「ゆうしゃめんま」 (Yūsha Menma)
“Menma the Hero”
I’ve actually never heard an anime character refer another ethnicity as hot before. I laughed so hard at that. I suppose the fact that it was in particular Vietnamese that he was talking about helped, seeing as how my childhood friends consisted a large portion of them. In any case, Tetsuo is pretty awesome in my eyes, traveling the world while he’s still in high school (ah, the youthful dream). He’s got the drive and he’s ready to do it, and it makes him admirable. Although being readily able to show his junk to Jintan so easily is a bit… questionable.
I wasn’t so sure how the story was going to tell itself (which is a good thing), so I was impressed at the usage of a possible “wish” of Menma’s as a plot device to bring together characters and flesh them out. It’s really quite clever. The general focus given this time around was Anaru, who is revealed to blame herself as well for the death of Menma, due to posing the question to Jintan in the first place. I had guessed her character archetype was the “nerdy girl who was easily influenced by peer pressure,” and that the friends she hung around with weren’t exactly innocent by any means. However, actually hearing that come out of Tsuruko’s mouth like a hot knife on butter, ouch. It’s an interesting contrast that Tsuruko turned out bold, whereas Anaru is an insecure mess, but uphold the opposite images in public. Tsuruko continues to show she’s the “strong” one, but I’m inclined to be skeptical about Tsuruko’s true feelings. She might actually be a softie when she’s alone, but nothing in the show suggests that yet.
Anaru’s love of games probably led to her working at a shop for one, where Jintan proceeds to buy “nokemon” gold, to catch the rare “nokemon” Menma wanted. It’s funny, because most people consider gold and silver to be the best versions of Pokemon, but I had a real laugh with all the Pokemon references (getto daze!). Anywho, the whole deal to capture the “nokemon” was just a brilliant vehicle for character development. Jintan and Anaru’s stiff air gradually dissipated as they bond over their childhood game, leading up to a romantically hilarious celebration that made me really want Anaru to eventually confess. Menma in turn is able to observe all this (as with the sticker that Anaru seemed to hate in the beginning, but is implied to have kept it on after Menma’s death, guilty conscience or not), giving her hope that not all her friends are completely gone “inside,” ending the episode on a rather cheery note.
It can’t be certain that “possible wishes” will continue to be the way the story unfolds, but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind if they were all as great as this episode. The cheerful mood that remained shouldn’t be taken for granted, given a dangerous little individual sniffing Menma’s old clothes tells me this show isn’t afraid to tackle more grim material. If anything, there’s one thing for sure; the show continues to astonish me in all fields. Since we finally get a preview, next week Jintan will actually return to school, successfully fulfilling Anaru’s wish. I can almost smell the possible storm coming up.