Subete ga F ni Naru – 07

Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -7 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -16 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -23

Talk about a tale of two halves.

I think something needs to be said straight out about the use of English in anime, and it’s this: sometimes Westerners like me can forget that the target audience for Japanese anime is Japanese, not American or French or Scottish.  When we criticize the use of “Engrish” in an episode like this, we do it from a Western perspective.  To a native Japanese speaker, the English spoken by Kase Yasuyuki and Kaida Yuuko almost assuredly sounded quite good, and using it was an artistic choice.

Intellectually, I know all that.  And I know I have no right to criticize the writer and director of Subete ga F ni Naru for the way that crucial scene was written.  But I can’t help being taken totally out of the moment by that choice.  The issue is that the English being spoken wasn’t good – not really, and even given the context there’s really no logical reason why Miki wouldn’t speak accented Japanese at the very least.  And it was impossible for me not to be distracted by it during what was supposed to be such a serious and crucial moment.  For the target audience, it’s atmospherics.  For me, it was an unwelcome diversion.

So, then, the A-Part this week just didn’t to it for me.  Whether it was influenced by the English sequence or not the tone of the whole thing just felt off to me – too flip and irreverent.  There was some potentially very important stuff said in this part, too, like Miki’s comment that her sister had a way of making it feel as if “they were the same person” (though I feel as if this might actually refer as much to what’s happening with Moe as anything).  Not to mention her spot-on assessment of Saikawa-sensei as a very emotional person who repressed his emotions rather than let them be seen.  And her recollection of Shiki telling her that the human body was “nothing but a container”, and the revelation that the gift Miki was carrying in her bag was a doll.

Happily, things got better in the B-Part – massively, exponentially better.  Shimada-san’s virtual kidnapping (pun intended) of Moe is what sets things off.  Shimada is very creepy-funny here, and Moe has never seemed more childlike (and she’s pretty childlike all the time) then in her perplexed reaction to Shimada’s antics.  The game Shimada is playing here isn’t billiards, but things get serious when she forces Moe into one of the virtual reality immersion tanks (those were huge in fiction when Mori-sensei wrote the book) for a little trip down fantasy lane.

The first thing I noticed here was that these virtual experiences seem to be constructed of the Lego-like blocks Magata-sensei was so fond of.  I have no clue of how this could possibly be explained even in fiction, but it’s an interesting effect.  We never see Shimada’s reality bubble (it’s implied it involves Saikawa-sensei and the horizontal bop) but Moe’s starts predictably enough – she’s frolicking with a Saiakwa-sensei who both lets his emotions run free and adores her (he even wears a “Moe!” T-shirt).  But this turns quickly when Magata-sensei intrudes on the moment, and it’s not entirely clear that this is all entirely in Moe’s fertile imagination.

Could this be some sort of “Otherland” scenario, where Shiki has found a way to upload her consciousness to the Singularity – finally leaving her useless container behind?  Her VR-words to Moe (“Come over to this side – this is how it’s supposed to be”) certainly put that explanation on the table.  As ever, real or imagined Shiki is focused like a laser on dragging Moe back to her past, and once again Moe’s memories become entangled with Shiki’s in an extremely fascinating and disturbing way.  We now know that indeed Moe’s parents died in a plane crash, and that Saikawa-sensei was with her when it happened.

Visions of that fateful night when Shiki and her uncle killed her parents never fail to be extremely creepy, and they don’t disappoint here.  One can’t help but take note of what Shiki tells her uncle when he begs her to kill him – “Don’t worry, I’m certain we’ll be killed one day”.  Whatever is really going on here, it seems almost a certainty that Shiki is the mastermind behind it all, and has been planning it for a very long time.  It’s an interesting mystery, but not as interesting as the emotional deconstruction of the people acting it out.

Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -9 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -10 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -11
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -12 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -13 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -14
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -15 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -17 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -18
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -19 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -20 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -21
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -22 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -24 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -25
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -26 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -27 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -28
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -29 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -30 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -31
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -32 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -33 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -34
Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -35 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -36 Subete ga F ni Naru - 07 -37
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13 comments

  1. E

    The episode got me wondering if we had any way to get our opinions heard about the use of English, I'm hoping that don't have a conversation like that again. Surprisingly, I found their English understandable, but the whole monotone-ness of the delivery really killed that scene for me.

