Weekly Digest 4/29/14 – Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara, Tonari no Seki-kun

Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -3 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -12 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -7 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -11

Yokoi wins!

Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara – 04

Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -1 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -2 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -4
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -5 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -6 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -7
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -8 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -9 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -10
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -11 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -13 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -14
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -15 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -16 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -17
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -18 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -19 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -20
Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -21 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -22 Kanojo ga Flag - 04 -23

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

Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -1 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -2 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -3
Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -4 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -5 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -6
Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -8 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -9 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -10
Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -12 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -13 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -14
Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -15 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -16 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -17
Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -18 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -19 Tonari no Seki-kun - 17 -20

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?

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6 comments

  1. t

    kanojo flag ep #4 surprised me a bit.
    after nice 1st eps, came eps #2,3 which weren't half bad, but insist too much on craziness and nothing more. it seemed to me like the series neglected its narrative and style of 1st episode, way too much than expected, because those eps felt too shallow (even if it was funny and crazy-funny, there is limit to how much you can go with this).
    and apparently ep #4 bring the narrative of ep#1 and even took it to the next level. it was a good mix with funny, crazy-funny and cliche moments along side the…uniqueness of flag and stuff within this series.
    I was on the verge of saying that this series lost its colors and become a bit burden, but luckily this episode came and it was really pure fun. I am glad about that.

    I wonder if Tonari no seki-kun should have been named "Tonari no Yokoi-san"(or Tonari no HanaKana :P)

  2. D

    It's turned up before: Sgt Frog had a chapter where they used a machine to do Fukuwarai on the frogs themselves. It might be one of those things that people take for granted so much that it doesn't make its way to pop culture; an American example might be the habit of elementary school kids to give valentines to each other, male or female.

    When her flag breaks is an odd show. Episode four felt like it did Little Busters better than Little Busters itself. The harem stuff is so artificial that it's making the mystery of the world compelling in a way LB couldn't do in 30+ episodes.

  3. w

    I've wondered about Seki's love of broken homes before, but I had kind of assumed he was aware Yokoi was watching and would do it purely get kicks out of her reactions. These sort of games always seemed tailored to her benefit as opposed to Seki enjoying it. I've actually been wondering about his shogi games and why he seems to hate underdogs so much. He always makes the side with the massive advantage easily win.

  4. I think the latter could possibly he attributed to his being a young boy who likes to trash stuff.

  5. w

    As a former young boy, I can definitely understand the love of thrashing things. But for those kind of games I've always thought it's more fun to have the disadvantaged side overcome the odds and win, and it doesn't really affect the destruction levels.

  6. Z

    He just wants the villains to win for once.

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