That awkward moment you get when the bandage on Shiki’s face that existed since the very first chapter turns out to be surprise reveal. I noticed it yet I didn’t notice it. The bandage blended in with Shiki’s overall design that I never found myself wondering why it was there. The moment Shiki began to remove his bandage, my mind literally arrived at the thought – ‘there was a bandage there?’ For a scar that embodies a major moment in Shiki’s life, Mashima-sensei did an amazing job hiding such a relevance. The revelation was such a discombobulating one that I do feel I hoodwinked myself by failing to acknowledge the relevance of the bandage earlier. Even future Shiki that Rebecca met had the scar. What a rush though. Shiki’s scar not only represents a meaningful moment in his past but the act of him removing the bandage signals his resolve to continue forward with his eyes wide open in regards to Ziggy.
Usually moments of transition represents itself through the severance of position or the redesign of image such as the cutting of ones hair or changing their outward appearance. For Shiki, the moment he separated himself from his past and his naivety is when he pulled the bandage off his face. Symbolically, the bandage represented his feelings for Ziggy, specifically, his belief in Ziggy. By carrying out such an act, Shiki has mentally committed himself to leave the past as it is, in the past, and to look at the present and Ziggy through the events that are occurring now. The weight of reality certainly came crashing down on Shiki during the events taking place while in the Aoi Cosmos. The tears Shiki shed have opened his minds to a path he needs to take going forward. The journey he has embarked on is one not only connected to Mother, but one where he needs to defeat Ziggy in order to prevent suffering from compounding within the universe. And in order to face Ziggy the next time they meet, Shiki understands that what is required is strength. To ensure what happened in the Aoi Cosmos doesn’t happen again, Shiki resolves to get stronger. Upon such a declaration, the rest of the Edens Zero crew responds with gestures of agreement.
Turning to Laguna, we finally get a brief summary concerning his past and the friend whom he lost that inspired him to join Oasis. Laguna’s best friend was Harold, who was also an actor and shared in the same dream as Laguna. The two dreamed of becoming the greatest actors in the cosmos and performing together in the biggest theater. Unfortunately, when the Empire attacked their planet, Harold was killed. Harold’s death made Laguna realise how lost he had become in his acting that it became hard to differentiate between his real and pretend self. Even after giving up being an actor, Laguna still finds himself playing a part. And now, with the Empire defeated and his past vengeance sated, he has chosen a new role. A part entrenched in his own desires, one where he wants to help the Edens Zero by carrying them down the path they meant to go. Laguna declares to want to continue alongside the Edens Zero.
The cliff hanger within the chapter is such a curious one. While the story is set for a moment of transition, was a timeskip needed at this exact point? A three year one at that too. The set-up that occurred within the past chapters did create space for further focus to be given to events immediately following the Aoi Cosmos War. What exactly happened to the Interstellar Union Army’s target on the Edens Zero. With Justice under the misinformed opinion that Homura killed Creed, had he not targeted her immediately after the Aoi Cosmos War? And what about Ziggy, has he figured out that Shiki survived him schemes? And than there is Elsie, who farewelled the Ziggy she knew. Are we to believe that during the three years that passed, she didn’t encounter him again and/or attempt to stop his intentions of riding the cosmos of humans/mortals? Three years is honestly a long time and there are a lot of change that can happen during that time, including the introduction of new players within the major powers of the Cosmos and the shuffling of said powers. Rather than the timeskip being based on events that led up to it, I suspect the timeskip is more in place for future set-up.
The relevance of this moment will only fully reveal itself once we learn more about the coming events in Edens Zero. But if there is anything to go by, Xiaomei’s expression when announcing the transition within the story, it appeared melancholy. The manner in how she conveys the move into the future through her gaze suggest something adverse. Why did three years need to pass? Obviously, the crew needed to get stronger but what events needed to play out before being brought back in focus? Hermit’s research into the Edens Zero’s past log is also cause for concern. During the three years the passed, how much additional information has she analyzed? And are the contents consistent with their memories? As for Shiki’s mechanical eye, what else can it do? Very much looking forward to the next chapter and seeing how the universe has changed after three years.