Owaru to Sekai no Birthday’s Trial: Disintegration

On the 29th of September, 2012, the world is going to end. It’s inevitable, and something that cannot be changed. Is it going to happen due to an earthquake? A meteor falling, perhaps? No one knows how, exactly. But it is going to happen. Kazu who’s living with his darling sister Ili understandably scoffs at the rumour, as does everyone else. Yet, people still can’t stop talking about it.

Sounds like a sweet set up Kazu and Ili have, doesn’t it? A pair of siblings living together, trying to get on with their daily lives while other people are running about like headless chickens over a few rumours on the net that have no basis in reality. It’s what you’d expect. Except, there’s a sinister twist. They’re not actually siblings, and there’s nothing at all sweet about their set-up. It’s disturbing, and reminds me too much of a certain character’s bad ending in Little Busters! where it was a bad ending for a very good reason. Ili’s dependence on Kazu is something that I’m sure many will find adorable (she came first in the character poll, after all), but it’s all a bit off, and it’s something that the reader finds difficult to forget as Kazu himself keeps bringing it up.

After Ili’s brother Touya died in a motorcycle accident two years previously, Kazu vowed to stay by Ili’s side and look after her in his place.  Him, Ili, and Touya all formed a secure circle before his death, so he was always with her. He has the best of intentions, and certainly cares for her. That much is obvious. But Ili is someone who isn’t quite in her right mind. After her brother’s death, she began to see Kazu as her brother. But what about Kazu himself? Where did the friend go to? Well, he’s studying abroad. Kazu essentially got rid of himself to take her brother’s place. It gets more complicated when Ili all but confirms having a crush on Kazu – not her brother, but the friend. Who he was, or still is. There were plenty of other incidents which were shown during the trial hinting that their harmonious faux sibling relationship is going to crumble sooner rather than later. Kazu getting aroused upon Ili waking him up, and blushing heavily seeing her in a uniform without sleeves. How long will he be able to keep the charade going, especially with the prospect of the world ending?

Not for much longer, by the looks of things. If anything he’s hindering her instead of helping her. When she breaks and finally realizes what’s been going on, I’m sure that the result won’t be at all pleasant. Not only that, but it seems like Ili is going to play a part in the end of the world. For the 29th of September is not only the two year anniversary of her brother’s death, but also her birthday.

Rumours of the end of the world are circulating on the net. The trial takes place over a course of three days, starting on the third and ending on the sixth. On the fifth, someone going by the name Cassandra makes a prophecy (subtle, Cotton-soft, real subtle) detailing an incident occurring in the school which Kazu and Ili attend, with thirteen victims – twelve will be injured, and the thirteenth will die. That prophecy is fulfilled by an awful chuuni character. While reading through the trial up until that point, I certainly did get the impression that something wasn’t right, but it’s not until then that shit really goes down and you see how the end of the world is affecting people. What I found most fascinating about this is that it was entirely self-fulfilled. The guy saw the rumour, applied it to his situation, and brought his knife into school with the intention of carrying it out. Maybe the 29th will play out in a similar way, with people becoming suffocatingly paranoid enough to end it themselves. It’s a likely prospect.

Despite Touya being dead, I can’t help but feel he’s somehow behind those rumours, or even directly involved with the end of the world. It’s not like his body disappeared or anything. There was even a funeral. But something doesn’t feel right. During his flashbacks he speaks in a philosophical manner with Kazu like where one’s ‘心’ is located. If Cotton-soft just wanted an excuse to shack Kazu and Ili up together, they would have left Touya be dead and that would have been  that. Not go out of their way to show several flashbacks involving him in which we get a good idea of his nature. His flashbacks won’t be the last we see him. I guarantee it.

The other characters went down a treat. While Mika initially was extremely grating with her random babbling, I came to like her a little bit more once her real name was revealed… Which was written with the kanji for archangel. Interesting to have a name like that with a title involving the end of the world, isn’t it? Fujishirou is the resident otaku who reads light novels at her desk such as OreAne, AhoTest, and The Melancholy of Haruka Suzumiya and takes great offense when they’re called pervy books.

The trial doesn’t come with the OP, for better or worse. It’s available for viewing on the usual sites, and confirmed my thoughts on Birthday‘s nature before I reached the end of the trial. It shows several CGs, each with core members of the cast killing each other. Oh my. You know, I can get why Cotton-soft did that but it lessens the element of surprise a bit. After watching the op, the prospective reader will know that in some way, in some ending, character X kills character Y, or at the very least attempts to. As the OP reaches its end there’s a key visual of Ili with wings on her back, with an all knowing smile on her face.

We’ll see just how much of a role Ili and her brother have in the greater scheme of things come tomorrow, which is when Owaru Sekai to Birthday will be released.

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