January 7th, 2016.
Well-Structured, Scarred Emptiness.
This show doesn’t feel like an anime show. It feels like a movie. The latest anime movie series that really felt that way to me was Kara no Kyoukai, the latest anime series that felt like that for me was Rozen Maiden (2013). It’s a deliberate sort of atmosphere, where things are allowed to stretch out, things are allowed to breathe. It’s what Miyazaki spoke of when he spoke of just letting there be “empty moments”. Nothing is rushed. It’s ponderous, but it’s good. It is slow, but it’s deliberate and handled with care.
I liked the voice acting, which touched in on this as well, I liked the memory sequences being in faded black and white except for the one detail that mattered. Airi Katagiri’s voice-acting was properly peppy. Yuki Kaijura’s music was a very distinct mix of the Madoka and Kara no Kyoukai music, but I was glad the show had mostly done without, and left it to the background, and used it sparingly.
The show was slow, and careful, and done with thought. If you’ve seen my top shows of 2015 list, it should come as no surprise that this is what I like, and appreciate. Dramas, at least in structure and construction.
ED – Nice, well done, stylized, not excited yet, but it’s good.
Themes / Story:
Everything in this show is about one thing. It’s about repeating and coming back, it’s about being unable to move on. A mangaka who fails and enters a job with no future. A mother who moves back in with her adult son. And of course, going back in time to undo terrible events, to undo mistakes.
A fear of looking at one’s history, and one’s feelings, due to the open wound in one’s soul. To learn your closest friend, someone whom you trusted, is a serial kidnapper-murderer? How will a young child grow to trust others again after that? And even if he doesn’t lose faith in his friend, then his mother and the adult world exemplified through Police who didn’t trust him.
Mother was cool. Moving in with the knowledge born of a life-time of acquaintance, and going straight for investigating things herself. The character of Airi, though not fully developed, was handled with deft strokes, and I grew to like her. She had poise, she had character, she had spunk. Many of her lines were “usual”, but the delivery was good, and it sat well within the show.
And that’s really what it all boils down to, not the hook, not the characters, not the pacing. But that it all just felt right, as if given a time to breathe, and with everything given enough time to show us why it’s there, and who these people are. Nothing felt missing, and nothing felt extraneous. This is probably the strongest anime premiere since last year’s winter season’s Death Parade’s premiere, and Ping Pong’s premiere the year before.
There’s only one worry I have for the show, that I’ll love it while watching it weekly, but would’ve loved it even more marathoning it. Mysteries are often like that for me.