Trying to find your way, home or otherwise, without interacting with the cops.
I hope everyone enjoyed the lighthearted scary school story romp before everything turned upside down last episode. Because there are a lot of appropriate aftermaths and difficult conversations which need to happen between now and the end of the series.
Ko is having a difficult time sleeping, but not for his usual reasons. He is wracking his brain over the conflict between what he has seen of vampires this whole time, and what he and his friends came to experience the other night. Mahiru has already not only gotten into contact with Anko, but opens the episode in her office. He is shaken, and hoping to have her explain everything about the whole vampire situation to him.
There was a rather real possibility for Mahiru, Akira, or Ko to have been hurt, killed, or worse.
Ko, recognizing this is not going to sort itself out any other way, does shore himself up for the need to see Nazuna. They have to talk through this situation together.
Ko will not find closure alone.
When we do get to Nazuna, she is anxious and hungry.
Ko has not been around for a bit since his vampire encounter at school. So we know he was shaken enough to feel he needed some time apart from her. He wanted time to think before confronting any of the difficult conversations which would come next. While Ko acquiesces to her request to have a bite and drink from him, Nazuna mentions something offhand. She had been so pent up the last few days, as she was holding out and waiting for Ko. She could have lost control or something. Which gave him an immediate sensory flashback to the frenzied vampire teacher from the other week. As a reflex, Ko pushes Nazuna away from him.
Both of them are shocked. Nothing has ever caused Ko to act this way towards her.
While Ko attempts to stammer out an apology, Nazuna is sharp not to argue.
Rather, she snaps straight to the most important question: What Happened?
The conversation starts on the sofa, but before long Nazuna suggests they go for a walk together. There is a lot of air to clear. Ko and his friends experiencing a vampire losing control. Asking if Nazuna could ever end up in such a situation herself. Nazuna hearing about cases where new vampires do not accept their circumstances, and die after not feeding for ten difficult years. Ko encountering a human detective who can kill vampires. How this detective already knows he wants to become a vampire. He saw her kill, with his own eyes. Ko would also never want Nazuna to be killed because of him.
Nazuna does not have anything to say on this point.
She stews on the idea of a human who can indeed kill vampires.
There are a lot of thoughts to carry. But she does ask Ko if this means he is quitting.
He does not intend to, but he is worried. Which, well, is more than justified. Ko also recognizes how Mahiru, and Akira in particular, had a terrifying experience with the vampire they met the other night. According to Ko, it was the first time he was even afraid of vampires so far. So, more so than the first encounter with Seri and the kidnapping situation from some time ago.
Nazuna, also to her comedic credit, tells him it is more than a bit late for him to have been afraid.
Ko, having had this important talk with Nazuna, considers how it has helped him identify the fears he has. If he has become able to recognize the fears, he can then work on management. Fear, in and of itself, is not terrible. It lets him know what is important, and what worries him. He will have to confront these fears, if he wants to move forward.
They will need to confront them together, if they hope to stay together.
Ko gets another opportunity for a night walk with Mahiru some time later. The flower shop delivery boy was on an errand, and it gives him the chance to direct some of his own questions about why Ko wants to become a vampire. Of all the things Ko has considered fun in recent times… would he even need to be a vampire to continue to do it? What would he want to do as a result of becoming a vampire?
To give voice to the critical thought after the other night: the former teacher they encountered could have killed Akira.
If Ko does become a vampire: is he going to manipulate and trick people so he can drink their blood? Will he refuse to drink, and by extension lose control of himself just like the teacher they discovered the other night? Would he then attack random people in bloodlust, like what happened to Akira? Because Ko would need to drink to avoid such a fate. There are critical logistical and dietary considerations which will determine his future. Those vampire rules are pretty ironclad.
Mahiru is again glad he has been able to reconnect with Ko in recent times. He does not want to pressure him into making a decision right away about his future. Rather, because it is such an important thing, he wants Ko to dig down. To make sure he thinks about what it means to become a vampire. In all the ways it entails.
Ko wandering back over to Nazuna at her apartment, and hugging her straight away, bookends well with his prior actions this episode. He just wants to hold her for a while.
On another night, at the request of Nazuna, the two hang out at the Yamori apartment instead.
After Ko checks if the coast is clear, of course. Ko only has to see if his mom is working late or not. His dad has been gone since an earlier divorce.
While not quite divorce level, our leads have been going through a lot in their own way. The change in hangout location would do them both some good. And besides, it is also plenty fair for Nazuna to not have to host so much. Nazuna uses the time to make a theatrical search for secret porn stashes, while also asking if Ko is reconsidering anything about their relationship. It is an important conversation topic. Even if Nazuna can not approach it one hundred percent head on without needing a comedic crutch to try and soften the mood.
But by her own admission: it would be weird if Ko was not unsure.
Ko recognizes how much he loves the night, while it is also not all fun and games. There is the potential for genuine harm, in visceral ways he had never considered real before. Where he steps on a landmine is a slight remark about how Nazuna is not in any particular eager hurry to make him an offspring. Which is… hurtful for her to hear spoken out loud. Even if it has been true of how she has treated their relationship. Ko at least recognizes he worded this in a way which made the girl in his bed quite sad.
She responds not in any sort of anger or frustration, but with depression and admission.
