After what was undeniably its silliest episode, SK∞ comes back with the closest thing it’s done to a serious one. Often when shows like this go serious it takes them too far out of their comfort zone, but this pretty much worked for me. It was more or less by the numbers, but that’s not all bad. It means that the first six (well, five at least) eps did a good job in leading us to this point. Nothing happened here that I didn’t expect but it happened in a pretty entertaining and believable way.
In point of fact the central drama of SK∞ has been pretty obvious since the second week or so. Langa was always going to bypass Reki and fairly quickly too, and leave him staring at his ever-receding back. Adam (who now even has a Hisoka-esque entrance theme) is a catalyst to move that thread along but he’s not the source of the problem, just the symptom. The thing is, a lot of us have experienced something like what Reki is going through here – it’s pretty universal.
As for Adam, his real-life life has gotten significantly more complicated. As a junior Diet member he’s become involved in covering up the crimes of a corrupt senior party (all but named as the LDP) member. This is endemic in the LDP of course – it’s one giant seething faction-driven mass of bribery, money-laundering, and sham contracts awarded to cronies and bogus companies. Kudos to Bones for being so blunt about it – this is all pretty well-known but acknowledging it in anime is relatively rare. Shit flows downhill, and while it is indeed the job of the small fry to take the fall for their seniors, poor Tadashi is downhill from Adam.
I suspect at some point Adam is going to get a redemption moment, probably in deciding against throwing the ever-loyal and uncomplaining Tadashi to the wolves. His former friendship with Joe and Cherry makes that almost inevitable. Perhaps the tournament will be his last fling before going off to a short stint in a country club prison. What happens with Reki and Langa is a little more of an open question, since the fundamental truth that Reki just isn’t good enough to be a real rival for Langa isn’t likely to change soon – or ever. At least not believably…
Realizing something like that – that you really are a zaku at the thing you love the most – has to be incredibly hard to take. Still, one can’t but notice that Reki is doing the very thing to Langa which Miya’s friends did to him, which Reki promised he and Langa would never repeat. When you’re 17 and in existential despair you’re not worried about being a hypocrite but there’s no question Reki is, and that he’s being a jerk to Langa generally. The thing is Reki actually isn’t a jerk, and eventually he’ll remember that. The question is whether he’ll already have driven Langa into Adam’s loving embrace before he does.