Posted by psgels on 22 November 2009 with categories: Aoi Bungaku



Holy crap, a double feature of one of my favourite currently airing series. Can things get any better? Episodes 7 and 8 animate the story of Kokoro. I’m not going to bother making separate entries for these two episodes, because they were bundled together as one. And really, Kokoro is just as good, if not better than the previous stories!

During the first half, it might seem a bit like a step down in comparison to In the Woods and No Longer Human, in which we have this lead character who lives together with a woman he likes, and he then invites a friend of his to live in his house, to study with him. This friend quickly steals the girl he likes away. For the most of the first episode, it’s a bit too one sided.

Then the second episode starts, and the fun begins, and the story gets a completely different dimension.

The second episode actually shows the same story from the perspective of the friend. While he was this big brute who took advantages of women in the eyes of the lead character, his real character is completely different. What an awesome idea, and it’s really well executed. This episode is really about love and prejudices, and what they can do to people who normally would just hang out peacefully together. Because they only know part of the story, people’s imaginations start filling in the blanks. Notice how some details of the story differ from the perspective of both of them: the parts in the first episode in which the tall guy was alone simply are what the lead character thought that he was doing at the time.

The rest of this series’ schedule also seems to be a bit weird. Hashire Melos! seems to air regularly during the next two weeks. After that, there is a break of TWO WEEKS, until the second day of Christmas, at which both the final stories will air. I really love the tight schedule of the past few weeks: sundays have always been a blast thanks to this series, but those two weeks are probably going to be one hell of a wait for the final two stories.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

19 Responses

  1. Oh, I’m so excited to see this subbed!!! :D When you say 7 and 8 were bundled together, so you mean that they were aired back to back on the same night?

  2. Eep, nevermind-I went back and looked at my own comment to you and see that they were indeed aired on the same night.

  3. Julian says:

    The first story is like a sor tof a feature story, it doesn’t really explain why K suicided.

    The 2nd episode is like a sort of novella which explains K’s psychology and the REAL reason why loves her and why he suicided.

    To sum things up- in a childish way- the student is egoistic and K is secretely suffering…the student is REALLY just narrating the first episode at an external point of view :P.

  4. reverse says:

    even though the ending kinda predictable from the start.
    at first this kinda boring, but I was wrong
    this one pretty awesome :3 , story from K perspective is nicely done

  5. foamer says:

    It seems like both guys got played by the daughter and the mother was at fault too, she lied about the marriage proposals, stirring up further trouble.

  6. m says:

    Ah, this discussion has become more lively. The first episode is a poor adaptation of a portion of the final arc of the book. There are a number of liberties taken with the narrative and most of the context was elided, leaving the viewer to infer the feelings and motives of the protagonist. That could have been interesting if they had preserved the feel of the story more. I don’t think it was one-sided, though it did tilt in the direction of flattering K through omissions of details, alteration of the narrative, and the choice of character designs. K is depicted as a stoic Adonis filled with determination, while Sensei is made into some pampered and effeminate Zetsubou-Sensei. Rather than viewing K as a womanizing brute, Sensei merely becomes jealous of him and feels betrayed by him.

    For his part, K is given a bunch of lines impugning Sensei’s motives for helping him and comments about wealth that were never part of the story, the conflict between his asceticism and his desire for Ojousan and how it was manipulated by Sensei and the role it plays in his suicide is completely absent, and his suicide is transformed into a defiant blow aimed at Sensei.

    The second episode is pretty much rubbish. Rather than provide insight into K’s psyche as it purports to do, it alters the characters of the story beyond recognition until they’re just pointless actors in a melodrama. The connection to the story is made even more tenuous by the process of injecting stereotypes whose bases lie in exaggerations introduced by the first adaptation. If they had used the time available to do a better job of telling the story in the first place, we would have a better picture of K and why he killed himself than we ever got from this.

  7. kyon says:

    i love these episodes , they were so good

  8. Julian says:

    @m: It’s BASED from a novel, it isn’t a novel TRANSFORMED into an anime…if they remained faithful to the story, the 2 episodes would’ve been a BIG deception for those who’ve read the book for lack of originality. In the novel version of “In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom”, did you see a MP3? –‘ No (nervertheless the novel is a LOT more explicit than the anime). And I don’t think that they put stereotypes to the 2nd episode. It’s from K’s point of view..the 2nd episode explains WHY he became a monk: He’s scared of the modernization of the society where’s he’s living, and it’s lack of communication—both verbal and body, thus why he became a monk and I remind you that it’s from K’s point of view; Sensei’s point of view isn’t really the same from Sensei’s and vice versa. Did you REALLY study the book before commenting here –‘? I doubt…

  9. m says:

    There are alterations to all of the adaptations, but they are structure-preserving alterations for stylistic flourish while the alterations to this narrative preserves almost nothing from the story that it is based upon except the most vague of plot points. Do you think that I need you to incoherently point out to me that it isn’t identical? If you want a lot of “originality,” why are you watching Aoi Bungaku in the first place? For such anachronisms as the presence of iPods? Surely that’s on par with completely changing the nature of the relationships of the characters.

