「VOX IN BOX」
For the sake of simplicity, in this post I’m going to refer to the original Michiru as ‘Michiru’ and her guest personality as ‘Michiru Prime’.
To answer my own question from last week: is Grisaia rushed? Yes, it’s rushed. As of this week, the Michiru route is officially done. That was just 2 episodes, and technically less than 40 minutes because we only really started halfway through the first. It’s inevitable that the story is going to be condensed, but the question is what kind of data is going to be lost on compression. And perhaps then we can unpack exactly what went on in this story.
Suddenly Suicidal Michiru
Because we needed to explain a lot of character background in a hurry, a fair chunk of this episode were flashbacks. I usually have mixed feelings about flashbacks, but this time I actually felt we needed more of them. And they should probably have come first. It would have made Michiru’s suicide attempt at the beginning of the episode not feel like it came without warning from left wing. Most children learn to deal with a dead pet better than this. Having the flashbacks first—revealing the hints of child abuse, mental trauma involving a childhood friend, a psychiatric history involving boxcutters before Yumiko stole her schtick—would have made the opening sequences feel less jarring. Alternatively, if the shock factor is important and you want to justify it with Michiru’s insecurities later, at least don’t have Michiru waltz around half a minute later and having nobody bat an eye at what’s happened. Attempted suicide is serious business; you don’t let someone go off without at least a support session simply because they profess to be fine. I know Mihama is supposed to be a special school for special students, but this is an almost criminal amount of negligence. Don’t tell me there are no shrinks in anime—some fool prescribed Michiru etizolem (popular in Japan, I hear). Don’t listen to Principal Tachibana—you can definitely kill yourself with this stuff if you try.
Public service announcement: Please call a support line before you make a decision you can’t reverse, like taking your own life. They are usually available 24 hours a day; help does exist out there. Entirely serious here.
I would also have liked more flashbacks because I felt that Michiru Prime could also have used more development. In the visual novel, her’s was an equally, if not more, compelling story compared to Michiru’s. Focusing on Michiru over Michiru Prime’s loses the dichotomy of the two stories. Michiru’s Prime’s reunion with her mother was also one of the more moving scenes in the original VN, and was a significant resolution to Michiru and Michiru Prime’s relationship. In this episode it’s a cut down affair without a lot of character development to back it up, and felt more like an obligatory inclusion than an emotional climax.
No Plan B, no Plan A
After the continuing brouhaha over Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, I was slightly apprehensive about having to cover this episode of Le Fruit de la Grisaia. We’re worse. Way worse. I’m all for striving for new heights, but I didn’t think Grisaia needed to one up any other show in the ‘unfortunate implications’ department. Our brand of well-meaning but distasteful violence apparently carries a mild sexual assault flavour. Well, it wasn’t really; what it was, really, was Yuuji assaulting, drugging, and kidnapping a vulnerable classmate. Doesn’t that sound better? Don’t give me the, ‘oh, it was only Ramune candy,’ Yuuji; you literally doped her with muscle relaxants, stuffed her in a box, and buried her alive. That can’t be kosher before your first date.
Public service announcement: Don’t try Yuuji’s stunt at home, kids. Trying to paralyse someone with muscle relaxants will also paralyse their lungs, and they’ll die an agonising death.
The entire coffin thing always felt like insane troll logic on Yuuji’s part, but more offensive, for me, is that it actually works. And it only works because the plot says it does. At best, it’s a strawman argument: let’s subject Michiru to a horrific experience to literally put the fear of death in her. Death is attractive because it’s supposed to be a release from pain and suffering—Yuuji himself thought it’d be like going to sleep and not waking again. Burying someone alive (even if not very deeply) under drug induced paralysis is the opposite of that–it’s primitive torture. Finding the courage to live out of that experience is less a personal triumph and more being broken by the deluded psychopath. At least in the VN we had a, ‘think of the ones you leave behind,’ angle, and a parallel to Michiru Prime’s circumstances. In the anime, it’s suddenly! Epiphany! I don’t feel suicidally depressed anymore! And the power of love, or something. I don’t need to be a psychiatrist to have a diagnosis for Michiru: it’s Stockholm syndrome.
Peeking outside the garden – looking forward
This episode, and the Michiru’s route as a whole, isn’t really as bad as all that. It’s got some interesting scenes and some pretty shots, and many individual moments were rather powerful. However, I feel that these parts could have been put together better. And we could have used more time for all those parts, too. For example, about an episode worth the flashbacks and reveals for the Michirus. Two episodes is too little; three would have been Goldilocks.
