What They Say:
A young Kozaku grins and bears her way through her youth in an Academy City research institution, where she befriends Dolly, one of the other girls there. But when Kozaku learns the grim truth about Dolly, it sets her on a life-altering course.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This episode finally covers a question I wanted to get answered most of this season. I wanted to know why Kozaku had teamed up with Gensei. Her motivations for allying with Gensei were unclear since it was hinted she had positive aspects in regards to her connection to Dolly. This episode delves into Kozaku’s childhood and how she became the person she is now. It was foreshadowed that Kozaku was in the same research lab as Dolly and Shokuho. Kozaku shares the same fate as Dolly, Misaka, and Shokuho as they were all lab rats. Kozaku is forced to use her powers in front of scientists to evolve her powers to the next level. She does this begrudgingly but with a fake smile to please the scientists for a better life.
Kozaku is initially forced to become friends with Dolly to make Dolly’s time in the lab a pleasant experience. Dolly is nervous as she meets Kozaku but starts to loosen up to her. Once she overcomes her nervousness, she becomes a wonderful point to Kozaku’s struggles. Dolly runs up to Kozaku and tries to hug her but Kozaku evades her and she ends up falling down on her face. Even though she has just fallen, she is smiling brightly with hopes of being friends with Kozaku. These two are given great bonding moments that are easily relatable to. They play board games and play around with each other. It’s a bit hard to nail down when a dark grouchy character is paired up with a cheerful character but this episode did an excellent portrayal. Dolly knocks down the wall that Kozaku has built to protect herself and give her a brief hope. But this only causes hardship in the road ahead.
Kozaku sees Dolly’s scars from experiments that were performed on her. Dolly wanted to hide her scars from people to avoid being shamed. This creates some friction between the two. Kozaku wants to know why Dolly has these scars and investigates the laboratory. She finds out that Dolly is being used as a lab experiment. This experiment will create the Misaka Network. She confronts the scientists about the truth and attempts to reveal the truth but to no avail. She gets locked up in isolation for months. It’s a welcome sight to see how Kozaku developed from wanting to save her friend to wanting to destroy Academy City.
The research lab was abandoned and Kozaku escapes. She searches for Dolly but she is long gone from this world. Kozaku attempts to take revenge on the people who funded the research laboratory. She is unable to succeed in her goal. She meets Gensei who wants her to join him. He uses her anger as a focal point to convince her. I love the way that Gensei has with words and convinces Kozaku to join her. His philosophy reminds me of JRPG villains and the moment where they feel overly confident and are giving out their speech that explains their actions. He is a character that I love to hate.
Then the episode moves back to the present. Kozaku has been defeated and left to rot. She is facing Shokuho. When Shokuho read Gensei’s mind, she found out that Dolly had a younger sister and Dolly was able to transfer her memories to her. Shokuho wants Kozaku to help to find the younger sister. Kozaku is reunited with the younger sister who possesses Dolly’s characteristics and emotions. This was the beginning of wonderful tearjerker moments. Shokuho tries to hide in the background but the younger sister spots her and wants her to join in the tearjerker moments. Shokuho regrets the past but the younger sister doesn’t care and is a delightful ray of sunshine. All three of them end up leaving the past behind them and celebrate new beginnings.
How Kozaku, Shokuho, and Dolly resolve their issues is a beautiful manner to end this arc. I spent most of the series wondering why Kozaku is a villain. This episode brilliantly answered that question as Kozaku roots are revealed. Kozaku portrayal as the tragic character was splendid. She has wanted opportunities to excel in life but has been obstructed at every moment. Shokuho is similar to Kozaku but she wanted to take the road of justice to pay her respects to Dolly. Kozaku and Shokuho are allowed to make up for lost time with their meeting of the younger sister. These moments are well deserved after the struggles they went through.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll