Posted by psgels on 21 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



It’s of course easy to immediately start comparing this show to Kaiba, however I opted not to do this for the first four episodes. Simply, because that would not be fair. Kaiba was a stellar series, and amongst my favourites. Expecting the same would just be unrealistic. The interesting thing about anime is that beforehand you almost never know which shows will turn out to be the best. Even more, Kaiba had a stellar first episode. Yojou-han instead was completely focused on building up. Kaiba sold me with its incredibly creative back-story and its gripping narrative. Yojou-han instead has its dialogue, repetition and wit. With a series as Durarara, you can see that it tried to look like Baccano at times, however Yojou-han makes no attempt at trying to catch in on Kaiba’s… um… popularity.

This show is weird: we’re still stuck in those random campus life stories. In this episode, Watashi ends up in a hippie-cult full of peace-loving flower-children that look a lot like scienology. It’s another story of how he completely throws away his first two years at college, just in an attempt to fit in. It’s actually very similar to the third episode in which he couldn’t fit into the cyclist club because he wasn’t athletic, here too he couldn’t fit into the softball club because he wasn’t one of those people who always look at the bright side of life. Here things got carried way more out of control though, because Ozu was surprisingly absent here. He for once only caused trouble that helped Watashi.

What’s also interesting is that Akashi still is Higuchi’s disciple. Her role seems to be all over the place, it seems. Sometimes she ends up joining the same club as Watashi, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s straight-up his love interest, but this episode has him chasing after someone completely different. I think a key is also that she’s a year younger than him, so by the time that she gets to join college he’s also completely involved in whatever stupid club he’s involved in. I think a major theme in this show has been the contrast between Watashi’s image of romance, between the types of girls that he’s actually interested in. Watashi ends up in such a huge mess every time because his expectations of college life are completely different, and instead of choosing a club that fits him he instead keeps choosing clubs that fits the romantic image that he has in his head. He just is an anti-social character, and I’m beginning to think that Ozu and Akashi always end up with him because they too aren’t fond of socializing and doing regular college stuff.

I also labelled Watashi as a loser once, but that also doesn’t quite turn out to be the truth. He can be quite successful when he wants to: he can train and become very muscular, he can make a lot of money through jobs, he can put together an entire movie on his own. It’s not like he’s not good at anything, he just doesn’t use his energy at the right places and instead wastes it on stupid stuff that only make his life miserable.

In any case, what I’m trying to say here is that Yojou-han episodes have this weird effect. Especially this one. Overall this episode was enjoyable, though nothing special when you get past the styles. There were a number of interesting jokes, plus the critique at scientology also had its moments, but it’s nothing that I would label amongst Giant Killing and Sarai-ya Goyou as my favourite of this season. However the final few minutes in a Yojou-han episode are very often the best ones. We get to see the point at which Watashi snaps and turns back time, but the whole episode also comes together surprisingly clever. This episode even added to the previous episode (explaining that the 20000 leagues under sea novel and the globe actually were from Watashi and he thought that Ozu stole them).

The weirdest thing here was this future version of Watashi suddenly popping up. Was this just symbolism, or is this going to continue more often? In any case I must say that I was right in not expecting too much from the first few episodes of this, because after a few episodes that may not have been the most exciting I’m getting more and more excited about this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

2 Responses

  1. Serpit says:

    At this point, the main mystery is how the parallel universes are connected.

    Recall the ending of Episode 1. Now, Higuchi states that Ozu (who was at that time dressed as a woman and ran off to attend to some “minor business) fell into the river and broke hism leg, which perfectly mirrors the first episode.

    Then in Episode 2, “Watashi” saw several plates with half-eaten Castella in his room. In this episode, he eats Castella with Higuchi and AKashi.

    In Episode 3, Higuchi wins the bycicle race. In episode 4, Higuchi recalls that event.

    The future verison of the protagonist appearing was strange as well. It seemed like he somehow tried to escape from the Tatmai labyrinth he’s caught in, only to be pushed back by his scared younger self. Weird indeed.

  2. markster says:

    hmm your last sentence makes no sense. :O

    i love this website. i know what to watch because of you. :D

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:27 PM)
    @SuperMario: Neighbouring Sounds was great. Judging from what I gathered of your taste, my money’s on you digging it as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:23 PM)
    @SuperMario: as I said I really liked the tone and the atmosphere and the atmosphere in Inherent Vice, but the overarcing plot is thin and True Dtectige season 2’s level of self-importance. A lot of scenes serve as mere venues for the great actors just cheering the secondary. A.tighter script and a little less directorial indulgence would’ve made it a lot better. Punch-Drunk Love is one such great example.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:16 PM)
    @Kaiser: the Master is brilliant, and I liked Boogie Nights, but others have much more love for it than me.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:59 AM)
    Btw, in preparation for Cannes, I plan to watch Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous work Neighbouring Sound. Have any of you watched the movie yet?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:31 AM)
    I think P.T Anderson is one of the rare director who doesn’t go wrong with his works. There will be blood and the master as his masterpiece but I do really enjoy the tone of Inherent Vice and Punch drunk love actually keepps getting better for me
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:19 AM)
    There was a found footage horror film with a hunter s Thompson inspired character, had a lovecraftian element to, Banshee chapter, utter hokum/nonsense but in an interesting vein.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Paul Thomas Anderson must be one heck of an director of actors though, given he actually managed to make good use of Adam Sandler…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:10 AM)
    On Wes Anderson I loved how whimsical Moonrise kingdom was and Darjeeling limited had a genuine heart to it.
    Fantastic Mr fox I can take or leave, its pretty much a childrens film. Budapest and life aquatic didn’t jive with med comedically.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:05 AM)
    @Bam: For me it really depended on which story they were focusing on when I was watching magnolia. There will be blood I got into after half an hour.
    His best works for me are the master, boogie nights, hard eight.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 10:52 AM)
    Browsing Pyncho’s novels, I noticed that he’s trying to go for a Gonzoesque approach. Seeing as I am a big Hunter S Thomson fan, I can’t help but to see Pyncon as not just inspired, but unsuccessfully straight imitating the Good Doctor’s style.

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