「カゲロウデイズ」 (Kagerou Deizu)
“Kagerou Days (Heat Haze Days)”
Let’s start this week’s review with a really bad analogy.
My own personal journey through this show has been as follows. I’m sitting in a five star restaurant with a guest chef serving me and my friend personally. Today, I’m treating them to this restaurant, which makes the best meat dishes in the nation. I’ve been to this restaurant a few times before and boy, were they excellent. Having checked with the chef beforehand, I personally get to know that today’s menu would be made from the legendary kobe beef. I decide to keep the theme a secret from my friend to see his reaction.
However, when we are served our meal (quite quickly in fact), we are simply given two hot dogs. My friend bites down and is really happy that it’s the best hot dog they’ve ever had, but I just sit there in disbelief. I take a bite out of the hot dog in goodwill to see if this was some new-style hot dog, but alas, it’s just a hot dog…made from kobe beef. I wonder if my friend, oblivious to the capacity of this five star restaurant or to the true potential of kobe beef, would taste things differently if they saw things from my perspective. I try my hardest to rate things positively as to not stifle the mood of my obviously happy and satisfied friend, but all that I can muster is a forced smile and nuanced compliments, and acknowledge that they are justified to enjoy that hot dog, just as much as I am justified to complain to the chef and the restaurant after my friend leaves.
If you really want me to explain the analogy, I can entertain that request in the comments, but the above sums up my experience thus far with MEKAKUCITY ACTORS. With the passing of the most significant plot segment of the entire series, I can safely say this–what I have said these past three episodes will apply to every episode thereafter, including this one. Hence, for this post, I will refrain from being overly focused on the negatives (as a side note though, Hiyori…what did they do to her…).
First, let’s focus on the symbolism. An interesting theme that isn’t seen in the music videos for Kagerou Days is the usage of telephone cables. Interestingly, there’s one scene in particular where all the phone lines meet where Hiyori is, indicating perhaps a convergence of all the timelines that Hibiya has to travel through. Considering how complex each set of phone lines are, it highlights the facts that no matter how many times he tries, the end result always focuses on Hiyori, albeit through a very different route each time. It’s a nice touch that the show added, though on my first watch through, it was easy to miss. On closer inspection though, a larger number of symbols can be found, including the stop signs, the red lights, the crows, all of which heavily indicate a sense of futility and death. Even the transition from a blue color scheme to a red one was very nice in order to see how the blood Hibiya has on his hands accumulates as he passes through each time phase. It’s interesting to see how the entire series is also dominated by construction cranes too, as if each timeline continues to construct itself, perhaps at a pace that’s always planning ahead of Hibiya. Heck, even the gears that sneak themselves in to the background give a hint as to the clockwork and futile nature to resist destiny.
Second, the song itself that was featured towards the end. The cover for the song was done really well and affirms itself as of my favorite musical segments of the entire Kagerou Project. It tells such a succinct story in a compressed amount of time that can really take you by surprise if you weren’t expecting it. Although it could’ve been tied better to the animation, the fact that they at least included it was a relief. Who knows how many heads would’ve rolled if they had chosen to omit Jin’s most popular song.
However, on focusing on these positive traits, I’ve realized something. The majority of these pluses mainly come from the song material itself, rather than what the adaptation had to add to it. Oh yes, there are some nice symbols added here and there, but the positive effects of those hints are seriously lost among the various flaws. The most enjoyable parts of this series to me are not based in the core 19 minutes. The OP and ED sequences are excellent, the preview and end cards are pretty, and the insert songs as always, are well done. These fringe positives however simply don’t mesh well with the actual show, just like how the story is leaving a good number of people in absolute confusion.
It saddens me a lot that a good number of people watching MEKAKUCITY ACTORS aren’t familiar with the roots of this show, namely the PVs. Those music videos are what brought the initial magic to the project–they are irreplaceable by this show by far. With that in mind, I’m making a decision that I’ve been thinking about over the weekend. I’m confident it’ll be more productive for all of us.
To refrain from repeating my commentary again and again, and to contribute meaningful commentary to the Kagerou Project, I am dropping MEKAKUCTIY ACTORS, but in its place, will be instead covering the songs and music videos of the Kagerou Project. These posts will come around every weekend in place of MEKAKUCITY ACTORS’ post release slot
Again, I repeat. MEKAKUCITY ACTORS is dropped in favor of its music video counterpart.
There are various reasons why, with the foremost being–it’s not fun. It’s simply not fun to point out all of the series’ flaws while trying to be as balanced as possible. It’s a chore, and I have learned from experience that my morale will drop significantly if I force myself through this series. However, I do see merit in the Kagerou Project as a whole, and where I see it shining brightly is in its music videos. It will be a much more enjoyable and productive experience to show people here the stories interwoven in the 22 songs that make up the original story. As the anime progresses, I hope that we’ll be able to dissect what Kagerou songs were used in-depth, and why exactly that was important to that week’s episode. Thus, I look forward to dissecting music videos, lyrics, and characters with you in the upcoming weeks. I apologize for those of you who are disappointed, but I hope these next few posts act as both a different perspective to the series, as well as a complementary discussion to read alongside the series as it progresses. This way, I rip less, praise more, and more people learn more about the series!