More than any other cover for this series, this one is the least representative.
Episodes 17-19 act as one of the series biggest jokes. This is a series where the humor is based on it’s position in the sliding scale of idealism vs. cynicism (it’s somewhere between “Things will get better after I kill myself” and “I’m a worthless piece of shit”). After the whole MMO debacle, Sato gets roped into a pyramid scheme by one of his former classmates. His attempts of breaking off the deal goes badly (even when he has help from Misaki and Yamazaki……. never mind, it makes sense why it didn’t work.) until the three arrive at his classmate’s home, where they discover that….
Her brother is also a hikikimori and she’s so far in debt taking care of him after their father died. By the way, I’m not holding back on spoilers.
This series’ sick sense of humor makes it, also, one of the more affecting moments in the series, as well as funny. While Sato is a hikikimori, he has been getting better, being able to leave his house with help from Misaki and Yamazaki (considering what happens in the finale, their help shows). Sato’s classmate’s brother, on the other hand, is the extreme that Sato has threatened (or been threatened) to become: never leaving his room, banging his foot to signal that he needs food, always playing MMOs (replace MMOs with “always watching anime” and you have an nearly apt description of my senior year of high school). He realizes his problems, but is too scared to change.
The punch line to this sick joke is this: when Sato’s classmate is arrested, his food source dries up, he goes outside, and gets a job, which makes him a happier person. This show’s sense of humor is weird (also, spoilers, this is foreshadowing).
Episode 20, on the other hand, follows Yamazaki’s problems: why he’s at the school he’s at, his family situation, and why he’s so driven. It then results in him, with Sato’s help, burning his bridge that he would regret upon leaving. It’s funny, yet poignant (something the suicide party story wanted to be, but couldn’t).
Honestly, as the series nears the end, the dark sense of humor is creating some oddly nice dramatic moments that hit home. As someone feeling a sense of melancholy before returning to school (this site is all that I’ve done all Summer and it’s a testament that I don’t do much of anything), these are the parts that remind me why I’m rewatching this specific series: things could always be worse and I need to pick myself up (though rewatching Baccano! at the same time is helping as well, just in different ways).