This show seems to be getting returns on everything. Way back in episode 4 when Mari was introduced, it seemed like her too-aggressive side was ultimately going to be used for comical purposes, and would ultimately end up being the umpteenth example of the stereotypical angry, overaggressive girl. That characterization choice, while irritating at the time, yielded huge dividends this week, as King Torture took only a few minutes to shred Mari’s heroic resolve to pieces.
It was a scene every bit as creepy as the picture implies
In an episode where Goto was driving a jeep off a cliff into a missile, KT was swapping his hand for a chainsaw, and Masayoshi humbled up a bit after understanding how much he needed people’s support (though that element could have been played for better development if they had really tried), what I really can’t get over is how much I like that scene with Moe and the pliers. Because of how deep-cutting KT’s words and actions were to Mari, and because of the quiet strength supposedly shallow Moe showed while her finger was getting the steam press. One of the nice things about scenes like this is that they can reveal hidden depths to characters you didn’t think had them. More so than any other part of the continuation (including Masayoshi’s unmasking), I want to hear the next conversation those two have.
I’m sure a lot of viewers are now saying that Mari’s character got exactly what she deserved. Whether or not that’s true, I certainly think it’s what her character needed. And like you, I’m very interested to see what goes on between her and Moe next time we see them together, and also what changes Mari might go through as a result of what went down.
“Got what she deserved” is kind of similar to the B-word in that it gets used too much with too little justification and consideration for what it really means. I think Mari’s character needed a step forward, but the persona she had established up to that point certainly worked very well for this arc’s purposes. The last thing I want is a generic female sidekick squad one season after Gatchaman Crowds introduced what might be the most proactive, forward-thinking female character in anime. Too, you don’t often break down a character in the halfway climax for any other reason than to build her back up.