due to the actions of Reiko the Parasyte, Shinichi is able to go back to being himself after feeling different for a long time. Ever since he lost a member of his family, he’s changed a lot, both psychologically and physically. Most of the changes are good, but the one Shinichi dislikes is how he’s become apathetic and somewhat pragmatic. Though he stays stronger and more realistic than he was in the first few episodes, Shinichi is able to go back to being his sensitive, idealistic self compared to how he was, say, in episode 8. He reaches emotional closure and is able to move on. It makes me all teary-eyed whenever I watch it.
1. Shin Sekai Yori: Episode 4
This episode is important because of how much information is revealed. It shocked me, and it’s what convinced me to keep watching the show before I was attached to the characters. Literally everything is a spoiler so I won’t go into detail. Shin Sekai Yori is a masterpiece and one of my top 5 favorite anime ever. I recommend it to everyone. Apparently, some people find the first half boring, an idea I cannot wrap my mind around, so I guess be aware that it takes a while to get interesting for some people. Anyway, episode 4 is the one that will probably get you hooked. It’s also a lot of information to deal with all at once.