She asks why Ko may have felt the night was so fun, in all this time they were spending together. He considers it was because of the freedom it provided. Which Nazuna points out is true, but only in a certain way. Because things were out of the ordinary for him. From where Nazuna sits, it has been decades since she became a vampire. She might be good at video games now. But, a lot of her experience being a vampire is pretty boring. The nights can bleed together. She wanted to show Ko all kinds of fun activities at night for a simple reason: she wanted to see the world in such a way too.
She is sorry if he thinks she lied to him. Being a vampire is not endless fun.
There is a moment where there is the potential they might kiss, only for Nazuna to tease Ko for having the thought. She disappears out the window.
He can think about all the things she said, to help him come to a decision.
Given the magnitude of Ko contemplating his own humanity, calling yet another consultant is more than justified.
And so, he does indeed make use of his own business card to call out Anko for a chat. Not in a cafe. Not even the office which Mahiru was in before. But outside, at night. For whatever meager advantage it may be worth, Ko might be able to maintain better conversational footing in the environment which has made him so comfortable. Ko never states this himself, but I feel it is more than implied given the nature of the request. He is, after all, up against a smooth talking professional detective. She has already outplayed him before.
As if ready to disorient him right from the start, Anko jokes about not wanting to string the romantic hopes of a teenager along. Steady enough, Ko asks how much she knows about him. It seems to be: Plenty. Family background, grades, how he manages porn on his phone. She then plays it all off. She jokes how a lot of this is not so much actual detective work, but just deductive reasoning. Ko is embarrassed and rattled in the moment. But he also recognizes later in the episode how she is for sure not joking about the thorough nature of her work. She is, indeed, a serious threat.
There is also some information Anko could not know, such as the exact name Nazuna Nanakusa, without prior background and experience. Ko never said this full name himself in their prior meeting. The same way he never said his dream of wanting to become a vampire. But Anko knows.
Trying to stick to a prepared list of questions to not get thrown off by Anko and her antics, he does ask for her perspective and why she hates vampires.
As far as she is concerned, humans are allowed to cause problems for other humans. Unfortunate, but at least equivalent types of beings. But if a vampire causes a problem for humans, this is evil in her eyes. These entities are not equals. There is a power imbalance. One even feeds on the other.
Can Ko say, for certain, he will be comfortable drinking human blood? Because, again, this is a literal requirement for being a vampire. Embracing or rejecting it, this will have a cost, one way or another.
As if to end any further lines of prepared questions Ko may have brought, she then starts reveling in ways she can throw him off balance. Anko knows he has not yet fallen in love with Nazuna, despite all the time she knows Ko has spent with Nazuna. She prods about how he might lack romantic urges, and gushes with glee about how much of a problem this would be. She knows about how much of a liability a human with knowledge of vampires and their society woulds be. As well as the threat Nazuna would be under, for causing such a problem in the first place.
Anko is nothing short of unhinged, in her own way, throughout this sequence.
She knows a whole lot about the dire situation Ko is in.
She is bringing everything she has to bear to make Ko uncomfortable. Not just in general, but also with the idea of becoming a vampire in particular. In this episode, Nazuna and Mahiru have been more understanding with the notion of giving Ko space and time to make such a decision with so much weight. Anko is seeking to force the issue right this very moment: vouch for humanity, and she will do anything for him.
Anything, everything, for the rest of her life. She will keep him safe.
Yes, even what she is implying Ko and his imagination is thinking about.
She will also kill every single vampire who comes after him.
This ends up being the livewire which forces Ko to reject her with defiance. Ko may be unsure of a lot of things. But, Anko has overplayed the moment and her hand here. Ko does not want any harm to come to any vampires, not like this. He is sympathetic to how they have their own worries and concerns, just like regular humans.
Anko is resigned about the situation. But, she is an adult just toying with a teenager, at the end of the day. She is not too worried about not getting what she wants. She was being reasonable before, in her eyes.
All she has to do is pull out her phone and call the authorities. For extra points from the cops, she just throws her voice a bit about being so very worried about a teenage boy in the area roaming around at night. He sure is making things unsafe for local women out late.
A simple pickup from the police, and this will be the end of Ko and his night escapades. Even without much of a record, it would for sure bring things to the attention of his mom. Ko would be under much stricter schedules. No more skipping school, and thus no more vampire shenanigans.
There are so few people out and about at night, as we have seen throughout the series. Which also makes Ko a sitting duck for night shift police officers in need of something to do. Who have now been told to be on the lookout for someone with his description.
He has no choice but to bolt, regretting how he still had questions he wanted to ask Anko. Why did the vampire from the other night think her blood tasted so awful? What sorts of things would make the blood Ko has taste super good by comparison? And how on Earth did she manage to turn the vampire to dust? There were multiple factors at play in the slaying. The blood Anko provided. The silver ring she put in his hand. There was sunlight at dawn, but we have seen this not be a death sentence for Nazuna before.
Perhaps she knew Ko would get to those kinds of questions. Perhaps she did not.
But Ko has no time to wonder these what-ifs, with police now on an active search.
Hiding in a playground, a setting where they met up so many times early on, the one thing Ko wants at this moment is to talk with Nazuna. Enough to mutter it out loud.
While not her, a vampire Ko knows does manage to hear him and come to his aid: Hatsuka. The quietest and most unassuming one at the old kidnapping rooftop party.
It has been so long since we saw them, they ask if Ko even remembers them from before. Hatsuka is not sure if they are even remembering Ko by the right name or not. But Ko confirms they are.
And Ko remembers Hatsuka as well.
Any port in a storm, and Hatsuka will need to be the ship to see Ko navigate the night.