「火焔」 (Homura)

Things are definitely heating up, and on several fronts.

After a one-week hiatus (table tennis taking over the timeslot) Arata Kangatari is back. And it’s still determinedly sticking to its roughly four chapter-per-episode adaptation pace, despite the fact that we only have five eps left in the series. The interesting element now, though, is that we’re starting to see signs of multiple threads being woven into the current one – most of what we see in this episode happened at roughly the same time in the manga, but a few bits are warped in from much later (and a few characters seem to have been edited out altogether, victims of the time crunch).

That said, I’m hard-pressed to see any way an actual conclusion can be reached in the anime – we would have had to have seen much larger wholesale edits than we have – so it seems as if Yasuda-sensei has elected to try and preserve the essence of the story at the expense of trying to offer a definitive ending. I don’t disagree with that decision – the schedule is what it is, and as a fan of the manga I’m relatively pleased with the anime in terms of showing why it’s such a worthwhile story. And the characters are behaving like themselves, too, albeit some of that behavior might be less understandable with some of the context behind it having been cut. I can’t really judge that, but I think the damage has been relatively minor so far.

Happily we are seeing some development on the modern Tokyo side of the story – and it looks like we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of it next week. What we’re not seeing is a lot of the comedy that Arata’s thread offers, mostly of the fish-out-of-water variety – he’s such a happy-go-lucky kid (rather the opposite of Hinohara) that his generally unfazed reactions to the trouble he gets into are good for quite a few laughs that don’t feel mean-spirited. What we are seeing is the way he’s becoming involved with Kadowaki, who’s finding this Arata quite a change from the one he’s used to dealing with. While Arata’s approach to dealing with bullying (after initially believing Kadowaki and Hinohara were friends based on the photo) is quite effective, he reminds himself frequently that Hinohara is going to have to deal with whatever he leaves behind assuming they ever switch back. There’s also the matter of Hinohara’s mother, who in fact is an extremely neurotic and anxious woman (we can see where he got it from) who spends much of her time worrying over her son – who, in turn, feels guilty about her worrying over him. I don’t know how well this has come across as her character has had minimal screen time, but it’s an important character element nonetheless.

Meanwhile, back in Amawakuni, most of the focus this week is on Kannagi. That there are parallels between the story of broken childhood friendships in the two worlds is not coincidental, and we get a little taste of it from both perspectives this week. Seeing so much of Kannagi’s flashback feels strange at this point in the story but in context I think it works, as the anime does a pretty good job of of fleshing out his backstory in digest form. In the present, Kannagi is basically a broken man – in the absence of Homura (we see that it means more to him than simply its power as a Hayagami) his old wounds are reopening, both literally and metaphorically. Initially he sees Hinohara and his Hayagami as a possible way to regain what he’s lost, but in point of fact he ends up saving Hinohara and Kotoha from the flames with which he’s all too familiar. This leads to a partial reveal of his past, and an offer to join forces (yes, that did happen just about this quickly in the manga).

Meanwhile, there’s the matter of Hinohara and Kotoha – one which comes to Arata’s attention when Hinohara asks what he thinks of her during one of their brief inter-dimensional Skype sessions. "A little sister" Arata answers, and one senses more or less truthfully – but after their connection has been cut he starts to consider the implications of the fact that Hinohara asked the question in the first place. I don’t know that you can call this a love triangle given the highly unusual circumstances (and poor hapless Kanate is obviously not a factor) but the dynamic is an interesting one, for all concerned. Kotoha certainly makes no bones about her feelings – but Hinohara quite rightly wonders just who it is she’s expressing those feelings for. And Arata now how reason to consider his own feelings on the matter more carefully than he has in the past…




    1. Yeah, this definitely feels like a show from another time – something in the Inuyasha vein, or even older. Frankly I’m not sure Inuyasha would have been the success it was if it had been published 10 or certainly 15 years later.

      1. People are getting more sophisticated with their taste in terms of passing and plot when it comes to action shows.

        Code Guess also reminded me of the 70-80’d anime but it was done intentionally as a style rather then the form the story took.

