Hoozuki no Reitetsu – OVA 3

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -17 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -51 Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -62

Every so often, a subbed Hoozuki OVA pops up to remind us just what a marvelous series this is.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -1Something very strange is going on with Hoozuki no Reitetsu – and I’m not talking about the fact that this odd, esoteric philosophical absurdist comedy became a massive commercial hit.  Why in the world haven’t we had a second season announcement?  There should be plenty of source material, and the show was easily the biggest commercial hit of Winter 2014 and one of the biggest of the year.  I don’t recall another manga adaptation that sold upwards of 20K per volume being stalled this long waiting for a sequel unless there just wasn’t enough material.  I know Wit isn’t the largest studio in the business but as basically a Production I.G. imprint, they should certainly have been able to get on a second season after two full years.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -2Sadly, this was the last of the announced OVAs for Hoozuki no Reitetsu.  And at that, it was a good six months since its release before it was subtitled.  It was absolutely worth the wait, though – a refresher course on just how much awesomeness is packed into this quirky comedy.  It’s beautiful to look at, every insert song (and there are a lot of them) is stellar, and it’s consistently smart and hilariously funny.  There’s a relentless intellectual curiosity running though Hoozuki no Reitetsu that I find enormously appealing – it’s clear mangaka Eguchi Natsumi is fascinated by a great many aspects of human culture and the natural world, and uses the series as a means to explore them.  It’s a great thing to be able to share that experience.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -3I think this might have been my favorite of the three OVAs, though they were all excellent, as you’d expect.  In the first place even among this deep cast of comic creations, the Nasubi-Karauri branch is one of the best, especially when Nasubi is going on about art.  I think art is very much integral to what Hoozuki no Reitetsu is – the visual style is pulled directly from religious art, and it’s a theme that runs through many chapters, obviously one of the pursuits that interests Eguchi-sensei.  Hakutaku, as it happens, is a terrible artist – or at least he seems to be.  But I have to admit by the end of the episode, Nasubi almost had me doubting myself.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -4That Nasubi is actually a very good artist given his goofball persona is funny and interesting, but in point of fact he shows himself in this episode not to be some kind of idiot savant, but someone who’s actually quite thoughtful and knowledgeable about art.  It’s clear that Nasubi-kun is at heart a surrealist, and he has a surrealist’s eye for the challenging and grotesque.  “If you want realism, take photographs” he tells the self-admitted layman (and he plays the role beautifully) Momotarou – and while I’m not at heart a true surrealist to the degree Nasubi is, I find myself in agreement on this.  Art shouldn’t be about reproducing reality as closely as possible – it should be realty as reflected through the lens of the artist’s soul.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -5Nasubi as art teacher is pretty disastrous, but not – as you might expect – because of Nasubi.  The adorable little eggplant does a pretty yeoman job of it actually, but it’s Hakutaku that’s the issue.  Still, the two of them hit it off aesthetically (only Nasubi sees Bai Ze’s true genius) and proceed to unleash upon the world a series of increasingly creepy (and huge) cat(ish) shikigami (or as Nasubi calls them, “performance art”).  Nasubi’s are surrealist nightmares, and Hakutaku’s are effectively purring stick figures.  And of course, Hakutaku and Hoozuki feud interminably as they always do.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu - OVA 3 -6There are, as always, lots of ruthless gags here (like the 2-D waifu bit, and Hoozuki’s “I don’t acknowledge that as an animal”).  And the Zashiki-Warashi make an appearance in the B-Part, showing why Hoozuki doesn’t take them out of the house too often.  I’d also call attention to the wildly creative ED sequence, which is yet another fantastic song in the seemingly endless Hoozuki catalog of them.  I can’t imagine this will be the last we see of Hoozuki no Reitetsu in animated form, as successful as the series is, but my God – what a crying shame it would be if that were the case.  It’s time for Wit and the production committee to get off their asses and get to work on a second season.

 

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2 comments

  1. e

    This was a great one wasn’t it? *grins*
    Now… ‘ “If you want realism, take photographs” he tells the self-admitted layman (and he plays the role beautifully) Momotarou – and while I’m not at heart a true surrealist to the degree Nasubi is, I find myself in agreement on this. Art shouldn’t be about reproducing reality as closely as possible – it should be realty as reflected through the lens of the artist’s soul.’ eheh.
    From where I stand the point is… even in realism what you get is never reality as it is but reality as the artist and spectator perceives it already. In a way there is no ‘true’ reality or ‘just imitation’ in art, but rather different facets/degrees/goggles of perception. In this and other ways I like to sum it as ‘The face is the canvas, the canvas is the face’ and either can act as mirror. Per speculum.
    Even the by-self-labelling most surrealist of composition often are made of extremely ‘realistic’ when not iperrealistic elements – just take Dalì, who is also feautured in this episode. Or Magritte -. But strictly speaking even the most fantastic figures in medieval art were actually considered real by its contemporaries. Look at the Renaissance at Piero della Francesca… he mastered state of art perspective and geometry, serene balance and clear crystalline light – that is the pinnacle of depiction of reality in his time and cultural milieu – … but his painting have this frozen time and endless abstract ‘unreal’ serenity quality and his portraits of people and landscape are ‘realistic’. But it’s the kind of realistic presentation of the real world that belongs with Vermeer, Hopper, Magritte, Mondrian and De Chirico… and when you start seeing the spectrum you realize we’re not in Kansas anymore.
    On more down to Earth terms, put any number of people to depict the same subject and you’ll get an equivalent number of variation of the object… you won’t find two identical renditions and noooone of them will be a perfect match to what – or whom – they picked as reference. Tried and tested in my figure classes as well. It was rather fascinating really. This is admittedly less apparent in photography but it’s still there… again sorry for drawing out a RL anecdote but I remember a set of photographs by one of my Fine Arts Accademia course mates… she had picked a very familiar area of town as subject. Well… it took us some moments to pinpoint that. They were traditional analog film shots, no post processing filters applied or anything, they didn’t feature particularly gimmicky angles or framing or manipulation either. Yet those everyday fragments of our reality seemed to be straight from another dimension or layer of reality in her pictures. We were ‘just’ seeing them through her eyes, they were very real and realistic yet they felt both unreal and more than real.
    TL;DR : realism vs surrealism it’s not that simple or clear cut the more you delve into it imho 🙂

  2. D

    Thanks for the pointer, somehow i’d not noticed this was available. Excellent show, and some nice art commentary thrown in. Loved the magical girl parody anime within the anime as well.

    Now if only they’d get on and do season 2.

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