The climax to last week's episode of Kami-sama no Memo-chou brought us the cruellest and most shocking of cliff-hangers as Ayaka's emotional turmoil in the face of her brother's actions finally seemed to take its toll upon her.
Perhaps even more cruelly, we learn as this penultimate episode begins that Ayaka isn't actually dead at all, but rather comatose with virtually no hope of recovery bar a miracle - news that leaves all of the members of the NEET detective agency shocked, but which understandably has its biggest effect upon Narumi, who is practically paralysed by the situation before him.
Eventually though, Narumi finds his way back onto his feet, and upon doing so his first instinct is to go and ask Alice for help - something which she readily agrees to as it seems that she, too, is bothered by the specifics of Ayaka's final actions and the reason for them. Sure enough, it doesn't take much investigating for Ayaka's brother Toshi to enter the picture, as his drug-selling appears to have involved his sister in far more direct ways than anyone had initially foreseen. As Narumi's investigation turns to a hunt for Toshi, exacerbated by Soichirou and his staff's own hunt for him, so it begins to emerge that the cause of Ayaka's fate may even extend above and beyond her brother's influence...
It's amazing what a more personal and insular storyline can do for this series - after its hard work building up the dynamic between Narumi and Ayaka a little further last episode before shattering the whole thing in seconds, this week's instalment becomes a far tighter, more emotive work as a result that plys its emotional core for all its worth early on moving on to the "proper" detective work side of things. Whether this arc will ultimately prove to be a stand-out moment for the series in comparison to its opening episode remains to be seen, but if nothing else its proof positive of what the series is capable of - if only it had managed to achieve anything close to this level of story-telling during the rest of its run.