Of the last few episodes, I liked this one the most, but I’m not sure if that’s really just because I quite enjoyed Sachi’s route over the previous two. The anime honestly did an okay job (again, given the constraint of doing an entire route in 1 episode which makes my statement fairly meaningless). They changed how Sachi’s problem was “solved,” which was mandatory, and I will admit it was a good choice but once again any emotional and even logical buildup is forfeited because there was only 1 episode.
The episode begins with a short conversation between Michiru and Sachi. Sachi thinks about how Michiru and Yumiko have changed since Yuuji came. She also notes that even Amane and Makina have become attached to him, but she doesn’t feel about it. While watching TV, Makina tells Sachi they should become women who can count to 10,000 in the bath. Sachi attempts it but ends up fainting from the heat. While asleep, she calls out “Yuu-kun.”
The next day, Sachi is fine but Yuji has taken the day off. He visits a small park and recalls a young girl who is no doubt Sachi (the actual way he remembered was infinitely more emotionally appealing). Meanwhile, Michiru is complaining about the upcoming exams and asks Sachi to get rid of it. Although Amane scolds her for it, Sachi insists that she will take care of it. Yuuji returns to find Sachi locked up in her room. Yuuji says he’ll take care of the issue. Yumiko mentions how there was a girl who set fire to a school to stop an exam from happening in the past. Sachi, on the other hand, is incessantly repeating “I have to be a good girl.”
Here’s some clarification. For reasons that will be explained shortly, Sachi feels obligated to obey any order for the sake of being a good girl. However, while she is capable of understanding jokes and is even quite the joker herself at times, there is something unique about the request to stop an exam from happening. Yumiko is aware of and is referring to none other than Sachi herself about the past incident, and it was this incident which caused Sachi to end up in Mihama Academy. For Sachi, this is a request that is very meaningful and is why she insisted on taking it.
Sachi attends class by day and sneaks around at night, noting special places in the building before the day of the test. She is also making some chemicals in her room, which ends up being bombs. Note here that showing her making bombs in episode 1 was apparently a flashforward which made no sense, but I refrained from discussing that. Sachi sets the bombs in her planned places, and just as she sets the timers, all the other girls meet up in the classroom at Yuuji’s request. She then accidentally speeds up the bombs and tries to get everyone out. Michiru just so happens to be kicking a desk with a bomb inside. Sachi panics and screams at them to leave but the counter still reaches 0…
Yuuji nonchalantly enters and tells them they can go back now. Yuuji mentions how he tinkered with her bombs so there’re no problems. He reveals he remembers who she is and investigated about her past. Sachi’s parents ran a small factory and although they loved her, they often spent too much time with work. She met Yuuji while feeling lonely but eventually he came less and less. On her 10th birthday, her parents decide to play with her the whole day but Sachi gets angry at them and runs away to meet Yuuji at the park instead, even though he didn’t agree to. She regrets what she said and when her parents come looking for her, they get run over by a truck (despite this being the most overused trope, at least it was explained it was a drunk driver who ran a red light). Her dad died and her mom ended up in a coma. Sachi blamed herself for it and decided to become a good girl who would always do as she was told.
Yuuji, however, tells her that her selfishness helped him when he was having family problems. Her selfishness of wanting to be with her parents was the right thing and was probably what her parents truly wanted despite their obsession with work. Yuuji detonates the bombs in a safe place and disguises the sound with fireworks. Finally, he brings Sachi to her home and explains her uncle entrusted him with the key to her parents’ workshop. It was left untouched and supposedly is where her 10th birthday present was. For Sachi, this is opening the door of truth about what her parents truly thought of her – a selfish child to be resented or their beloved daughter. It is inside she finds a wall decorated with her pictures and achievements. There is also a letter wishing her happiness forever, as indicated by her name, written with the kanji for “happiness.” Sachi asks Yuuji for a hug, which is an indication that she has finally made a step forward in not just being a “good girl” but following her own desires too, which, while “selfish,” are not necessarily bad.
First off, I loved Sachi’s route. It definitely has its flaws but it was easily my favorite romantic pairing of the VN despite my general disdain of the childhood friend archetype (because they tend to be clingy and assume they deserve the MC). Once again, they kind of hit all the important points with zero emotional buildup or explanation, and, at least for me, Sachi’s was the most emotional and heart-warming. For starters, it is important to fully understand Sachi’s relationship with her parents. Her parents were the ironic case of parents ignoring their child for work for the sake of letting their child live a comfortable life. Even though they loved her, they misplaced their priorities and dedicated all their energy to work. Sachi, however, being a young child, did not understand and worked for their affection to seemingly no avail. Finally, on her tenth birthday, they tell her they will celebrate her birthday (for the first time in years). The reason Sachi gets angry at them and runs away is because of a “why now after all this time?” feeling.
Furthermore, while there needs to be some suspension of disbelief for how psychologically screwed in the head Sachi is that requires her to obey any order to the letter, there was a lot of skipped explanation about how she developed actual PTSD (nightmares, vomiting, fainting, etc.) because of it. Specifically, her mother’s last words were “Sachi, why?” which Sachi interpreted as “why weren’t you a good girl?” or “why are you so selfish?” She later discovered her PTSD symptoms could be stopped by “being a good girl,” or in reality, following others’ orders. When her schoolmates discovered this, they used her as a slave which eventually culminated in Sachi burning the school down to stop an exam.
Sachi’s desire to be a good girl is admirable, to some degree, but she is unable to draw a line of whether she is merely being extremely helpful and whether she is being used for the selfishness of others and when those requests can no longer be considered good. Yuuji teaches Sachi that she needs to think for herself about what is truly good or not rather than listening to others’ definitions, requests, or even orders. When the lives of her friends were in danger, she chose the “selfishness” of saving them over the “good” of stopping the exam. In the same way, Christians try to be “good” Christians by following what they are told by authority figures in their lives – pastors, parents, etc. But sometimes this “good” is not correct, or is too simplified to be applied to some situations. Christians desire to live according to what is right, but what is right is not always easy to know, and following what others say is right is often the wrong choice as well. Yuuji explains that Sachi must be the one to choose whether an order is okay or not to follow. It is not selfishness if she believes something to be wrong. For Christians, it is similar but still not quite the same. While it is better for us to consider with our own minds whether something is right or wrong, in the end, we are just as prone to poor decision making as anyone else. Instead, we have the voice of the Holy Spirit to guide us. In this way, we can identify what is truly correct – not by what others say, not by what we want to believe, but by what the Holy Spirit speaks to us.
Sachi had a desire to be good; however, she did not have a desire to do good. She was satisfied when others called her a good girl, regardless of what her actions entailed. In some ways, it could be viewed as a twisted form of pride at being able to accomplish anything asked of her. It is a bit reminiscent of the Pharisees who took pride in their supposed following of the Law. Instead, we should have a craving to do good – even more, we should have a selfishness for good, for justice, righteousness, and salvation of others. It is still difficult to judge the line between when we are doing good in God’s eyes and when we are only doing good in man’s eyes, but once again, the Holy Spirit and prayer can help direct us. If we wholeheartedly follow God, we will inevitably do good. As Christmas approaches this year, consider whether your celebration activities would be viewed as good not by man but by God. Beneath the Tangles is hosting a charity event because we want to do something with a real, physical impact on the world and remind both ourselves and others that Christmas is not about us but God.