「ボディ・アンド・ソウル」 (Bodi Ando Souru)
“Body and Soul”
Alright, I feel much better now. The pacing has been restored and developments are now fully rolling. Though a few of the pacing hiccups last episode seeped into today’s episode, the episode slowed the story down and–most importantly–gave way to more focused meaningful character development on Banri.
First off: Koko. She’s definitely still pretty unstable, yet surprisingly upbeat after the lashing she got from Mitsuo. Well, she’s upbeat until performing the robot at the Festival Club. Though it’s still a struggle to look at her situation with sympathy, my perception of her is slowly changing. Her minor mistakes are easier to forgive (stepping on Chinami’s toes is no good)–they come more off as missteps in her self-improvement rather than leaping backwards. This consequently makes her constant self-reflection and post-awareness much more comfortable to accept as an indicator of growth. She’s really pulling her best to try and distance herself from the emotional ties that she’s fostered for around a decade–she’s trying to live her life as a college student, rather than as an annoying part of Mitsuo’s life. Oh, it’ll take Banri to be her crutches (reluctant to accept as he is), but I can finally start to cheer her on towards her new path in college.
Wit her recovery though comes with it the simultaneous discontent of Banri. In bringing Banri’s ghost (or soul, your pick) into the fray, Banri’s past is developing in a strangely unique way. While we didn’t get much information out of old Banri this week, he does drop hints at his future role in exposing the story. Banri’s ghost is full aware of Linda and Banri’s true relationship (which I highly suspect was that of former romance), yet he cannot possibly explain such a past to the new Banri. Thus, any flashbacks or reflections of the past will not be a simple flashback of convenience, but rather from either Linda herself, or from the reflections of Banri’s ghost as he assesses the current state of his former body. It’s an interesting implication–the Banri that exists now is a completely different entity than the Banri before, and as such will hold very different views of the plot as it progresses. This suggestion of Banri being reborn is a topic that the show has been exploring before, but I believe it’ll be central to Banri’s development as a character, as he now shares the same path as Koko as well.
Both Kaga and Tada (see, their names are MADE for each other!) have in a sense, lost their former selves. Where Koko has lost the goal she’d been striving for a decade, Banri has lost everything. However, it is not a simple matter of magnitude that makes them different–each reacts to their situation in very different ways. Banri is haunted by a past he can’t fully let go and struggles to form his new life independent of the past, but is thwarted as clues from the past guide him to face his former life. Koko on the other hand already fully knows the past that she’s escaping, but is at the same time afraid of the new life that she must accept to move forward in life. She instead is faced with navigating the clues of the present to seek out the new life that she must embrace, all of which is actually hidden from her due to her constant narrow focus before. Both of them are haunted by an inability to reconcile past and present, by a desire for a new life, but are actually polarized in their predicaments. It makes sense now why these two are eventually bound for one another–as they form their new lives with success, undoubtedly they will each have a part in the other’s formation, thus cementing each other’s presence into fresh new experience and life.
On realizing this, I regained my appreciation for this show and all the maturity it has to offer. To cover another instance of maturity, it’s nice that the show doesn’t go overboard with the tsundere or denial attitudes. All of the characters have an open realization of their character to at least one other character in the show. Mitsuo often accepts Banri’s observations without much of a fight, and Koko liberally opens herself to Banri when she can’t hold her feelings in anymore. There isn’t this, “No I don’t actually care about her! Really I don’t…” bull, but a simple and refreshing, “Yeah…I’m concerned for her.” These characters are complex and do hide some facets from the other characters as well as the audience, but when it comes to admitting the obvious, the characters don’t mess around. Besides the obvious with Linda, Koko herself may be hiding some things from Banri that she isn’t ready to express yet, just as Banri reluctantly hides his troubles from everyone else in order to avoid bothering them. Their actions feel so real that it’s almost scary how much this hits home.
Next week, here’s to hoping that Linda sheds some light on her end, assuming of course that Banri has the guts to ask Linda about it at an appropriate time. It is interesting how Koko is holding up that ‘no’ sign in the preview–maybe Banri is going to be aggressive and confess his feelings again! Commenters, let me ask you, how did you like today’s pacing, as well as the introduction of Banri’s ghost/soul? Do you think that it’s an appropriate plot device for revealing Banri’s past, or does it feel like it’s too mystical for this show? Heck, do you guys even think that Banri’s ghost is even a thing, or is it perhaps a symbolic representation that doesn’t actually exist within the story’s world? Let me know down below!
Thank you everyone last week who commented on whether the pacing or character development was favorable or not in your perspective. I do appreciate both sides and it has helped me view the show in a more stable manner. Please continue your long discussions this week–I enjoy reading long comments!