「五家の崩壊」 (Shugogo no Houkai)
“Destruction of the Five Houses”
The friendzone. ‘Tis a painful place to be.
I quite like the romantic developments in Hiiro no Kakera, and it uses a subtle approach that I wish more shows would utilize – more than the overt, grand gestures of romance, the sort of slow-building, little touches in HnK is what makes the romance more believable, especially since it also illustrates the progress of the relationship over a period of time. Affections accumulate overtime, so the portrayal of Tamaki’s interactions with the guys is something that seems and feels natural and quite sweet. Her actions are instinctive rather than calculated, coming and going so naturally that it might be easy to miss. It says a lot more about where her feelings stand because actions do speak louder than words – in the way she grips onto Takuma’s shirt and worries about him are clearer signs of how she feels towards him than any verbal indication. At this point, it simply becomes a matter of both parties consciously recognizing what their feelings are.
The subtle way to go about the romance is also the safest way to protect themselves from any potential backlash if Studio DEEN decides not to push through with any definite pairing. Meshing everyone’s routes together is bad, but clearly promoting one pairing and then chickening out at the last second with a harem ending is arguably worse. Not only is it poor directing, it displays a severe lack of confidence in the producers’ ability to stick with their own material.
Props have to be given for Mahiro though… he’s one true bro. His character is a loud one with undercurrents of maturity that gives him extra depth, and of the cast, he’s arguably the most nuanced one. Facets of his personality are shown through some of the most organic ways I’ve seen, where everything about him is purely shown rather than told. It’s a storytelling technique that surprisingly doesn’t get used so often, and even the most popular of shows often utterly fail when it comes to hitting that prefect note with character exposition. This is the primary reason why I value Hiiro no Kakera so much – the premise is nothing new and easily dismissible; its production values are also questionable at best. But the writing is just precious and its understated way of developing the characters is reminiscent of Kuroko no Basuke, the other recent series that I thought handled its cast exceptionally well. Both series have really stretched its characters and managed to build some very solid personalities during their run, and although Hiiro no Kakera’s efforts don’t quite reach the heights of KnB, the results are still leagues above many other currently airing shows.
The only problem I have with the writing is when plot has to be entered into the equation – within the primary cast members, things are resolved swiftly. But when it comes to advancing the grand plot, so much of the conflict hinges on one major person – I’m looking at you, Grandma – withholding information that the credibility of the conflicts become paper thin. It’s not so much a problem inherent with the production staff as it’s a problem rooted with the source material, so it would be slightly unfair to berate the adaptation for trying to work off what the original had. Condensing the show to thirteen episodes would make the plot progress much faster, but that would come at the price of sacrificing the character development, which is a highly unwise decision since it would essentially bereave Hiiro no Kakera of its greatest strength. So as slow as the main storyline is, I would still take a dragged out conflict over an empty shell with no positive points to speak of. Hiiro no Kakera does what it does very well, and it’s looking to be the legacy that’ll distinguish it from the rest of its brethren.