Friday, February 15, 2013

Kotoura-san - 06

[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.39_[2013.02.15_11.21.53] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.35_[2013.02.15_11.24.24] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.28_[2013.02.15_11.27.17]

On the whole, this episode went a long ways towards reassuring me that Kotoura-san knows what’s it doing.

This is a funny series, in both senses of the word.  It’s usually funny when it tries to be funny, and it’s funny in that it’s weird – the tonal composition is quite unique in current anime.  Kotoura-san is trying to walk a very fine line – a comedy that spends a good deal of the time focusing on hurtful and even tragic events and doesn’t shy away from expressing them in very dark fashion.  Ultimately, I think Kotoura-san gets it – it understands the risks and potential rewards, and the payoff for the series is neither the comedy or the tragedy, but in the way each enhances the impact of the other.  It’s a tough strategy to pull off, but they have the right director and seemingly the right source material, so I have high hopes.

The first thing I noticed this week was something small – Kotoura-chan wearing a cross.  It could be completely meaningless, a simple character design choice, but it isn’t something you see in anime that don’t have some kind of Christian plot element too often.  It was a big episode for Kotoura’s fashion sense actually, as she wore a T-shirt with a strategically placed “Don’t Look!” to the beach – but the meaning behind that was altogether more obvious given the theme of the episode.  Kotoura-san seems to be playing up the club comedy clichés quite intentionally – we’ve already had a training camp arc, this time we got both a haunted house and beach episode – and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  I won’t go so far as to say the series is intentionally mocking those tropes are trying to show some kind of dark underbelly that exists beneath the typical school series, but I do think there’s an attempt to twist them in a darkly ironic way.

Kotoura’s grandfather is proving a quite useful plot device in more ways than one, and he’s the one responsible for the “abandoned hospital” (this was far from the scariest use of that trope in anime this week) gag.  It was all part of “Haruka Land”, the theme park he put together for the benefit of his granddaughter and her friends – silly, to be sure, but actually a rather touching gesture from the only member of her family not turned off by Kotoura’s abilities.  These are, as he says, the “first friends” she’s ever had and brought home, and Grandpa is even taking the initiative to push Haruka and Manabe together – proving that his dirty old man routine is mostly an act for Haruka’s benefit, and also that he realizes a normal relationship with Manabe would do her enormous good.

My favorite part of Haruka Land (along with Grandpa holding his skirt down when he jumped from the parade car in his Kotoura costume) was the “parade”, when we saw the theme park versions of the ESP Club members – and Moritani was shown in tears, locked in a cage.  My initial rage over Mori’s seeming free pass is slowly turning to respect over the way Kotoura-san is tweaking that particular anime trope.  I’ve never seen it handled quite like this – we have neither overt hostility nor an “all is forgiven” scenario, but rather a kind of purgatory where Mori has been admitted to the group but is constantly reminded of her transgressions, and Manabe is still openly hostile towards her.  Grandpa is too – his actions and words clearly show he knows all about what she did to Manabe, and he hasn’t forgiven her for it, knowing what Manabe has done for Kotoura-chan.  This is mostly played for laughs but it, too is quite dark – a subtle reminder than our malicious mistakes in life can’t be smiled away and forgotten so easily as they can be in anime.

There’s some nice development in Kotoura and Manabe-kun’s relationship this week, and it continues to be the best part of the series.  There are a lot of gags about Kotoura’s fixation on her small breast size, the best of them being the “chisai oppai” themed ED and seeing her turn into a hissing cat whenever Manabe tried to approach her while she was in her swimsuit.  But things get quietly serious when she’s swept out into deep water by the current.  This isn’t played up for overwrought drama, but when Manabe comes to rescue her he resists his temptation to revel in the ero of the moment when she hugs him.  He sees how terrified she is and resists his impulses, knowing that it would be wrong of him to take advantage of her in that state even if it were simply in his mind.  Yes, there’s the fact that she’d know what he was thinking – but the whole point with Manabe is that he doesn’t change his behavior or his thoughts because of that.  Kotoura-chan’s ability is irrelevant – he simply is who he is, and who he is is a thoroughly decent guy who’s completely in love with her. 

After we get that delightful ED, there’s an ominous moment to close the episode – Kotoura’s mother has turned up at the beach, and she doesn’t seem too happy to see Kotoura smiling and laughing with her friends.  Kotoura-san has faced a lot of tests already, all of its own design, and this represents another and perhaps the last major one that could throw the series off the rails.  How the show handles the potential drama in this situation is going to be very interesting to see – there are pitfalls on both sides of the spectrum.  I’m not anxious to see Haruka’s mother welcomed back into her life after what she’s done, and though I’m looking forward to seeing some drama injected back into the show I finding myself hoping that her role in it is resolved quickly and decisively, and we – and Kotoura – can put it behind us for good.

