December 20th, 2015.
Okada Style, Okada Woes:
The biggest issue I’ve had lately with not writing my weekly anime overview posts on my blog is that I couldn’t talk about the writing woes I’ve had with this show since our gang joined Teiwaz. This episode seems a great spot to talk about it, since it’s the culmination of this issue, epitomized by Masahiro’s presence. This is an issue I’ve often had with Mari Okada’s anime original works (and more noticeable in the 2-cour ones. Somehow she’s better when it’s short, or when adapting someone else’s work).
Her writing is, quite simply, inelegant and extremely unsubtle. It’s not as if subtlety in writing is a good thing in and of itself, it’s not. But man, this show is constantly hammering at us as if we’re really dense. I’m not even talking about the writing dip during “boys’ first night in big town,” and how Eugene seemed to have a lobotomy during those two episodes, that could be down to the person writing those specific segments. I’m talking of Kudelia speaking of harsh conditions and the show showing us those starving kids, but again, that’s something the director/story-boarder do.
There’s how the show keeps hammering at us about “family”, and again, that’s also fine, because it’s the show’s theme, and it’s something the characters within the show not only care for themselves, but something they’re trying to figure out. All these things are fine on their own, but all together, they’re creating a slightly overbearing atmosphere for the show and its themes, and yet, it’s stuff like Masahiro in the last couple of episodes that really adds up to too much – first he gets mentioned, and then he immediately appears. I mean, couldn’t we have learned of him around episode 6, then met him at episode 10? We could’ve. Akihiro had enough time in the show.
And then the Mari Okada trademark – everyone has the same issues. Just as how Nagi no Asukara had the same conflict appearing 5-6 times, rather than each character pairing having a slightly different issue, when Masahiro used the very same lines as Akihiro did, of, “So, you had fun without me (and thus should be punished)!”, it didn’t feel like two characters riffing on the same issue, but just bringing up something that should be resolved, or another character’s conflict. Inelegant.
The themes are still strong, but it could be handled better. Okada please.