|The Final Enemy is Paparazzi!|
This post is long overdue so let's get to it.
During the beginning of this episode, we get some more on Tohka Todo, the one called Raikiri and the strongest person in the school.
Turns out, she's a pretty nice person.
I have talked about this when discussing Asterisk, but there is no point in introducing a final villain and trying to flesh him or her out just a few episodes before the end. It doesn't really work.
However, Raikiri is not really the final villain here so the humanizing touch works out.
Raikiri is the means to an end, the tool.
The real villain is the pressure and discrimination Ikki has been under since the beginning of the story.
His real enemy is the Kurogane family. It's his father whose shadow has been lurking in the background, but now we get to feel his full presence.
Ikki's and Stella's relationship is exposed and his father's underling uses that to pressure Ikki into imprisonment.
Got to say I liked the style shift for these parts. It was really neat and it worked well with the emotional weight of the scene.
Ikki is trapped and can't fight his way out. He is kept in an uncomfortable cell and made to fight his battles without leaving custody. He is tired. He is probably hungry and at his limit.
However, it is his father who truly hits him where it hurts.
I have seen some people who were surprised Ikki wanted his father's approval. However, it makes perfect sense.
What child doesn't want to be loved by his parents?
Ikki thinks he has been rejected because he is not strong enough. If he gets stronger, surely his father will have to acknowledge him, right?
Sadly, that's not the case. His father doesn't have expectations of him at all. His father doesn't want him to do anything. His father doesn't want him to mess with the established system. His father just wants him to keep on being useless.
Ikki is simply an unwanted child.
That hurts. It really does. Someone needs to punch that guy.
It is in that emotional state that Ikki has to fight Raikiri and that's why it works.
It doesn't matter who Raikiri is. She can be any strong person. The real enemy is the people who have put Ikki into that position.
If anything, that she is a good person kind of makes you feel sorry for her a bit, because she's also caught up in this. She's also a victim here.
And in a sense, that's exactly why the fight ends so decisively.
Ikki is fighting to prove what has been obvious to the viewers since episode one. Ikki is fighting to prove what the whole school already knows (really liked the scene with the friends).
He is a badass.
He is not unwanted. He is not a failure. He's not weak.
He is the school's best damn swordsman!
It's about time the rest of the world knew it too.
Could Raikiri have fought another way instead of accepting Ikki's head-on exchange? Probably, but that's not what this is about.
It's about fighting in a way that you can be satisfied with.
In matters like these Rakudai has always been about winning (or losing) the fight in a way that allows you to look at yourself in the mirror the next day and be satisfied with what you see.
Tohka fought with Ikki using all her power in a way that she could be satisfied with. That's all there is to it.
Way to go, Ikki!
Way to go, Stella!
Overall, Rakudai came to a satisfying closure. I really had fun watching this.