How would you rate episode 12 of
Yohane the Parhelion -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR ?
Community score: 4.1
When we were kids I’d console you, there, afraid of the dark. You were always a seamstress and kept me from falling apart. We held each other in orbit; Binary stars – “God & the Billboards” by Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties
I’m alright. I’m okay. Uh, give me a few
days weeks minutes to center myself. Lemme catch my breath. While we’re waiting you can go listen to that song I quoted up there. It’s good, I promise.
The fact that I felt inspired to quote an unrelated song for this review should tell you how hard this episode hit me. I only pull that move out when something punches my heart with enough force that I can’t help but be sappy. “Farewell, Lailaps” manages that and then some, crafting an entire episode around a simultaneously tragic and touching reveal that Yohane and Laliaps have been trying to ignore for the entire show. Sure, for the better part of a month, it’s been pretty clear that Lailaps’ power of speech was due to some childhood magic by Yohane, and the implications were so heavy that she would have to give it up to resolve the Calamity. There’s still a huge difference between knowing that and willing yourself to face the changes it represents.
Mea culpa, I might have exaggerated slightly about Lailaps being doomed to die, but from a certain perspective it’s not that big of an overstatement. Sure, Lailaps will still be around after this. She’ll still be Yohane’s friend even if she can only bark now, but that change is more than just material. It represents Yohane having to say goodbye to the relationship that made her who she is today and losing a loving confidant who kept her head above water when she was a lonely kid, desperate to be understood by somebody. Even if their connection changing isn’t the same as losing it forever, it’s an intensely hard thing to let go of. At the same time, Lailaps was afraid of being forgotten, even as she wanted her friend, her sister, to be happy. The idea that saying goodbye to someone you love is what’s best for them is a hard pill to swallow, and this pill doesn’t even have one of those treats with hollow insides that you can sneak it into to trick dogs into taking their medicine. So, of course, it took a whole season of denial and deflection to finally face their crisis.
That was already conceptually compelling, but what lands this entire storyline is the delivery. Everything is articulated beautifully between the dreamlike psychic connection allowing Yohane’s and Lailap’s memories to mix, the consistently excellent soundtrack, and the amount of throat-punching lines preceding their farewell song. That performance is great, bringing back the fantastical theatrics of the premiere in a perfect bit of book-ending. What sealed the deal, though, was the first time Yohane heard Lailaps bark instead of speak. It’s loud, harsh, and genuinely unsettling after a whole season of Yōko Hikasa‘s vocal performance. The little trembling of Yohane’s lip when it happens, as if she’s trying her hardest to hold back a sob, perfectly captures the bittersweetness of it all.
Really, “saying goodbye” is something the franchise has struggled with for nearly its entire existence. Since School Idol Project‘s second season ended with that movie announcement, there’s been an ever-present tension between letting these characters move on or keeping them stationary so the good times can continue to roll. It’s a theme that has come up again and again as each series’ third-years approach the looming threat of graduation, necessitating movies, OVAs, or timeline-shattering crossover games to keep them around. Ironically, Sunshine in the Mirror left all the school trappings behind, yet it’s the entry that finally manages to take that final step, at least in part.
It remains to be seen if Yohane says goodbye to Numazu and her new friends. However, she’s undeniably moving on to a new phase of her life, one where she’ll no longer have her big, fluffy compatriot to lean on. It’s a big step for Yohane as a character and as a franchise, and I’m excited to see where both will go from here.
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.