Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 12 Review
There’s a concept that comes up in the fiction that I have my doubts about: the idea that you can just “rewrite” a memory by doing the exact same thing with a different person or intention. Most often it seems to pop up in romance, where a character thinks that a bad romantic or sexual experience can be “rewritten” to remove the trauma, but there’s been a lingering sense in Deaimon that perhaps Itsuka can rewrite her memories and trauma about her father’s abandonment with Nagomu – or at least that’s how it’s felt to Itsuka herself. And maybe that is what Nagomu’s parents intended when they first presented the idea of Nagomu acting as a father to the girl way back at the series’ start; no one in his family is especially good at communicating what they actually mean, so even if that wasn’t the point they were making, it would have been easy for someone, like Itsuka, to misunderstand what they were saying.
Even if Itsuka was unaware of the idea, she’s been very resistant to Nagomu’s advances. There are a lot of reasons why she’d feel such complicated emotions where he’s concerned: he’s the biological son of the family that took her in, so she may fear that he’ll displace her, and his parents were hurt by his move to Tokyo, so she’s not going to like him because he was “mean” to the people who took her in, his personality may just be one that clashes with her own, all fluff to her prickles. But a piece of her also seems to fear that if she treats Nagomu like a father figure, it’ll displace her biological dad in her heart and mind and that somehow accepting Nagomu in that role means that the father who left her won’t ever come back.
Because of her competency and put-together attitude, I feel like not many of the characters have necessarily understood Itsuka as a person. Again, this may not be the case with Nagomu’s parents, but they’re not champion communicators, so even if the attempt was made, they may not have gotten through. But for all of his faults, Nagomu is able to see through most of Itsuka’s defenses. He knows that she’s been to the amusement park before and that she’s looking for her father the whole time they’re there, but he doesn’t say anything because the point is to let her work things through as best she can, in her own time. He doesn’t make a big deal out of the moment when she grabs his shirt out of fear that she lost him and only steps in when she needs him to, at the very end of the episode when he tells her that just because her father didn’t show up today, that doesn’t mean that she won’t ever see him again. And in the meantime, he’s there for her, even if she’s not sure she’s allowed to accept him as a substitute father figure yet.
I said that her father didn’t show up rather than that he didn’t come because it looks very much like he did arrive, he just didn’t let Itsuka see him. While I’m sure we all have mixed feelings about that and theories of what he was thinking, I think it’s worth noting that he looked much less conflicted and more put-together than we’ve seen him since his (presumptive) high school days. He may have simply wanted to see for himself that Itsuka is doing fine, and while that certainly could be read as selfish since we know that she misses him, he also may believe that leaving her at the confectionery is the best and most stable thing for her at this point. It’s hard to say, but the implication I take from it is that he’s less of a villain and more a father in over his head trying to do the best thing for his daughter, even if we don’t agree with how he goes about it. Sometimes there are no perfect solutions, and this may well be one of them.
If you were hoping for a solid conclusion to Deaimon, well, this isn’t one. There are still a lot of threads dangling and questions left unanswered. But Itsuka, Nagomu, and Kanoko all seem to be in better places than they were, with the sense that they’re going to keep moving forward. It may be too late for Nagomu’s dad to learn not to be a jerk to his son or to understand that not all innovation is a bad thing, but maybe he’s more like Itsuka with his social prickles than Nagomu. In any event, this is a comfortable ending if not a final one, and for the kind of show it is, I think that works.
Rating: 4/5 Stars.
Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 12 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.