Points to Phil for not only making Tom genuinely creepy here but for actually making me briefly concerned for Taro. If you’ve read ahead or remember Gnometown, you might consider it regrettable that some rando cultist didn’t just sneak-grab Taro and insta-sacrifice him before Iwatani Sr. could stop him. And in the broader sense, it probably would be better for the world if that happened. But in this moment, Taro’s arrogance and bloodlust are nowhere to be found, and his crimes aren’t that fresh in our minds. He’s just a scared boy, and it feels wrong to threaten a scared boy.

Plus, the notion of parents “unburdening themselves” of children, even children with some sociopathic tendencies, reminds me of a short horror story called “Letters from Camp” by Al Sarrantonio, which kept me awake a few nights as a teenager. Look that one up if you must, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This kind of “Extreme Take Your Son to Work Day” is actually not a bad idea for the future Iwatani envisions for his son. His biggest mistake, as usual, is to assume his son is just a miniature version of himself at the same age and therefore blind himself to whom Taro’s really becoming.