      2. Old-school shows have such a deliberate pacing that this series fall right in line with. Back then, plots were micromanaged so they wouldn’t get ahead of themselves. I.E., huge plot twists, revelations, & character development of ANY kind took place over an entire cour if you compare them the show lengths of today.

        If you take a look at Inuyasha as a whole, it was 167 episodes and they didn’t even conclude it. Do you really think something like that could fly today w/o a ton of flac. They finished it later but the pacing of those episodes were many times faster, a just get ‘er done scenario.

        A perfect example of that today is Fairy Tail: deliberate pacing, micromanaged plot, tons of arcs, & unconcluded . . . yet it was unconcluded because the show caught up with the manga & they didn’t want to go into filler arcs like bleach, fillers cost money too – even more so than canon since they’re working from scratch.

        A show like this is no where near as popular as those anyway, mainly because it’s been done so many times before & a lot of those were executed much better too. I say that because the pacing of this show is just ungodly slow, even by old-school standards. If the show continued at this rate, the first 50 episodes would still have that just getting started feeling.

      3. Deliberate pacing is not always a good thing. Its hard to keep the plot engaging for the audience for 12 episodes, let alone for 100+ episodes. Most of those long 90s anime series were plagued with filler too. I would take a tightly paced, fast moving two cour any day over a plodding 50+ series.

      4. Today, deliberate pacing is hardly ever a good thing, at least when you’re trying to tell a story. Redundancy in that pacing is what can bore your viewers/readers to death. That sort of pacing was the norm for about 30 years – yeah, it took them that long to start to change it up.

      5. I’m just saying it’s deliberate because I’m looking at the bigger picture, sorta speak. They’re just skipping too much for the redundancy of the manga to be completely noticeable. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. They combined the several chapters that need it & left out nearly all the stuff that dragged on in the manga. The manga actually doesn’t show it’s pacing difficulties until volumes 4-6 where you start to notice the it’s pretty much the same as the intro volumes.

        For some reason, I can’t watch this show w/o relating to to the manga. They’re not rewriting anything, but the way they’re skipping/combining doesn’t make it seem like a summary. It just seems like it loss some useless belly fat.

  1. At risk of spoilers, I’m still confused about why precisely Kadowaki hates Arata(Hinohara).

    I’ve even read the latest manga chapters and I still don’t understand it myself ;p

    1. Here’s the gist of it as far as I’ve been able to get:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      They say Arata’s relationship with Kidowaki is supposed to reflect that of Akachi and Kannagi. However I have to say that I always found Arata/Kidowaki’s issues a contrived mess of high school drama that could have been easily solved early on if someone had bothered to correct the misunderstandings. Akachi and Kannagi’s relationship however was much deeper and much more tragic, and there was actual betrayal involved and death and sacrifice. In comparison, Arata and Kidowaki’s incident was really child’s play.

  2. It looks like I’m going to have to pick up Watase’s manga after this series is over. I can’t see how they’re going to wrap up Arata with only a few episodes left. I really, really, wish this show had 25 to 50 episodes, like Fushigi Yuugi did. I’m going to agree with the others, you don’t see anime like this too often anymore and a decade ago it would’ve gotten those 50 episodes.

    When I first started this show I wasn’t sure if I’d still have a taste for Watase’s work but a decade later and I’m still enjoying her stories.

    Although I’ve not read the manga at all, this was what I was waiting for: https://randomc.net/image/Arata%20Kangatari/Arata%20Kangatari%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2006.jpg

    1. Kadowaki is such an ass that we just love to see this. lol

      We have not gotten into his head at all so I hope this is on cour of many as we are at the half way mark and we only got the “party” formed.

    2. I’ve read the manga since it began and I don’t think anything like that ever happened…..yet.

      Maybe it did and I can’t remember since I never reread manga after seeing it once ;p

  3. I still think this a good show… not OMG, but yet quite good!

    Ps: Man… almost had a heart attack when I couldn’t see Louise and instead saw a Titan! I almost grabbed my torches and pitchforks!

  4. I feel this anime those have the essence as in the manga in truth there some chance in the story like removing Seo in the story! He is an important factor to the story & is also a big twist when the time comes. Unlike Fushigi Yugi the anime really capture the essence of the manga, I dont like too much change when a manga turns anime though I understand the reason still the story some feel different from the manga…


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