Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 Notes – Life Is Too Short

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Well, last episode wasn’t too shabby! It gave us multiple characters, so the chatter wasn’t as wasteful, as it introduced them, and it finally gave us not just context, but a situation. Now it remains to be seen what they do with it.

Oh yes, this episode is reportedly going to be “Heat Haze Daze”, so it’s back to episodic, but this is the story I’m the most fond of from the songs, so let’s go.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Speaking of Heroes and Reincarnation – Cryptically:

Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 anime notes - Amamiya Hibiya and  Tateyama Ayano talk of heroics

1) “Wow, so you ended up being yourself, huh?” – That has to rank up there with the most crypto-bullshit sentences I’ve seen, and I’ve watched RahXephon ;-) That’s actually not a value-judgment, just a commentary on how… obtuse it is.

Yes, I thought the place where he is with all the wires reminds one of an intersection, and of Steins;Gate. And the first episode opened with something about time-travel or reincarnations, so it sort of fits. But still, crypto-nonsense levels are off the charts.

2) Oh neat, it quickly devolves into psychology instead of metaphysics – “Why am I me?” is the age-old question of all heroes, “Why me?!” and the answer is the obvious – “Because only you can do it.”

3) Just a Shaft shot. Hanekawa, is that you?

4) YES! “Who were you a hero to?” – Yes! They even accept that “Why me?” and “Because only you can do it” are part of the archetypical “Hero’s Journey” discussions.

2) A Couple, Of Kids – Inane Banter:

Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 anime notes - Asahina Hiyori is rude and death-flags are raised

1) And now we tie it to episode 2. “Old lady”. Poor Momo.

2) Yes, I think they handled a boy with a crush perfectly as well :)

3) Rejected! A bullet straight through the heart.

4) This girl is quite annoying! I actually think this is intended. She’s annoying, but this episode’s MC-kun has a crush on her even so. ‘Sides, she’s just a little girl.

5) “Someone this cool could never die, unlike a pipsqueak like you!” – 1. Death flag for “Cool person”. 2. Death flag for the pipsqueak, since he can die. 3. More annoying bits. 4. This is even more “Hero’s Journey”, especially with the opening sequence – someone cool saving the day isn’t as heroic as the lowly greenhorn growing into their power.

6) Little girl thinks this dude is “cool”, I think it’s more like “apathetic.” White hair, red eyes, wonder if he’s an albino, or it’s just something very stylized. Wait, wasn’t Mary an albino of this sort as well?

Yeah, this girl is out of touch. Just like the boy having a crush on her, with the dinosaur, who was completely clueless, so is she.

7) “You blew your whole life’s luck supply. All you can hope for is better luck in your next lifetime.” Oh my, after the opening to this episode, and to the first, it’s no longer in the foreshadow territory!

8) Home is a dojo, father is a serious man. More “Hero’s Journey” bits?

9) Oh man, Shaft had been wasting so much time here. The whole bit about convincing his father was 75 seconds long, for instance. Jokes often work with repeating things, but it’d have been better had it been drawn out with other scenes, or something. It felt more like a comedy than a drama/artistic show.

3) Life is But a Dream:

Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 anime notes - Amamiya Hibiya and Asahina Hiyori are running away

1) When all the signs tell you to turn back, quite an ominous thing, but is he awake, or dreaming?

2) This scenery is the same from the opening. The cables, a place where everything comes together. A convergence, centered around Hiyori. Look how the cables form a crown for her.

3) “I hate summer.” and “I have to go”, rather than “Oh, the cat!” – This is acceptance of one’s fate.

4) Shock. In her final moments, she shows him her sweet side, and not in a dream, ah, but how much he wishes it’d been a dream, as in all the other times she had shown him kindness.

5) The whole world is telling him to stop, to turn back. Don’t go further, there’s nothing for you here, nothing new. You’ve been here, don’t come, don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. Only heartbreak and pain.

7) Faced with fate, our hero is frozen. You must embrace your destiny.

6) Woot, Kageru Daze began playing. Not my favourite version, but I like the beat, alright.

8) Ah, before she hated the summer and looked tired, and now he hates the summer and looks tired, while she seems fine. A role reversal.

9) The end of the noble hero’s story; a noble sacrifice.

4) Destressing:

Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 anime notes - The colourful Monster

1) The first image in the ED is a very good image to get through after the way the episode ended. Hiyori, alone. I wager they both wished for an endless summer together, so they got their wish by being trapped in a cycle. Together, but rather than in life, then in death.

2) The bit with the monster sure is beautiful, but the mood whiplash, and trying to remember what happened before, a bit ill-fitting.

3) The monster’s story this week actually seems a good fit for last week, “Are you also alone?” – So they could be alone together, which is what the Blindfold Gang felt like to me, last week. A bunch of outcasts, but together, they are not.

4) Next episode’s preview – “I died, two years ago.” – Are we in for a time-skip? O.O

Post Episode Thoughts:

Mekakucity Actors Episode 4 anime notes - Amamiya Hibiya dies for Asahina Hiyori

I really suggest listening to the original song this time. It’s somewhat hinted, with how Hiyori hates the summer, and each time as she dies she tells Hibiya something, and then after going through some cycles, he hates summer. The cat demanded a sacrifice, and it didn’t really care which it’d been – so previously, she had died for him. Hiyori and Hibiya wanted to be together, so they got a time-loop, but it terminates when they can no longer be together.

The first half of the episode had quite a bit of wasted time. It didn’t really endear either of the characters or their relationship to us, even if it’d been amusing and somewhat realistic, to see Hibiya idolize Hiyori even as she treated him badly and idolized the older boy. The 2nd half of the episode, it was artistic, it was cold and alien. The cold and alien atmosphere fit, as the time-cycles continued, as Hibiya had been told by the world to avoid his fate, even as he pursued it, the fate of the hero, of dying for another and then going to the in-between world where heroes go after their sacrifice, waiting to be reborn again, just so they could die again for another.

But even if the whole atmosphere and imagery worked, it still felt cold and impersonal, thus robbing the sacrifice of an emotional weight. I dunno, there’s some sort of issue when a 4 minute song has a much stronger emotional impact than a 20 minute episode.

Return to the Mekakucity Actors Episodic Notes page.

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