Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
In Alice & Zouroku episode 11, The Queen and the Witch, Shikishima Hatori searches for an exit from Wonderland in spite of Sana Kashimura’s protests. Zouroku Kashimura, Sanae Kashimura, and Shizuku Ichijou begin a rescue operation that quickly goes awry. Sana and Hatori try to come to an understanding while Wonderland performs all around them. Sana shares a secret that she’s not supposed to tell anyone.
What’s In This Post
After telling the staff at his florist shop about Sana’s true nature and why he might be missing for the next few days, Zouroku joins Sanae and Ichijou as they travel to the facility above Wonderland. Noriko Yamada briefs them and warns them to be careful. Ichijou transforms into her Mirror Gate-fueled maid form and they enter Wonderland.
Hatori can see the sky from the bottom of the ravine, so she heads off to look for the exit. A scared Sana follows her through the snow. Sana never had the best stamina, and she quickly falls behind. The two travel up many flights of stairs that take them past fantastic gears and other contraptions with less obvious functions. After a long climb, Hatori finds a door that looks like the one that brought her to Wonderland. Excited and hopeful, she pushes it open, but it’s just a door; it doesn’t lead anywhere. Sana tries to explain that without her power, none of the doors connect back to the real world. Desperate to get home to her mom, Hatori explores a nearby house despite Sana saying no one was there.
As the rescue team trods further into Wonderland, they encounter huge statues that represent important memories from Sana’s life. A huge version of the toy piglet that Zouroku had given to Sana to help her reach her nightlight fell from the sky; a living spotted piglet rides on top. Sanae suggests they follow the living piglet as it scurried away, and to Ichijou’s surprise, Zouroku agrees. Ichijou announces that she’s going to get an arial view, but before she can take off, the white rabbit twitches its nose, and the maid disappears into a hole in the ground. It closes to leave Zouroku and Sanae alone with the spotted pig, and they decide to keep following it. They pass more of Sana’s huge statues, like one representing her memory of Zouroku fighting Miriam C. Tachibana.
In the house that’s as deserted as Sana promised it’d be, Hatori, exhausted and dispirited, wraps herself in a curtain and falls asleep in an over-sized chair. Sana eventually apologizes for trapping them. Hatori also apologizes before asking Sana to explain the things she sees happening outside. What are all of the strange shapes and colors? Sana thinks that Wonderland is trying to learn about the outside world, and it sometimes get things out of context because it doesn’t understand the rules. But the interactions help it test things out and understand. After describing Wonderland as a room-sized space at its birth, Sana says she thinks it will eventually become a whole universe. Hatori thinks that Wonderland is beautiful. She doesn’t know what to think when Sana says she had no mother. Hatori goes on to talk about how her mom was disappointed in her daughter’s elementary test scores; that maybe her parents would be more happy if she stays in Wonderland; that maybe it would be better if she had never existed.
Hatori’s statement triggers something in Sana. She protests against what Hatori said, saying that of course it’s okay for her to exists. Hatori’s shocked when Sana confesses that she isn’t human and had been born in Wonderland, and that Sana suspects she might actually be Wonderland. She suspects she’s “just” a communications device to help Wonderland understand humans. Further, she’s terrified that she’s no longer necessary since others seem to be getting Mirror Gates. Reflecting on everything she’s experienced since her escape, she gathers her courage and rejects her fears. She proclaims that each of her memories are precious and necessary, so Hatori should never suggest she should not exist. The two share another bonding moment when Hatori sympathizes with Sana’s complaint that the adults won’t listen to her when she tries to talk about these things. The two resolve to keep searching for a way home.
What I Liked
Zouroku must have a great staff at his florist shop. Neither of them batted an eye at the news Sana wasn’t human. In fact, their main reaction seemed to be happiness to have a chance to run the place by themselves.
Yamada is sure infatuated with Ichijou’s maid form! She launched herself at her Senpai without hesitation. Ichijou didn’t want any part of it and stepped aside. I felt sorry for Yamada!
Interesting detail with the white rabbit appearing just in time for Ichijou to disappear. That rabbit’s been acting more and more independent since we first saw it. I wonder if it’s the current manifestation of Wonderland’s will?
Just after Wonderland provided a series of bridges to take them across a cavern, Sanae told Zouroku that she felt like Wonderland was mocking them. Zouroku said, “Later, I’ll have to give this Wonderland place a talking to.” Zouroku’s going to lecture what appears to be a growing proto-universe. I wonder what effect that’ll have on that universe’s evolution?
When Hatori mentioned her mom, Sana had to stop her and ask for clarification. It’s almost sad that Sana doesn’t know what it’s like to have a mom, though given the impact Hatori’s mom has had, I’m not sure Sana didn’t end up on the better side of that equation.
We got some of the clearest information about how Sana came to be be. She wasn’t even in human form when she became conscious. We still don’t know the who or why — as in who created Sana and why? — but her origin’s at least interesting. She seems to be dealing with it in a matter of fact way.
Hatori’s reaction to Sana confessing her fear of being no longer needed seemed to be a turning point. It seemed to put her struggles into a context that she could handle. She was crying so hard that Sana couldn’t figure out how to help — so she tousled Hatori’s hair the same way that Sanae tousled Sana’s hair.
Zouroku looked embarrassed and Sanae covered her mouth to hide her reaction as they passed the statue commemorating the time Sana kissed Zouroku on the forehead. Seeing someone so gruff looking embarrassed was worth the price of admission!
What I Liked Less
I gave last week’s post the title “A Sorta Accepted Apology and the Collapse of Wonderland.” Obviously, I overstated the effect of Sana’s Mirror Gate collapse on Wonderland as a whole. Only the house of cards that Sana had constructed (kinda prophetic building materials, huh?) collapsed into the chasm; Wonderland was alive and well. That was an embarrassing over-statement on my part!
How would it feel to walk through Wonderland, knowing it was your adopted granddaughter’s world, and seeing huge statues of yourself — statues that represent her precious memories of you? That would have to be touching and overwhelming and humbling all at the same time!
The white rabbit certainly seems to be acting more and more independently. Did he intentionally whisk Ichijou away? If so, why? And where did he take her? Is he acting to protect Sana? Or is he up to something more sinister?
What’s the gray crystal with energy swirling inside that settles on the window sill just before the ending theme? It almost seemed to represent potential.
We only have one episode left, and the show’s still generating a lot of questions!
In most series, I’d find such a conversation-heavy episode to feel a little slow or boring. This episode just flew by. Because the last few episodes did a great job establishing Hatori’s conflict, and since the series earlier set up Sana’s conflicts with her past, the show was able to bring both girls into dramatic and emotional collision. The hug Hatori gave a surprised Sana represented the witch trying to reclaim her humanity, and it was a perfect capstone for that scene.
What was your favorite Zouroku statue? His battle with Minnie C? Sana kissing his forehead? Something else? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Titans, Heroes, Queens, and Swords: Spring 2017 Anime Preview Part I
- Aliens, Gears, Game Creation, and Worlds in Collision: Spring 2017 Anime Preview Part II!
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 1 Review: The Red Queen Escapes
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 2 Review: Dreams of Alice
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 3 Review: Cards
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 4 Review: Something Not Human
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 5 Review: A Home to Return To
- Alice & Zouroku Episode SP Review: Looking Ahead to Part 2
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 6: The Kashimura Family
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 7: Friends
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 8: The Evil Witch
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 9: Where the Cheshire Cat Smiles
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 10: The Little Queen
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 12: I’m Home