The last episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was undoubtedly the "is he or isn't he?" story of last week amongst viewers of this series, and I have to confess that I approached episode nine of the show with something approaching trepidation, knowing that chances are I was in for a torrid time in emotional terms after all we'd seen and everything that had been suggested by the end of the last instalment.
Indeed, emotional doesn't even begin to describe the vast majority of this episode - As Mari's journey takes her closer to her home, so the horrific damage and aftermath of the earthquake becomes ever more prominent, with bodies left still awaiting identification outside the ruins of homes and entire streets shaken to the ground. Mari then finally returns to find her own home in tatters and almost entirely destroyed, while also hearing news that many residents in the area were simply unable to escape the earthquake and the raging fires in their own homes.
By this point, Mari appears to have lost all hope, leaving it (perhaps surprisingly) for Mirai to show all of the initiative, for it is she who continues to search for Mari's daughter and grandmother, eventually finding out where the nearest shelter and mortuary is. This brings us to what appears to be the most painful of ends to Mari's journey, with the suggestion that both of her loved ones are waiting, unidentified, in the mortuary, leaving Mari distraught without even checking the identities of the bodies properly. Despite all of this, Mirai (egged on by Yuuki) continues to search, and eventually turns this bleak and desolate storyline into an emotional and happy one - For Mari at least. But what of Mirai as she continues her own journey home?
As episodes of any anime series go, this instalment of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was an intensely powerful and really quite harrowing one as it really sharpened its knives to introduce the viewer to the full horror of the earthquake it simulates before at least bringing us some relief and tears of happiness rather than sorrow for once. The one issue it didn't definitively address is that of Yuuki's fate, but I think it's safe to say that any doubts as to his death were well and truly assuaged, and the final scenes of this episode all but confirmed what we already realised (some sooner than others admittedly) last time around. With two episodes left to go, it appears that Mirai and her mental state will be the core focus of the series finale.