「近すぎて遠い…」 (Chikasugite Tooi…)
“So Close and Yet So Far…”
The third episode. This is the third episode, and already they’re throwing emotional fastballs like we’re sprinting down the final stretch. Except we’re not, because they still took the time for some hijinx, and they’re still only beginning to build up the characters. This show…this show has been gravely underestimated. So far, it’s great!
The beginning of this episode was focused on Sorata coming to grips with Shiina’s fame. The shower scene notwithstanding, I was surprised by how little humour there was, but not in the least displeased. The discussion between Jin and Sorata resonated with me to a frankly embarrassing degree. “You need to decide where you belong before anything else.” Right you are, Jin-kun. Harder to do when you’re an adult, mind you, but right you are. Trust me.
But more than that, it was Sorata’s dishonesty. We’re used to male romcom leads being dishonest, but not like this. Here was something we can all relate to. Sorata is lost, unsure of what he wants to do with his life. He keeps saying he wants one thing – to leave Sakurasou – but it sounds to me as if he’s only saying that because it’s the “right” thing to do, or because that’s what people expect, or perhaps simply because he’s stubborn and doesn’t feel like he belongs among these geniuses. Yet the “right” thing to do is so often wrong when applied to a single person’s life. Oh how I can relate! And I’d warrant that a lot of you can as well, and if not now then sometime in the future. Look forward to it.
Then there was the revelation that game design is Sorata’s dream. I was struck by how much of a kid he is. Not just him, though. Manga, anime, voice acting, games…these are the dreams of the young, the dreams one has when we don’t know what else there is. Not that I hate them for that. Those are the kinds of dreams you should have when you’re young, and hell, sometimes they even stick with you. Man, I sound like an old man. Moving on.
Not all was serious business this week, though. For one, Shiina’s sudden “Go out with me” nearly knocked me out of my chair! (I was in good company.) Then were all the build-up scenes with Misaki-sempai. Especially great was the elephant sound + her coy “Hentai.” after she stripped Sorata (HAH!), as well as her whole panicky sprint through the mall. I’m not usually a die-hard fan of genki girls, but Misaki-sempai is my exception. Okay, one of them.
But it wasn’t meant to last. Remember what I said about emotional fastballs? As she crouched down (with Sorata as well), my heart quavered. When she casually mentioned that she wanted to be beside Jin – we all knew, but it’s different when it’s said aloud – my heart began to crack. Finally, when she looked down with tears in her eyes and turned to shuffle off to home, so broken and utterly defeated…my heart broke with her. Poor Misaki-sempai. What is Jin thinking!? It’s one thing to not want to date her, but to so obviously hurt her – he admitted that he knew they were following him and Shiina – is almost unforgivable! …or it would be, if I didn’t have the sneaking suspicion that he thinks he’s doing it for her own good (his scripts suck, he’s not worthy, she deserves better, better than someone as useless as him, etc etc). Perhaps that’s why he was planning to take Sorata’s punch. Maybe he wanted to.
Fortunately, not all the fight is gone from Sorata. His fail punch was hilarious, as well as the perfect anti-climax to prevent that scene from turning into a tedious melodrama. That and it led to the next scene. There, while the fanservice was appreciated, that wasn’t what made it so lovely.
“Why are you here?” said Shiina. Oh my. It was at that point that Sorata realized, all in a rush. Shiina may be useless at many things, but she’s useless at things that she doesn’t care about. She’s useless at stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, does not matter. The things that matter – what she wants to be, what makes her happy, her dreams, her aspirations – she knows exactly what those are and is actively pursuing them. Next to her, it’s Sorata that’s clueless, and he finally realized that. Welcome to the club, Sorata! I’ve spent many years there myself. Pull up a chair. You may be here for a while.
The emotional impact of this episode – this, I repeat, third episode of the season – was a sight to behold. Maybe it’s just me, maybe this is just one of those stories that resonated with unique experiences in my life, amplifying it far out of proportion to what others will see. If so, I don’t care. When Sorata proclaimed “I’ll decide where I belong” and the ED cut in, I got those chills man, those chills that I’m always talking about, the ones that tell me I’m watching something special. Hopefully next time Sorata won’t delete those words, and he’ll ask Akasaka what he really wants to know – “How do I make a game?” Follow your dream, my young friend, even if it takes you away from Sakurasou…no matter how much Shiina doesn’t want that. Though, I think he’ll find that his dream can best be achieved by staying right there, and that Sakurasou was the place he belongs all along. But that’ll be some time coming, I’ll warrant. Can’t wait to find out.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Intense emotions come to the fore as Sorata realizes that it’s not Shiina who is clueless – it’s him. #Sakurasou
- I appreciate how Jin didn’t let Sorata stew in his own juices, and instead forced him to put up or shut up by offering to take care of both Mashiro and his cats. Sure, it wasn’t for the best of reasons, but sometimes we all need a kick in the pants.
- Got…I’m gunna to say milk? Oh. It was milk. Alrighty then.
- Loved how they were absolutely certain that Jin was going to sleep with Shiina. I’d say that was harsh, and that they should have more faith in their friend…but considering everything, it was well deserved! Under normal circumstances, that is.
- She threw out a 10,000 yen note! Damn, this girl is serious!
- Sorata’s seiyuu (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) continues to be superb. His tsukkomis were spot on as usual, and that running scene was just masterfully done all around. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite male seiyuu. If he keeps this up he may be able to challenge Sugita Tomokazu. Le gasp!
- For someone so close, she’s far away…you’re not fooling anyone, Jin. Why won’t you just admit it!? Gaaaah!!
- Lap pillow HNNNNNGGG!!
- Early in the episode, Sorata purposefully stopped himself from telling Shiina to work hard on her manga (i.e. the English equivalent of saying “good luck”). It was a subtle and masterful way to show the effect learning of her fame had on him, and it tore at me, to see that glimpse of shameful jealousy that we all possess, and that I’ve seen before in my own mirror. That’s why my heart leapt when he said “gambare” to Shiina at the very end. Well played, shounen.
- I lucked out, getting to cover this show. I might even still say that if this all goes south from here. Hopefully we won’t have to find out.
ED: 「DAYS of DASH」 by 鈴木このみ (Suzuki Konomi)