It was announced this week that Gaworare is going to get an OAD this December (a Christmas episode, written by the original author, Takei Touka). That’s nice to hear, especially as we’re certainly not going to get another season – I’ve grown quite fond of this weird gem, which is quite unlike any anime I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m not surprised that the anime isn’t especially popular, given what it’s satirizing and how different a show it is that first impressions would lead you to believe.
Watching Gaworare and Gokukoku no Brynhildr back-to-back is very interesting, because they’re very different series that nevertheless share the common trait of being heavily laden with both comedy and drama. Brynhildr is an overtly serious show that’s often very funny and Gaworare is an overtly funny show that’s often dead-serious, but above and beyond that I think the difference is that while the two halves of Brynhildr co-exist quite naturally, with this series it seems as if the author (and the director as well) is trying to intentionally generate some shock value by exploiting the glaring contrast between how genuinely dark and foreboding the show can be, and how outrageous the comedy is. And it works.
After last week’s episode – which was very dark indeed – naturally, we return with one of the most abjectly absurd and comic episodes yet. Hakua has returned to Quest dorm to live with the others, others. And it’s just in time for the school festival, which naturally enough involves a “Miss Hategaya” contest, in which the entire field naturally enough consists of Souta’s harem (which naturally enough includes Megumu). All through this, of course, Souta is still consumed with what he saw in Bladefield, and what it might mean for him, but as always the idiot brigade around him plows forward without seeming care in the world.
The contest is really a showcase for Gaworare to display just how adroitly it’s able to keep it’s balance when it comes to satirizing and downright parodying the LN cliches at the heart of the cast. The show is genuinely ruthless in this respect, as displayed by just how shameless and exploitative the contest is – with everything from wet T-shirts (again, naturally involving Megumu) to declarations of love. But the characters themselves are brought off with such affection and they’re so genuinely likeable that Gaworare somehow manages to bring off a sequence like this as a merciless caricature and a loving homage. I don’t know how – it really doesn’t seem possible – but it does. I’ll give credit to the novelist as I’m sure that’s a part of it, but having an ace director like Watanabe certainly isn’t hurting the cause. I’m starting to get what he saw in this property.
Not satisfied with that, though, Gaworare manages to finish the episode on a genuinely sentimental note with – of all things – Nanami’s confession at the contest. Basically, she touches Souta’s heart by (in her tsundere way) letting him now that she sees how wounded and scared he is, and that he’s not alone. This is made a joke of – Ruri notes that it was a “marvelous confession utilizing your gap moe” and that “your tsundere power has surpassed 530,000.” – but it’s arguably the most emotionally intense moment of the entire series. I very much like that this show is capable of achieving such extremes in so many different tonal directions, because there just aren’t a lot of them that make the effort. It’s going to be forgotten rather quickly once it’s gone, I suspect, but I can say that I’m certainly going to remember Gaworare, and fondly too.