Finally I have submitted all my essays. There is also no more night lessons until September. It means that I won’t become even more tired after work, and I won’t have the excuse to prioritise video-gaming over blogging for the coming few months. Things may again change, of course, in September, but let’s worry about that then. For now, it is summer vacation for me, even though I still have to work during the day. Still, it makes a lot of difference already.
On a more negative note, as I have written over 8,000 words in the last two weeks – more than any “100,000-word essays” I have written, mind you – I think I have suffered some substantial brain damage, while also developed a phobia for long essays. I know that this chapter was out on Monday, and I have already read it, but to be honest I have just found enough energy and courage to write the review today. I am not sure if this review is of any quality, but let’s see.
Again, from a “progress” perspective, we have little in this chapter. Athena (small) presses the button on her little device, and turns into Athena (big). Of course, for those who have been waiting for the return of Athena (big) for so long, would treasure one page of Athena (big) more than the entire chapter, but for us neutrals it would be quite hypocritical if we shout “Filler! Filler!” on this chapter while treasuring other similar chapters focusing other characters. So, inevitably I have to write it long.
See? I write “100,000-word essays” for everything.
The value of this chapter is that it has given answers to quite a lot of questions that have not been answered since Stone Age. As Hata has noted in the chapter title: it has been 6 years in real life. Six years: it’s quite enough to complete elementary school, and also enough for Nagis to grow into Sakis – something that the Nagis and Hata himself have seemingly forgotten. It is also quite enough for readers to forget things, even if they are really important questions. If important questions are not answered in time, then it is likely that people will forget about them after 6 years, and no one would get excited when they are finally answered. In other words, important things could become unimportant after too long, so if Hata wants them to remain important, he has to answer them sooner than later.
The major question that Hata addresses in this chapter is about the King’s Jewel Aika got from Mikado. King’s Jewel experts have already pointed out that it dated as early as in Ch. 152, which was published on 14 November 2007. To put it into some perspective, it was back when the first generation iPhone was 5 months into the market, and Samsung-Andriod phone didn’t even exist. To quote the last words of Steve Jobs: “Wow, wow, wow, wow.”
Back then, Mikado had already confirmed that the curse on the King’s Jewels can be removed – by having Isumi do a Zidane and headbutt the stone. Mikado then gave Aika a stone with the curse, and sure enough Isumi did a Zidane on her in the same chapter, so the curse on Aika’s stone was removed. In Ch. 448 it is told that right after the Athena saga, Aika was given the mission by Mikado to give this stone to Athena (big). Soon after Aika could say “Mission accomplished!” Athena (big) shrinks into Athena (small).
Here, while the “cursed chain” of Aika’s King’s Jewel has been removed, a certain sort of “King Midas’ curse” still reduced Athena to her small version, and if Mikado (as well as my understanding) was right about the curse, it is the version of Athena which has just used the Royal Power. So for one thing, Athena (small) has not lost all her memories from day one: she knows full well that she is Tennousu Athena. Whether this version of Athena remembers her love affairs with Hayate… I can’t tell.
For another thing, the King’s Jewel in question has been transferred from Aika to Machina, so…
Athena has soon figured out what Mikado was up to: he was trying to stop the full-power, full-memory, full-version Athena from stopping him from… whatever. In order to return to her true power and age, Athena (small) worked with Aika on one or more ways. Obviously, whatever they had tried, they finally settled on Hinagiku and Shirosakura. Whatever the means, the ends should have been clear: Athena (small) would become Athena (big) again and speak to Aika about the King’s Jewels.
It more or less means that the transformation of Athena (small) into Athena (big) in this chapter won’t be permanent. There is already speculations that Athena would return to small version before Hayate and Hinagiku find their way out of the cave.
Yet Athena (small) has opted to spend her limited transformation time on Ikusa, who has supposedly lost his memories. Quite frankly, I don’t think Ikusa would remember much about the King’s Jewels and the curse of King Midas, so spending time on him could be a total waste. Yet there are at least two ways to explain her decision. The first one is that Athena (small) knows Ikusa has been faking his amnesia, so it is after all worth spending time on him, although according to this theory Ikusa would know full well to whom has he transferred his debt, so Ikusa could be a really big asshole. The second way is more about personal feelings:
Yes, it means that Athena chooses to “waste time” on a memory-lost Ikusa, just to let him see that she is all grown up, and that she would want to thank him. What? You say that I am trying to ship Ikusa-Athena? Oh yes I am.
Shipping aside, at least it can be confirmed that Athena (small) has expected Ikusa to come out and rescue someone. The only question is: who is that someone? It couldn’t have been Athena (small) herself, because she says she has not expected him to come and save her. Yet it couldn’t have been Hayate and Hinagiku either, as she says that it would take something very serious to put them into real danger – real enough for Ikusa to come to their rescue. So, what was the plan? I can come up with only one logical explanation: Athena (small) only intended to lure Hayate to the island. Hinagiku’s involvement was unexpected.
We will need to wait for two weeks for the answers.