[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.53_[2013.02.15_11.16.50] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.38_[2013.02.15_11.17.52] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.43_[2013.02.15_11.17.57]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.52_[2013.02.15_11.19.07] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.11_[2013.02.15_11.20.26] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.21_[2013.02.15_11.20.35]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.41_[2013.02.15_11.20.56] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.25_[2013.02.15_11.21.40] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.47_[2013.02.15_11.22.25]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.52_[2013.02.15_11.22.41] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.14_[2013.02.15_11.23.03] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.15_[2013.02.15_11.24.04]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.33_[2013.02.15_11.24.22] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.57_[2013.02.15_11.24.46] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.19_[2013.02.15_11.25.08]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.38_[2013.02.15_11.25.27] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.53_[2013.02.15_11.26.43] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.09_[2013.02.15_11.26.59]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.10_[2013.02.15_11.28.59] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.14_[2013.02.15_11.29.04] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.47_[2013.02.15_11.30.36]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.20_[2013.02.15_11.31.09] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.28_[2013.02.15_11.31.17] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.23_[2013.02.15_11.34.25]

ED3: "Tsurupeta (つるぺた)" by Hisako Kanemoto
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.54_[2013.02.15_11.32.56] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.34_[2013.02.15_11.33.36] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.40_[2013.02.15_11.33.42]
[HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.54_[2013.02.15_11.33.56] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.00_[2013.02.15_12.14.34] [HorribleSubs] Kotoura-san - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.14_[2013.02.15_11.34.16]


10 comments:

  1. Speaking from 2nd-handed experience, I think some asian youths (obviously I don't know "all" asian youths) in non-organized religion dominated asian countries wear things like "the cross" or Buddhist wrist bracelets (you know, those circular beads) for simply fashion statements and no deep meaning behind them. They see some celebs wearing such things on TV or magazines and think it's cool. Or daresay, some anime characters.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree - but you don't often see it an anime unless it's significant.

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    2. !! I never see them in an anime when they are significant. Vash the stampede, Naru Narusegawa, D Gray Man team... the list continues.
      Probably the only one I know is Trinity Blood, and that was not very significant either.
      And maybe Ao no Exo... but its significances is limited.

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    3. Although their clear purpose in all of those cases is to add to the costume to make them "badass". Not so here.

      In this show you might expect it to appear in the context of the club or clubroom, its appearance here is at least unexpected.

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    4. Cross as a relevant bit in anime beyond fashion: I can think of one example . There is the semi-obscure (at least outside of Europe) Robin No Daibouken anime - aired in the early '90s. Incidentally as a Robin Hood nut I watched it religiously as a kid. In hindsight the glorious Italian dub for the anime boosted tremendously its appeal and my lasting detailed memories of it - where Marian's golden cross pendant is a pretty important element and plot device in the story... first as family heirloom and identity-critical trinket, later on as magic token and link to the spirit of Sherwood forest.

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  2. I love this series. It seems to do everything right. When its trying to be funny I laugh my ass off. When its trying to be serious I get very angry at the evil people that are trying to hurt Kotoura.

    I'm looking forward to seeing where they go with her Mother next week. I'm sure it will be ugly before it gets better. Her mom is an evil bitch and will strike 1st before Kotoura's friends help her deal with the situation.

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  3. Ahh... Seeing Mori in a cage is a very cathartic experience.

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  4. The show's really proven that it can handle whole episodes without a huge drama bomb, weaving slight problems and comedy together in small amounts so that neither one is lost or overwhelmed.

    The change in Haruka's grandfather from the last time we saw him to this time was interesting. In their first meeting he was somewhat suspicious of them, although it seemed that he appreciated their effort on Haruka's behalf. But now, he's obviously checked out all of Haruka's friends, and seemingly has decided that they are good enough for her, and that her feelings about them are in line with what they present themselves to be. I have no doubt that he also knows about Mifune's family situation and what she could possibly do.

    What I found interesting was that Kumiko wasn't just overlooking Haruka and her friends, but that she was standing with the temple priest as well, as if he brought her there. I really don't know where the show is going to go with Kumiko, because there are so many open avenues. Will she try to sabotage Haruka's now happy (but still fragile) life as revenge? Will she try to ingratiate herself with Haruka for personal gain? Will she show up just to leave again to try to reopen Haruka's old wounds? I think the show's definitely earned a lot of credit with how it's handled everything so far, so I'm hopeful that it will deal with Kumiko well.

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    Replies
    1. One thing is for sure... based on the mom's looks it will be a drama filled meeting.

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  5. This pretty much became an overnight favorite of mine for this season (I even blogged on it) Its just my kind of series in that its both funny and has enough of a story and likable characters wit great dynamics to keep itself afloat. I'm eager to see what they have instore for Kotoura's mom's future apperance, as for me that will be the biggest test for it.

    ReplyDelete