I would be the first to admit that Ore Monogatari!! is walking a very fine line, and has been from the beginning. It would be easy to tip over into the saccharine at any moment (and in fact it’s happened on a couple of occasions). But anime is, as a rule, so allergic to emotional openness – especially between guys – that I’m never sorry when a series at least tries to break the rules. And this one does so brilliantly most of the time.
Sincerity goes such a long way in storytelling. With this series it makes all the difference in the world, and this episode displays that more unmistakably than any so far. It handled the heavy material beautifully and every major emotional moment was spot-on. It certainly helps that Suna is perhaps the best anime character of the season not playing tennis, but it’s the relationships that really provide the emotional power.
Someone pointed out that the last shot of the OP now features Suna on the cake as well as Takeo and Yamato, and it’s no coincidence that it happened when it did. These three were performing a kind of dance in this two-part episode, balancing what they wanted and what the others wanted, and what was being said with what was really meant. I don’t think any of them missed a step – they each acted in a way that was true to themselves. It all revolved around Suna, but all three of them had their roles to play.
As I said last week, it was perfectly genuine that Takeo would want to set aside his best-laid plans with Rinko, and just as much so that Suna would refuse to allow him to do so. But in the end, I knew Takeo would leave Rinko when the time came and go to the hospital, and I knew – no matter what he said and even believed earlier – Suna wanted him to be there. It’s not about “bros before hoes” or any such cliche – it’s just about priorities. And for that matter, I wasn’t remotely surprised that she ended up at the hospital herself – in fact, her presence delivered one of the emotional high points of the episode.
If anything did surprise me, at least a little, it was the result of Suna’a father’s surgery. There was a good deal of hinting that he might not make it, enough at least to make me unsure. A different outcome would certainly have made this a different sort of episode, but fundamentally the theme would have been exactly the same. I think my favorite line of the ep was when Takeo thought to himself “I have no idea what you really want, what you’re really thinking. Or what the right thing to do really is. But I’m your friend. Let me stay.” That sums up both of these guys perfectly. And when Takeo put his hand on Suna’s back for a moment, it spoke louder than any dialogue.
This is really an odd sries. I don’t know if it’s a true stealth main character situation, but it’s certainly a stealth genre – this friendship is the heart of Ore Monogatari, plain and simple. We waited a long time for Suna to let his guard down, and it says something that it was only in front of Takeo that he’d do so. There were some great light moments in this episode – I loved what Madhouse did with Takeo’s T-shirt broadcasting his thoughts, for example – but ultimately, it was very simple. It was about that moment outside the operating room, and Yamato waiting for the two of them outside. We’ve ended up with a three-way love story of a sort, one that’s far deeper and more subtle than I would have expected going into the series.