There are certain series, no question, whose appeal lies in the slow-motion train-wreck effect. This narrative is a series of disasters waiting to happen, mostly (though not exclusively) to evil and unpleasant people. That’s not a lot of fun a lot of the time, but it is undeniably fascinating – for a series based on the paranormal, Pet’s takes on human behavior can be surprisingly realistic. And that, I think, is why it’s as unnerving as it is – the sense that everything here apart from the crushing and doll-making is pretty much how people act in the real world.
The showdown between Tsukasa and the new CEO and prospective father – with “big brother” Jin at his side – is a nice illustration of this. You could set aside the issue of what it is that makes these people important to the company and what would be left is a perfectly realistic tale of manipulation and paranoia. Tsukasa is increasingly losing it, and desperate to eliminate what he sees as the threat of Satoru. The CEO wants to test Tsukasa’s loyalty by prying his pet away from him – weakening him in the process – and is using the threat of telling Satoru what happened to his peak-giver if Tsukasa doesn’t comply.
I won’t deny there’s a certain pleasure in seeing Tsukasa get squeezed and grow ever-more unhinged. But the company has even more leverage than they’re letting on – they’ve kept Hayashi around to use as a hedge. And it’s Hiroki who finds him, as he’s being stashed (in the morgue, fittingly enough) in the same hospital he’s sent to after collapsing at the party. According to Hiroki the fact that Hayashi’s locus (the wind) is still perceptible means he hasn’t been fully crushed, though you’d never know that by looking at him.
Hiroki being the childlike creature of impulse he is (he’s already hypnotized Katsuragi to slip away from him, which will have repercussions I’m thinking), he decides to try and help this fellow once he finds him. Hiroki has no idea this is Hayashi at first, but what he sees inside his mind is instantly familiar. And the snatches of the truth he sees force him to confront what’s probably the worst case scenario – that he’s Tsukasa’s pet and nothing more. He can try and deny it but now that he knows it’s true, I don’t think even Tsukasa could disabuse him of the notion. And not only that, he now knows that Tsukasa crushed Hayashi – which in Hiroki’s worldview is unforgivable.
Like I said, slow-motion train wreck. My personal hope is that it’s Hiroki who finally crushes Tsukasa once and for all – he has the most right, though Hayashi and Satoru certainly wouldn’t be unjustified. I’d also like to see Hayashi brought back from the hell he’s trapped in but that seems very unlikely. And even if he was, we’ve seen what the experience did to Tsukasa, and Hayashi has surely been more deeply crushed for a much longer period of time – he’d be a disaster even if Satoru was able to bring him back. But if Hayashi did come back, even if he were doomed I suspect he’d use his remaining strength to try and take down the company once and for all – and that would be the nearest I could imagine to a happy ending in this depressing existential cesspool of a story.