Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara – 08

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Gao, Gao!

OK, I just wanted to do it once…

That was definitely my favorite episode of Gaworare for a good while.  I like the weirdness and darkness this series brings to the table, but I think it’s at its most charming when it indulges the sillier side.  As is often the case, the show that parodies the tropes has more charming examples of them than the shows that try to portray them “seriously”.  And I like pretty much everyone in this cast (though Kuromiko gets old very, very quickly).

It’s no coincidence then that this ep wasn’t nearly as plot-heavy as the last few have been.  It’s a pretty straightforward setup – it’s break time, everyone but Souta and Ookiku has left Quest Dormitory to visit home (and she’s stayed behind to spoil him rotten).  The episode gets off to a great start when Rin-kun walks in on them and finds Souta languidly enjoying being pampered and asks “Good grief – what happened to your angsty aloofness??”  That’s the sort of really smart, cutting humor this series gets just right a lot of the time.

The first twist comes when Ruri shows up and kidnaps Souta, Akane having mentioned that she wished she could see him.  Soon enough, naturally, everyone ends up at Akane’s mansion – though not before he issues what sounds very much like a confession.  Everyone, that is, except for Nanami, who’s the odd tsun out once again.  There’s a far funnier than average take on the “mens/women’s bath” mixup at Akane’s rotemburo, a fairly hilarious scene at the dinner table where everyone copies Akane’s table manners right down to dropping her knife and ordering extra roast beef for Souta (yeah, it’s an old gag but I’ve never seen it in an anime) and finally a video call from a lonely Nanami who’s back home in Bladefield.

Clearly distressed at missing out on a pillow fight (with a Souta dakimakura) Nanami invites the gang to Bladefield, where more hijinks ensue.  There’s a meeting with Nanami’s sister Hakua “Berserker” (I could never make these names up) Bladefield (Kakuma Ai) – yet another kawaii girl with a bizarre speech pattern – on the train back to the capital, and an appearance by Mini-Ruri (who appears from Akane’s bag with Akane’s “massive” bra on her head).  This is where the episode starts to get serious, as another Ruri appears – this one optimized to assassinate and clearly intending to take out one or both royal princesses – but it never takes on the grim, unsettling quality of the last few eps.  In the end Souta pulls off the classic escape flag, fleeing to the last car with the sisters and decoupling from the rest of the train.

I suppose one could make the argument that Gaworare is cheating a bit, because it manages to exploit every cliche in the LN playbook in the name of satire (Outbreak Company is in the same boat).  But I’d be the first to criticize if these tropes weren’t brought off in entertaining fashion, and the fact is that they are here.  This is a weird show in almost every way, but I like it best in the mode we saw this week – full of manic energy and over-the-top comedy, not pulling any punches as it shamelessly panders using the same material it’s subjecting to parody.

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8 comments

  1. w

    "yeah, it's an old gag but I've never seen it in an anime"

    I was actually thinking the humour felt a lot more western this week. Don't know what exactly it was about it though.

    Love that Akane herself was shouting "massive!" when everyone saw her bra. Really clever little gag.

  2. A

    Wouldn't the table manners joke also apply to that scene from Hataraku Maou-sama?

  3. Remind me, which one?

  4. Oh yeah… Sort of, I guess – somewhat different but the same basic gag.

  5. m

    I was cracking up when I saw the name "Berserker" pop up on screen. I always wonder if Japanese animators have no concept of other country's names, or if it's on purpose. Obviously here it's making fun of that by choice, but it's so funny for such a subtle joke like that. I wish people in America were named like animators seem to think we are. It would be a much funnier place.

  6. P

    In this case, it's 100% on purpose: every girl (including Megumu) has a name which is or contains a character class: Nanami Knight Bladefield, Akane Mahougasawa (Mahou = Mage), Megumu Touzokuyama (Touzokou = Thief), Rin Ninjabayashi, etc…

  7. D

    Good call on that comparison to Outbreak Company, I was wondering what the overall vibe of this show reminded me of. Both are affectionate parodies of their genres that enjoy playing around with their tropes, and actually manage to mix their funny and serious parts reasonably well. The direct way in which they do so is somewhat different, but I like them both regardless.

    This was clearly a breather episode after the dark episode that came before (well, up until the end) and it's good to see that the show hasn't completely forgotten about its lighthearted other half. Watching the cast interact is just fun, the jokes were good and the show never forgets to give them all a time to shine. And those final scenes were actually pretty badass. Makes me want to see the next episode, when Souta apparently comes face to face with the masked girl.

    Also, Nanami sure looks cross-eyed in that one screenshot behind her computer.

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