    The K of the second episode has no relationship at all with the K from the story, and is rooted entirely in stereotypical dissonance between appearance and character whose origin is simply the character designs selected for the anime and have absolutely no connection whatsoever to the book. It should behoove you to be reluctant to accuse someone else of not “studying” the book prior to commenting when you think that K’s asceticism stems from his fear of modernization. Feel free to cite the portion of Sensei’s letter that supports that position.

  10. Forwho says:

    Hmm, I don’t like these 2 episodes.

    Though I have not read the novel, I agree with m. The navigator stated that the 2nd episode will expound the reasons why K will commit suicide, but I don’t think it’s executed out well. It seems shady and well, there’s not that kind of impact I will expect of this series which have given us the previous 2 adaptations so wonderfully. IMHO.

  11. andrea says:

    This arc was pretty good tough I don’t think it was awesome. It’s just that the plot isn’t good enough despite being a novel adaptation. I think that in a post you made a comparison between Aoi Bungaku and Kuchu Buranko; I too tought I would have enjoyed Aoi Bungaku for the story and Kuchu Buranko for the visuals. Instead it’s quite the opposite, I’m impressed by the production value of Aoi and enjoy a lot the characters of kuchu buranko. The facial expressions of K and is hair were astonishing.

  12. headachebaby says:

    I love the music in Aoi Bungaku…I like the 2nd part of this story better although I feel that the first story “No Longer Human” being 4 episode was better because it got more character study. I each story could have more episodes because it deserves it.

  13. pgal says:

    I have a question. Does the Kokoro novel show the narration from the viewpoint of K? I thought I heard the narrator say that it isn’t from the novel…or I could have misheard him.

  14. Matsuoka Miu says:

    At pgal:

    You heard right, K’s viewpoint is anime only.

    For those who are interested and want to read the novel:

    (English)
    http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/ns/soseki.html

    (Japanese)
    http://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000148/files/773_14560.html

  15. Gary says:

    I have to agree with M. I studied this book in college as part of a class on Japanese literature, and it was one of my favorite books. Many years later, I saw this anime, and I was thinking to myself, was the book really like that? So I pulled out the book again, and skimmed through it. It’s really not the same. The anime butchers the book, and you lose most of the sophistication. One of the telling differences is that is in the book K’s last line in his suicide note is “Why did I wait so long to die?” This is completely different in tone from “This summer was so beautiful.”

  16. Immelman says:

    I didn’t like this episodes. The director wants to sell us the salme story with two different points of view, but in the end, there are too many differences to say that it’s telling the same story. There re two major problems: the discussion on the bench, and the behaviour of the girl.
    While in the first episode, it’s sensei that asks K for advice, in the second one, it’s the opposite. It’s just not the same story, and not a problem of point of view. and finally, why did the Ojou sama burst in tears in Sensei’s arms? It can’t be only in his imagination. Or else, as a previous viewer said, it’s just that she played with both men’s heart.

  17. Lauren says:

    As a person who’s never read the book, I rather enjoyed seeing it as double-perspective tale. However, I agree the content was a bit troubling. For me personally, I think they made Sensei appear toooooooo egotistic or judgmental or whatever in the first ep, to the point where even if he was in the clear to be suspicious of K, it didn’t feel right to side with him.
    I didn’t mind how they portrayed the girl in both episodes. Well, actually, I felt she was too forward, direct, and sneaky with K in the 2nd. but then again, she didn’t feel that out of character either. In the first, it was hard to tell if she liked him or if she was scared of him, or if it was both.

    The second ep shocked me because of how diffrent K’s perspective of everything was. So I actually really enjoyed it. I was always a believer of giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, so I liked seeing that K was actually a good guy. and it was really the girl that was hitting on him. which I suspected from ep 1. It just goes to show how we as humans always bend reality in our minds to protect our self-image. it’s called the “self-serving bias”. K being portrayed as tormented by his friend’s stare and suspicions (Sensei was always glaring from behind his shiny glasses) was very well done in my opinion.

    What I don’t get is why the girl never showed up at the station. and K’s suicide still doesn’t make sense to me. my only is if they made Sensei a more relatable character. all I saw was a jealous prick/douchebag both envious of and pitying his supposed “friend”. when he got married, I didn’t feel happy for him. I felt sad for the girl and K.

  18. LifeCarrier says:

    I agree with m, having not read the story I didn’t like at all the second episode, I felt they butchered the spirit you could infer of the novel from the first chapter.

    They not only made Sensei a ridiculous evil mastermind but they also made K’ into a weak and resentful individual removing most of his austere stoicism from the first chapter.

  19. MrMocha says:

    i agree with immelman, it felt like she was playing with both them, but i dont understand why one story is in the summer and the other is in the winter if its the same thing from a different perspective. Its like they were going for a certain feel to the story(sensei being jealous of k, and k turning out not to be such a bad guy)
    but did too much crap to the characters to get there. it doesnt feel like, “hey, this is what that character looks like from the other side of the looking glass”, it feels like, “hey, the is what the character looks like after weve changed a few things”

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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