  2. K

    Not being a native speaker, the English felt off to me, but I didn't care to much about it. The episode was really good. Shiki is really interesting for me. Characters that don't have "normal" views on morals are really hard to pull off, so seeing one being so masterfully created is a fest to me.

  3. g

    One weird thing about "that" conversation" was how there weren't any subtitles for native audiences

  4. That's a very good point – I didn't notice that.

  5. K

    There were Japanese subtitles in the raw I saw. In the end, I just had to mute the sound & read the subtitles. Went much better.

  6. S

    The Japanese raws have Japanese subtitles.

  7. Sensei! Is it really you? Great to see you here.

  8. m

    I did feel they spoke better than most other shows that tried using English, but I wished they hadn't had such a long clip of it.
    It is interesting to see how Shiki's interest in Nishinosono entangles with her even after Shiki's death. At the moment, I am more curious on why Shiki is so infatuated with her, and whether she sees Nishinosono as useful in some way.

  9. w

    I have to say that the English parts dragged, if not stilted with how they speak slowly. I guess it just didn't sound so natural, and it felt like it was a laborious task for the seiyuus. So while it was a good effort for them, it also gave a blow to the delivery of what was supposed to be a smooth exchange/conversation.

    Anyway, as the mystery goes on, I feel like the translation of "Subete ga F ni Naru" as "Everything becomes F" is not as apt as it seems. Subete can mean "all" too, and I guess word choice can change the context somehow, even if they may mean the same thing. I guess I'm being simple. I'm thinking of it meaning "All becomes Free"—all pertaining to Shiki's personalities—instead.

    On the other hand…Maybe Shiki was indeed pregnant? Her retreat to the island 15 years ago could be her "confinement" time, as they term it in Regency/Victorian era. Nobody saw her, so nobody knows. Only the director does. A child of someone with a DID…trapped for 15 years with Shiki…By killing his or her parents, he/she can be free too…

  10. G

    I wonder why her parents named her Shiki? I'm sure there is some meaning to it.

  11. w

    Shiki (四季) has the characters that mean "four seasons." It's a beautiful name if taken simply as it is, but it is also a foreboding one because I know that in Japanese, 四 (shi), which means 4 both in Chinese and Japanese, is a homophone (using the Chinese reading) of 死(shi), which means death. The number 4 is believed to be an unlucky number because of this.

    Now that I think about it, this isn't the first Shiki in anime history with DID…Although the other Shiki has different characters in her name.

  12. m

    Some of the English was off too which is a bit obnoxious. I don't mean the "Engrish" accent but incorrect words, weird ways of saying things, and overly dramatic dialogue choices. As for the last of those I can't tell if the line "Humans are truly foolish creatures. Oh how I wish I could escape this unjust world" (and her getting over it with such an emotionless accent ruins the mood and comes across awkward as fuck) was really too dramatic or if it was a combo of lack of proper acting bc of the bad English mixed with poor word choice (again bc of bad English skills) that made it come across as too much. The weird way of saying things goes for that line as well. Any fluent English speaker would not have chosen "escape this unjust world" as a way to make that point, and it happened with other lines too. "You know what? A memory I have of my sister just came to me" "I'd love to hear it" feels so unnatural and almost like a convo between a child and their father. The worst is the flat out nonsensical English like when she said "It's a journal. I write in it so I don't forget everything." I hope she doesn't forget everything if she doesn't write it all down. I feel like if you are going to add something as an artistic choice, you should make sure your writing is correct. You can't control not having an actor who can speak the language well, and like you said their target audience wouldn't notice anyway, but it feels like a waste. I always thought if a VA would learn English fluently it would land them a few more roles, or at least give them an advantage on their resume.

    The second half of the ep really made up for it though. Subete ga F has me on edge waiting for the next episodes to air more than any anime has this year. Even when it isn't at its best the storyline is still so interesting, and I can't wait to find out what happens. It's far better than the other mystery show of the season, Sakurako-san. The best part of that show is how it made me remember Hyouka which was probably the last time I was interested in a pure mystery anime.

  13. w

    I agree it was overly dramatic how Miki-san spoke. Regarding to how Saikawa replies though, I think he's actually being formal in English? He and Miki are basically strangers, and the way he talks to her shows how much he is treading carefully by agreeing here and there.

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