No matter what, Nagi has now arrived in Kyoto – whether she would meet Hinagiku and Chiharu, thus ending the madness of her adventure, is currently irrelevant. Even if (unfortunately) Nagi could not meet her tourist friends, the silver lining is that she still has a local friend who can help her. The Kansai girl I am talking about, of course, is Sakuya.
Granted, I am not sure where exactly does Sakuya live. Still, Kyoto is a part of Kansai, and I would consider her a “local” even if she doesn’t live in Kyoto – in any case, she is far more “local” than all those people from Toyko, and the one from Hokkaido…
We might, however, have to wait a bit longer before Sakuya could give her helping hand to Nagi, because for now her hands are occupied by someone we definitely haven’t seen since Ch. 266: Machina, Athena’s loyal butler.
Even if we are not talking about romantic shipping (I actually hate it when people are trying to set all kinds of ship on sail; we are not docks or ports, you know), Sakuya and Machina could make very good partners. Machina would be funny 24/7 thanks to his slight (?) eccentricity, so Sakuya would be well-entertained. Sakuya can keep Machina in line with her rationality, and she is able to feed him one way (cook for him) or another (buy him food).
In any case, Sakuya trusts (or looks down on) Machina enough to lock herself in her room with him alone.
Ever since Ch. 300, people who are really serious about “drama” should have been looking forward to Machina’s reappearance. The reason is that, while almost all people who might know what has happened to Athena either remain silent (Mikado and Aika), go missing (Yozora) or have forgotten about everything (Athena herself), Machina has suddenly become our only reliable source of information. He may not be the most favourable source (for whatever reason), but for drama-seekers, the more information the better.
I have been wondering whether the withdrawal (physically) of Shirosakura would have done Machina harm. Now that he is alive, I think I can stop worrying about him. There is a valid argument that, without Shirosakura in him, Machina would be a lot less powerful as a combat butler. The thing, though, is that Machina was said to be unable to make use of the power of the sword on his own, so I guess losing Shirosakura isn’t really a big deal for him.
Machina tells us that he has been hiding on Athena’s order, but he hasn’t said why and since when. We can, however, make some guesses based purely on logic – assuming that there is still logic behind the “drama” at all.
Athena moved into the Violet Mansion in late May, in a form with no powers and memories of her true self. If she was to instruct Machina to hide himself, it must have been before Ch. 300 – possibly around the time she came into Hayate’s dream. If Athena has wanted (and still wants) Hayate to keep everything about the Royal Garden a secret, then it is understandable that she would expect the same from Machina. Given Machina’s slight (?) eccentricity, it could be hard to keep his mouth shut, so it would be better to do things the other way round: instead of preventing Machina from talking to people, Athena opted for preventing people from talking to Machina.
There are two ways to prevent people from making contacts with Machina. The first is to kill him, but it would be too cold-blooded even for Athena. The second is to isolate him from the outside world – by imprisoning or exiling him. What Athena has taken is obviously the last option.
From the looks of things, we can already say that Athena has made a wise decision. It hasn’t been really too long since Machina has made his first contact with the outside world since going into exile, he is now expected to reveal every single secret on what has happened to Athena. I am not entirely sure if Athena would want anyone – especially those who are related to the Sanzen’in family – to know anything…
We have just been reminded in the most recent episode of Cuties that Ayumu is a big eater, and now in this chapter we have found her a true rival in Machina. I am not entirely sure how long has Machina been without food, but in the worst case (i.e. ever since Athena moved into the Violet Mansion) he would have not been fed for over a month. I am unsure if Machina really needs sustenance, and I am equally unsure if there is a point trying to fill up the black hole in his stomach. Still, it is obvious that Machina enjoys eating, so we might as well just let him do whatever he please.
With great revelations pending, we could well be going back to the “drama” on par with the Athena saga. Still, I doubt if this is the best time to kick off yet another plot line, now that the current “Kyoto and Ise” arc is still in the middle of a huge mess. Maybe it is, after all: Maria and Athena are (supposedly) coming to Kansai, so who knows if they would meet Sakuya and Machina?
… Where does Sakuya live, again?