Mai Will Save Kaito’s Life
Ever since Gaim 33, I’ve become increasingly worried about Kaito’s well-being. His moment with Mai, where he finally acknowledges her strength, is what cements Kaito’s character transformation from an anti-hero to a hero who’s just kind of a jerk. It’s not a stretch to think, then, that the show is gearing up for Kaito to make a heroic sacrifice.
So it was especially worrisome when, in episode 36 (review), Redue inflicts a pretty nasty wound on Kaito – one that’s reminiscent of the types of injuries that started the Helheim infection in Zawame back around episode 13. We never saw what became of those who were infected, which is probably not a promising sign.
Later in that same episode, Kaito visits Mai on the rooftop to discuss the situation with Mitsuzane. Mai informs him that it’s weak to simply give up on him and assume he’s an irredeemable enemy, a conclusion which – shockingly – Kaito agrees with! He tells Mai, “You are strong, in your own way.”
This isn’t the first time those two have discussed the nature of strength in this exact spot. Back in episode 24, Kaito said to her, at this very spot:
“The weak will meet their judgement before long, and the value of the strength you feel so strongly about will be put to the test. When you face unimaginable power, when it grinds you into the dust and drives you to despair … if you can still stand up and dance … then I will respect your so-called strength.”
What ends up happening is, of course, that Mai was right all along. It was easy for Kaito to puff his chest up about only the strong deserving survival when he had never had to survive based on his own strength, nor had he seen the disastrous consequences of wielding power irresponsibly – until he met Demushu.
Kaito and Mai’s interactions weave in and out of the entire narrative of Gaim. In episode 12, she meets Kaito in the abandoned lot that once housed the holy tree of Takatsukasa Shrine – what later is revealed to be a flora native to Helheim, which Redue utilizes to gain access to Zawame. Mai and Kaito had crossed paths as children, in a place that they both treasured dearly. This is also the first time she meets the so-called Alternate Mai, who comes to warn her of her impending fate. Which is, presumably, becoming Alternate Mai.
And then finally, their first scene alone together in episode 8, where Kaito reveals his hatred of Yggdrasil – and Mai reveals that she hates them just the same, for the same reasons: the destruction of Zawame City. And this is their first discussion about the nature of strength; whereas Kaito considers strength an exercise of power, Mai considers it an exercise of perseverance.
This all happens immediately after Mai bandages a nasty-looking cut on Kaito’s arm. Wait a second … that cut looks awfully familiar.
Warning – speculation ahead.
As I wrote in my review of Gaim 38, I think Mai is nearing the end of her rope. The alternating close-ups of her and Kouta’s face make this scene seem like a true goodbye, and now Mitsuzane has captured her. The popular theory has been, for some time, that Alternate Mai is actually Roshuo’s queen, but the pieces never really added up.
Until now. It’s obvious that Alternate Mai has a similar relationship with the forest as the Overlords, which means that the thought she could be Queen Overlord is a fair one. And now we have Mai on her way to Helheim, and a machine working to revive the Queen. It’s easy to see how this could all end with the two beings somehow merging or Mai gaining the powers of an Overlord and doing what she can to warn the others and avert this tragedy, but ultimately failing to do so.
And then there’s Kaito’s cut. That Kaito would suffer a cut that Mai would bandage, only to later suffer a superficially identical injury that would require mystical control over Helheim’s forces to eliminate – something that we can likely safely presume Alternate Mai is capable of doing – is too perfect to be mere coincidence.
The scenes between Kaito and Mai appeared to be, early on in the series, to be the classic trope of tough-dude at odds with kind-hearted-girl. But no theme has been as consistent throughout Gaim as the mutual maturation of Kaito and Mai. Is it any wonder, then, that Kouta’s development appears to have taken a back seat as of late?
There’s no way to know how accurate my predictions are, but it’s clear that none of this is a mistake. The relationship parallel between Kouta and Mai Vs. Kaito and Alternate Mai has been hinted at since the opening sequence from the show’s very first episode. Seemingly trivial plot threads are converging to form something much larger.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to find out what.
Your powers of analysis amaze me still. I can’t believe we only have about 10 episodes to go already :(