FreezeFrame: Bittersweet Akiko Jam
No music. No zoom-in slow-motion replay. Sometimes, the unbiased reality is more painful than any dramatic interpretation. In what could have been a recording from a security camera, we’re exposed to a brutal scene in which the mother we’ve come to love as our own is plowed over by two tons of drunken SUV, with nothing but a smashed strawberry cake as a final punch line.
My heart is in pieces, laying somewhere between the shards of windshield and makeshift Smucker’s. Kind of gives a new meaning to “Akiko Jam,” doesn’t it?
And while Kanon has been no less of an emotional roller coaster up till now, everything that’s happened seems to pale in comparison to “the accident” – most likely because of how sudden it was. I mean, it was difficult to watch Makoto go from speaking Makopinese to stage 3 Alzheimer’s in a few episodes, just like it was sad to see Shiori and Ayu fade away. But those took episodes to happen, and we pretty much knew what was coming. Not Akiko…
You see, the reason this hit me so hard was because in my mind, I had already elevated Akiko to the status of “untouchable” – one of those support characters that are always there to offer girl advice, or go to the arcade with, or fix you a midnight snack. The one that’s never a part of the main story, but provide the necessary interactions to bring out the personality of the main characters. Akiko’s status as an unchanging side character was solidified when she recovered from that fever that caused such a commotion earlier on – seemed like she would’ve gotten worse if she was to be a plot-swinging character. When she recovered, I completely let my guard down, and assumed she would remain the same loving mother I had always adored. Assumed that she would always be there to greet Yuuichi at the door. Assumed that I could always take her for granted.
The last time a show hit me this hard was ol’ Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, where poor Haruka got mowed over in similar fashion while standing next to a telephone booth. Call me foolish, but I didn’t see it coming. All I could see were the fun dates, the purikura, the incessant blushing and maybe even the eventual “I love you, so it’s ok…” moment. And just like Haruka, I had envisioned a future where Akiko and Nayuki would always continue their Aria-esque way of life, softly and slowly living their lives one day at a time.
If I were to pick the one thing that makes Kanon special, I’d say it’s because “always” didn’t happen.
Oh Akiko, get well soon.