「銀の弾丸で狙う場所」 (Gin no Dangan de Nerau Basho)
“Where to Aim the Silver Bullet”
So, yeah…ignore everything I said about routes last week.
After a smattering of scenes featuring all our characters to various degrees in the last two episodes, this week it’s suddenly all Michiru, all the time. Yumiko stages a bid for attention with a solid ‘vulnerable maiden‘ routine but that is nothing compared to Michiru’s output. She does comedy! She does drama! She does action! She does romance! Michiru comes out of nowhere to demonstrate her multipurpose heroine chops. Despair, all ye haremettes! Matsushima Michiru hath descended!
This episode marks a definite entry into the Michiru route, even if there were no previous indications that we were heading this way. Indeed, in this episode we went directly from the setup (an awkward kiss with something Michiru-shaped) to the route’s first climatic juncture (this). For those new to the franchise, in the original visual novel the kiss actually features as the very last chapter of the common route (though the chapter this episode is named after, in which Yuuji and Michiru have their faux-philosophy discussion, is much earlier) and the traffic accident does not happen until we get halfway through Michiru’s route. That’s a lot of content that has been passed over (though I suppose they can still go back for some of that later, even with our limited episode time). Considering that a lot of that content was romantic relationship building fluff, if we were destined for a ‘True Heroine’ (and again, we may not), Michiru is probably not the one. Isn’t it sad, Michiru? That said, the most slighted character is still Tunafish Man. Yes, Tunafish Man. Alas, his shall be the untold story, of an unsung hero who doesn’t even get proper screen time.
While that description of the state of affairs may sound rushed, I actually didn’t have much problem with it myself. That said, my judgment has been poisoned by meta-knowledge from the VN; I naturally don’t feel the need for as much development. I’d love to hear what anime-only viewers feel. Maybe the foundations still look fragile from a more objective perspective. What do we actually know about Michiru? For the sake of analysis, let’s go through what we learnt in this episode, and for that purpose I’ll share some of my watching notes with you all:
- Michiru suffers from weird chest pains. Public service announcement: if you have a weird chest pain, please see a doctor about it, even if it could just be heartburn.
- Michiru is sometimes not Michiru. Or perhaps she’s disassociative. We’ll probably never know because there are no psychiatrists in anime.
- This stuff is supposed to be Ramune candy. Right. I hope Michiru’s not chemically dependent, in more ways than one.
- Cat treats shaped like cats? They must taste like cannibalism (their favourite!).
- If you have time to jump in front of a taxi you have time to just hail it. Calm down, old chap
…Er, so not all of those were about Michiru—apparently my notes are just mostly snark. The point is: they did an awful lot this episode. Did it feel rushed to you (for anime-only viewers and otherwise)? Did you feel sufficient empathy for Michiru’s cat? In fact, did you feel empathy for Michiru’s empathy for her cat? I can’t really tell myself. I will, however, commend the choice of lighting for the scene. The VN didn’t have the twilight glow, and it certainly set a different sort of atmosphere for reveals like this.
Peeking outside the garden ~ looking ahead
From this episode, it seems that the structure of Grisaia no Kajitsu is going to be heroine routes interlaced into the common route. That’s going to be tricky to do for some of the routes, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that’s handled. For now, I’m happy to focus on Michiru. Despite all her silliness, Michiru’s route hides a rather layered and ultimately satisfying story. It is, perhaps, my second favourite route of the five in the original VN. I think I’ll take the fact that the anime’s starting with it first as a sign that they consider it a confident opening act.