Well now – thinks got pretty serious there for a bit.
This is a bit of a funny show, Gaworare is (funny-unusual, though it is pretty funny-“ha ha” as well). It’s uncommon to see a series where the canon plot and the general tone are in such stark dichotomy with each other, and seem to be running side-by-side on separate tracks most of the time. The first three episodes were heavily weighted in favor of extremely madcap and silly comedy, but this one was quite a bit more serious. There was comedy (the herding cats joke was especially effective) but it was definitely in a supporting role.
The real question is, does Gawoware flat-out work better in one mode or the other, or are they more or less equal – and is it capable of crossing the streams and pulling off both at the same time? On the last question it’s too early to say, but I can say that I enjoyed this ep a bit less than the first three – which is interesting, as I’ve been thinking that I wanted a little more plot. I care enough about the cast to be engaged by what we saw this week, but I missed the zaniness an awful lot. Thank goodness for the hilarious Ryuukishibara, who stole every scene she was in, as usual (and made one of the best entrances of the season).
Plot-wise, a few more pieces were slotted into place. Ruri is a part of the flag conspiracy (I should have seen that coming but didn’t) and named after someone who was apparently at the heart of it. We have this strange person watching the events taking place with the sports festival, and there’s a lot of talk about a “great tree on the other side of the world”. It’s seemed clear for a while that Souta and his harem are engaged in a sort of heroic quest, and now we see that it’s directly tied into his death flag.
Also of note – while even robots can have flags, apparently, Nanami still doesn’t have any. Souta finally acknowledged it this week, and I think it’s pretty obvious this is going to be a crucial part of the mystery being solved.
Tonari no Seki-kun – 17
I think Yokoi must be contagious, because as I watched the events of this episode play out I started imagining a scenario where Seki-kun was actually acting out his own difficult home life. Either the mangaka is deviously clever to a ridiculous degree or both Yokoi and I have overactive imaginations.
I’m not completely illiterate about Japanese culture, but I confess this is the first time I’ve heard of Fukuwarai – a kids game (though sometimes played by adults) popular around New Years, and kind of a Japanese version of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” with facial features. I’m amazed this has never turned up in any of the anime or manga I’ve seen at the very least, but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t. It’s obviously a perfect canvas for Seki-kun to paint his masterworks of imagination on, and for Yokoi-chan to get thoroughly engrossed in.
The headline here is that Yokoi seems to have “won” an unambiguous victory for the first time here – not only does she not get into trouble herself, but she freaks Seki-kun out (that’s not a first) and even manages to manouver the Fukuwarai family into the storybook ending she imagined for them. But in all seriousness, does it seem as if an awful lot of Seki’s fantasy scenarios end up depicting family drama?