The Tenth Bone – “The Butterfly Vanished in November, Part 1”
To my pleasant surprise, Sakurako-san shows that it’s capable of writing an engaging scenario this close to the end using characters we’ve never even met before, and it achieves this by linking to events in past episodes, as we’ve seen the series do several times before very deftly. The episode that featured Yuriko and Isozaki-sensei at the festival now feels less like a side story and more of a meaningful expositive foundation for their characters, particularly Isozaki-sensei who has become a key player in this most recent story arc.
I had written him off as a smug dude who seemed full of himself, much like Yuriko had thought at the time, but it turns out that Isozaki-sensei has been shouldering painful memories of his own. Sure, one could say that this past tragedy feels a bit too perfect and shoehorned in, but I love how his obsession with botany, previously thought of as a mere idiosyncracy of his personality, is actually triggered by the guilt he feels for not being able to protect his students. This is, again, another example of how the series does a great job with how it presents information and subverts your expectations.
With the series nearing its ultimate end, it leaves me wondering how it will wrap up not only the mystery concerning the missing student but also the grandest mystery of all: Sakurako-san’s secret regarding the reason she has been fascinated with Shoutarou since before episode one. The only thing we know for certain so far is that the reason is highly related to her brother, Soutarou. Whether that means Shoutarou is actually her brother and is suffering from some severe memory loss or another complex explanation beyond my realm of speculation, I have high hopes that the series, given its track record, will be able to tie all of these events together in a neat little conclusive ribbon.
“If you care for plants, they respond, and they won’t leave you.” ~ Sakurako Kujou