「大地の鳴動」 (Daichi no Meidou)
“Rumbling of the Earth”
“Getting bigger” jokes aside, hooray for heroes that possess viable brain cells! It’s a huge leap forward for the characters in Hiiro no Kakera this time around, and boy does it feel good to have them all back on the same page. Mahiro might be hot-headed, but he’s not a true asshole – he recognizes his own immaturity, and although it’s not an outright apology, the reconciliation between he and Tamaki was every bit as satisfying as I’d hoped. It’s done in complete Mahiro style, which is what really matters.
Yuuichi and Takuma were pretty bro this week, and their understated camaraderie ties in with what I briefly touched upon last week: these guys really care for each other. Without being told what to do, they instinctively know which problem needs to be fixed first, who needs their help most, and are able to carry out what is required of them without a high and mighty I-told-you-so attitude. I’m also thoroughly impressed by how this is integrated into the thick of things and how natural it all feels to watch the guys interact. These solid character interactions are some of the things that make up for the slower pace and I love the fact none of the protagonists are there solely to move the plot along.
Hiiro no Kakera doesn’t have much to boast in the way of dramatic tension – that’s not to say the story-telling is terrible, of course. I still think its exposition is above average, and the writing comes off as confident and assured so that important explanations or character developments don’t come off as “show and tell”. There are enough blanks so that the viewers aren’t spoon-fed information, and there are enough hints of what is to come to keep them hooked. The slow pace can be a deterrent for some, but Hiiro no Kakera is just one of those shows where the overarching plot comes secondary to fleshing out characters and side plots, which are actually pretty intriguing.
Take Shinji, for example. It looks like Yuuichi has begun to suspect something, and I love me some sharp heroes. Hints have been dropped long enough for viewers to clue in to the fact that Shinji might not be all he seems, and although he has so helpfully volunteered to find the enemies’ hideout, what has he found exactly?
In the vein of interesting side plots, the Vier and Fiona issue finally tumbled out of the closet, and although the tension behind that resolution was a little lacking, Hiiro no Kakera knows how to play its cards by bringing new potential plot points just as another one concludes. The main plot is, unfortunately, swimming somewhere in Limbo, but it’s such a simple premise to begin with that I’m happy there are so many other plot threads to spark interest. Of course I’m still invested in the Tamayori Princess and the Onikirimaru ordeal and I look forward where Tamaki’s new resolution will take her – hopefully Grandma will be slightly more forthcoming with the information now that her granddaughter has finally found the determination to fulfill her role. It’s been nice seeing Tamaki grow into her “destiny” on her own, but the poor girl has just been running into dead ends when it comes to just how she’s supposed to become the true Tamayori Princess. Without a convenient manual and faced with a predecessor whose lips are sealed tighter than bank vaults, it’s hard to blame her for not being able to do anything since she has never been given the proper tools to make anything of herself.
I’m not particularly convinced Masataka is completely on their side – while he doesn’t seem like an antagonist per se, he certainly conducts himself in the most suspicious way possible. While I would appreciate an advancement of the plot and Tamaki’s transformation into the Tamayori Princess, Masataka is probably not the best person to ask for help from. Unless Grandma finally decides to help though, it’s looking more and more like he’s her only choice.
P.S.: Ah, the wealth of inappropriate jokes I can come up with for Mahiro this episode… I’ll just settle for one though: you can always look to something little and blue for your growing needs, Mahiro. If you know what I mean.