This is it: THE chance for the director of Mouyou no Hako to show that he’s not just a one-trick-pony, but instead an incredible director. And oh my god, he really showed the latter. Madhouse have truly truck gold when they found this guy, because this episode was one of the best episodes of Aoi Bungaku yet!
You can really see his style from Mouryou no Hako flow through into Hashire Melos, the work he’s adapting. The sakura trees are there, the heavy use of lighting, and the protagonists also are quite similar in appearance, and both novel authors. Heck, it even has the same soundtrack as Mouryou no Hako. This episode satisfied my inner Mouryou no Hako-fanboy, while delivering its own strong story that aside from these things, doesn’t rip it off in the slightest and stands strong as a gripping episode.
The scenes in the theatre were a very nice twist: basically this episode told two stories: one story about the author of a novel and his best friend, an actor, and one story, which he’s currently writing. Interestingly enough, Masato Sakai who has been voicing all of the leads of Aoi Bungaku so far, ends up voicing Melos: the lead character of the play. I love how in this way, the creators are playing around with the concepts of “lead characters”.
But yeah, what makes this episode stand out is its sense of dialogue. It’s passionate, detailed and brings out the best of the characters. There’s so much emotion put into it, yet none of the lines are delivered cheesily.
And then the animation! It’s by far the best animation of Aoi Bungaku yet, and that in an already excellently animated series. This episode doesn’t have the best eye-candy, that’s for In the Forest. Instead, the characters move SO incredibly fluently. when they move, their entire bodies move, rather than just a limb, or some very minimal movement during just a short scene. The animation here is detailed and really brings the cast of characters to life.
There was one scene though in which this didn’t apply. I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but the part in which the lead characters’ friend comes crawling from under the bed lacks this detail, and therefore ends up a bit weird.
I’m not sure whether I understood everything in this episode, but the main storyline seems to talk about two friends who live together: one is a scriptwriter, the other is an actor. The scriptwriter is seen writing the story of Melos, the lead character of the play. At a certain point, his friend suggests to go to Tokyo, because his father would not allow him to continue acting. When the lead character is boarding the train, however, he is betrayed. The episode ended a bit too soon for me to actually make out how and why, but I expect the next episode to delve into that one.
Rating: *** (Awesome)