Ah, I see how it is. Urie jr. reliving the difficult choice Urie sr. had to make in order to save his comrades: get left behind while he’s facing a difficult opponent.
I can tell that this is a major turn point for Kuki’s character: up until now, his narrative has been one centered around the topic of camaraderie, or lack thereof. At the beginning of :re, we see him refusing his father’s legacy by deciding that his teammates are not worth his time, but just a hindrance to his path of becoming a special class.
Many characters have been shown to follow this narrative of metaphorically ‘killing’ one’s parent to get rid of their influence, but no one wears the conflict better than Urie, because despite his façade, he’s always subconsciously done the opposite of what he was preaching. He got close enough to Shirazu to be completely destroyed by his premature death, he seeked out a father/mentor figure in Sasaki to the point that he was both jealous of his power and desperately craved his recognition, he formed a bond made out of complete trust with Mutsuki despite his better judgement, he formed a family with Saiko and he became a mentor for the new QS.
So I think that in a sense his desperation at being only able to watch as his loved ones suffered, as Donato put it, and his consequent wish to push himself to his limit to the point that he became one and the same with the ghouls he’s fighting, is something that’s meant to be symbolic.
On the one hand, he’s basically doing what his father did: ordering his subordinates to run while he stays there to keep the enemy busy. So one could argue that this is character development, because he’s finally experiencing what his father must have felt, and will no longer be able to blame him so harshly for his selfish choices.
On the other hand, though, he couldn’t be more different than his father than he is at the moment: first and most noticeably, he’s not yet reached the position of special class. But more importantly, he’s *this* close to becoming a full ghoul, because we all know that in order to put a scratch on Donato, he can’t hold back, so he’ll need to release the full extent of his frame, thus willingly becoming a ghoul, and a major hypocrite. Basically, a major failure on all sides.
So, once again, we come to the established conclusion that this dialectic that pushes the kids to ‘fight’ against their parents’ influences is one that ultimately never leads to positive change. Still, having saved Higemaru might have been his saving grace, because despite all of this I don’t really think that Ishida is going to make him suffer any more besides that. Killing him off now would be anticlimactic, as opposed to make him survive the fight only to find out there is no going back to his human life, and quite possibly to his wishes of climbing the CCG’s ranks. Making him die just as he realizes the irony of reliving his father’s death after swearing he was better than that? Mh, nah.
But I must say that I’m curious now. Which direction will he take after this? I wonder what Matsuri’s opinion of him is going to be like after the recent developments. It also didn’t escape my notice that Mutsuki is in a similar condition, rendered worse by his mental instability. Saiko is this close to openly oppose the CCG’s policies, the only thing she needs is a little push (the old QS leaving the bureau?) Amon is still a wild card.
So… Was I going anywhere with this? Probably, possibly… but at least I have finally found a reason to wait impatiently for the next chapter