Posted by psgels on 4 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



Awesome, this is exactly as I hoped: this show just continues to get better and better. Screw the repetition, every episode manages to add ten new things for everything it recaps. I was a bit fearful of the prospect of having an episode more similar to its predecessor than ever (who knows, perhaps it might even have pulled a “Seraphim Call”), but this episode very skillfully took the the previous episode, and built further upon it.

The overall scenario is pretty much the same as in the previous episode, it’s just the focus and ending are different. Instead we gloss over Hanuki and the pen pal, and instead this episode is about the love triangle around between Watashi, Jougasaki and the love doll. Oh, and Johnny. He has gotten way more extreme with this episode.

This episode really was masterfully written, not just how Watashi’s feelings kept spiralling out of control, but also that Jougasaki kept entrusting Kaori more and more to Watashi in a surprisingly similar way as how we’ve seen him in the second episode. On top of that there were also a ton of parallels with that proxy proxy war of episode four. Seriously, it felt like Ozu kept pestering him even without Watashi’s help. That could explain why he’s been so relatively absent in the past few episodes. It would be pretty awesome if he was some kind of ever-present prankster.

The next episode will be about the pen pal. the end of this episode even hinted at that. But what about episode 10 and 11? Especially Akashi had a really weird role in these episodes, as she was supposed to be the female love interest and instead Watashi has chosen three other girls to fall in love with. Will episode 10 actually be the same as these past two episodes, but on the perspective of Akashi?

It makes me think about the one oddball episode about this series: the one about Higuchi’s disciple. All of the other episodes were about portraying Watashi as some sort of socially awkward loser: the past two episodes were all about his desire to remain pure, and the other episodes really all stressed what a social dork he is. That episode was different, though. His life was miserable there not because of his own actions, but rather only because he ended up choosing the wrong club at the beginning of his university life. That proxy-proxy war was completely different from Watashi’s other struggles, not to mention that really weird scene in which Higuchi suddenly started riding a giant whale.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

6 Responses

  1. Puran says:

    I really, really, hope this series has a strong conclusion.

    I am really really enjoying it so far, because I really love its quirkyness both visually and storytelling-wise. But I find it hard to suggest it to other people.

    But if it has s conclusion that is strong and meaningful (as Masaaki Yuasa’s works tend to), it will make it so much easier to recommend it to people and it will put the series in my top 10 list.

  2. Machi says:

    I think the point about Akashi IS that she’s the opportunity dangling right in front of him, but alas he’s too ignorant or stubborn to notice (lets face it I don’t see the three women he’s trying to pick as being his “ideal”).

    @Puran: I don’t see how this show wouldn’t be meaningful when its painfully stressed its “meaning” or theme so to speak with one recurring motif. Namely grabbing the opportunity that is dangling right in front of you, as the fortune teller repeats without fail or variation (except for the prices XD). Whether you find it weak or strong is up to you, how relevant is that idea to you?

    Though personally I think the style of the show would be enough for me to recommend to others, its different enough to be a breath of fresh air (may not be as good as Kaiba but definitely up there in the efforts of Yuasa, I believe its his first adaptation).

  3. Michael says:

    The first few episodes deal with Watashi not knowing what he is really seeking: all he wants is a chance at a raven-haired maiden. It goes badly for him, however, so he results to bitterness and bile towards other people. This is for the first two episodes. Things become clearer to him in the third episode: rather than pursuing a raven-haired maiden, it is clear that his focus is primarily only on Akashi. This is obscured in the fifth episode, however, as he tries to pursue not merely a raven-haired woman, but a faceless ideal – he somehow regresses, only to recognize in the next episodes that it is love he desires.

    The problem is that he has deep-seated fears in intimacy and commitment while still pursuing respective ideals: the three women in episode six represent certain ideals. The faceless ideal (the totally impossible), the realistic ideal (Hanuki), and the inanimate ideal (2D complex in Kaori). It is only gradually that he will have to know that reality is far from the ideal – yet despite that there is an opportunity dangling in front of him, the Mochiguman, representative perhaps of Akashi.

    Actually I find it telling (as I’ve written in my own blog entries) that the Mochiguman is connected to the light in his room. At times we see moths circulating it, perhaps representative of his obscurity, but at later episodes there isn’t a moth to be seen in his room: I think this represents that he knows love to be the answer; he just doesn’t reach up to turn the light on.

  4. Puran says:

    @Machi: I really like the theme, as you described it, but if all there is to it is what the show has told us already, I will be a little disappointed.

  5. Johnson says:

    Well, you could argue that his failure to quit the proxy war (i.e. his inaction) caused his life to be miserable there, It’s basically the same thing.

  6. Machi says:

    @Micheal: Interesting theory on the moths but I would have to disagree at one point with them being an obscurity. As from what I can tell about the moths they’re partially a visual cue to reminiscing about the so called promise, during the time Akashi freaked out seeing one. Interestingly that scene with Akashi and Watashi speaking gradually disappears, or loses its luster, as the moths in the light disappear themselves. In that sense as well Akashi has been portrayed more or less “human” (from a frigid genius) without having to resort to the moth scene. Still it is telling that the Mochiguman is attached to light, and so are the moths, all of which relate to a visual cue or a reminder about Akashi.

    One thing to note though about the episodes as they progress Watashi has definitely been less “talkative” as compared to the first episode. I feel far less distracted by dialogue and visuals. I don’t feel they clash at one another, the director seems to have been adjusting or is it part of the plan (?) In any case its been quite a pleasure as of late watching the show.

    @Puran: How can that be all there is to the show? Love is just one point of missed opportunity, I think its quite telling that he described his “ideal” woman this episode and we have Akashi nicely showing up (yet he doesn’t even make a mention of considering her). I feel he is missing his opportunity with love due to his own stubbornness at times, he knows what he really wants but keeps to clinging to his raven haired ideal as an excuse.

    Then you have another variation of the music of failure with Watashi’s lack of or misplaced initiative at times, good example is the English club at first or the movie club as he makes that ‘documentary’.

    Then at times its just plain ignorance or bad decision, the cycling club and lets face it we all know how badly it would go if one only entered a club for the sole purpose of finding love (clubs are about what you’re interested in or what you’re good at, which as of late he is slowly realizing with the English club and the heroic club).

    The theme runs a lot deeper when you think about it, so its definitely not all there is to it. Moreover, there are enough visual cues in the series (and I haven’t even touched that much) for you to decipher or interpret so I see strong replay value with this.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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