It seems we’re going to be sticking with the two episode per route thing, with the next probably being Yumiko, from the looks of it. It also seems that we’re going down the Path of Kings, with Michiru being the second addition to the harem, if you count Amane as the first. So that clears up those two structural questions. I was hoping we’d have a second cour, but that doesn’t seem likely with the current organisation. Two episodes per route just doesn’t seem enough, though I suppose different routes will turn out differently, simply depending on how they manage the content. The only route I absolutely feel needs the extra effort to be adapted perfectly is Amane’s, anyway. For next week, Yumiko’s story is a relatively straight forward affair compared to Michiru’s, so the pacing issues should probably ease up a bit there.
Full-length images: 01, 30, 33.
ED2: 「Skip」 by 茶太
I think the main difference from KimiUso’s bullying (yeah, they’ve gone a little too far) is the fact that Yuuji knows what he’s doing and he’s responsible for his actions (starving for three days and maybe more) waiting for Michiru to resolve herself. You have to remeber that Grisaia is a visual novel toward 18+ public, so the audience know what you can do and what not, but KimiUso’s audience is more open and you feel that the actions are irresponsible.
But Yuuji doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s confident about what he’s doing, but that’s not the same thing. He admitted himself that he had no Plan B. Yuuji is simply rewarded with success because apparently convoluted trials by fire work every time. Both Grisaia and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso fundamentally share a cautious refusal to delve into the deep, dark world of mental illness, instead choosing to believe that good old fashioned positivity is the key.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso Ep 4 spoilers:
Show Spoiler ▼
Of course, as I may have noted in some other comment, all these issues are largely subjective. I have merely offered my viewpoint; yours may very reasonably differ.
Yuuji’s last resort could’ve been drag her out of the coffin after X days (before she dies) and even if she would feel much worse, well… She had already hit the bottom, so any option was as good as another. Yeah, this argument is very subjective. I think that acting reckless while knowing that you can’t get worse (Michiru’s case) is a little better than imposing choices while you can still sort yourself (Arima’s case).
We have doctors. We have pills. Drugging someone and burying them alive seems a bit drastic when we have reasonable alternatives. Because things can get worse. You can and probably would have actually killed her.
Ironically, Show Spoiler ▼
Subjectively speaking, I prefer that someone that knows my pain (different from KimiUso since they only want Arima to play the piano for selfish reasons) tries to do something about it (only emotionally speaking, so we can be clear!) than a random doctor that can only “drug” people to deceive your condition.
Burying alive was a drastic decision? Yes. She could be killed? Yes. But remember that this is a fiction. Nobody here will really bury someone alive and I hope nobody will really try to do it.
Show Spoiler ▼
I don’t feel that KimiUso‘s case was about purely about ‘selfish reasons’, but I’m going to let it drop because then we’d veer into off-topic areas. I would say, though, that KimiUso and Grisaia are comparable mostly in that they both involve people who thought they knew better, even if they probably don’t. I will leave other comparisons for a different discussion at a different time.
I will take issue with you disparaging the medical profession, though. When you have a mental illness there is literally something wrong with your brains. Doctors and pills can actually help with that. Clinical depression is clinical. And allied health includes professional counsellors. Treatment is a real thing.
I would also not be so quick to throw out ‘this is fiction’ as some sort of catchall excuse for bad writing. Fiction has standards too. The world of Grisaia is based on reality with modifications. Fiction still generally follows real world logic. It is precisely because reasonable people will not bury someone alive in real life that I am calling Yuuji out on his craziness.
I’m not a medical expert, nor I will pretend so. Yes, maybe I have exaggerated, but doctors and pills tends to focus more on the health of the body than that of the mind. Counsellors are more on the mind part, but it’s still on the professional level (that’s why I prefer someone who can truly understand the suffering, but it’s subjectively speaking).
I won’t deny the effect of medicine and the usefulness of hospitals, but every human is a special case that needs an accurate understanding before categorizing like “person A has a mental illness like case X, so give them the same treatment”. I’ll repeat that I’m not a medical expert, so you can ignore everything I said, but the message is “Don’t trust too much in pills and try to solve yourself your internal conflict. If you can’t, ask help to someone who understands you”
Yuuji’s method is indeed crazy, but Maihama’s academy is an academy full of students who aren’t normal, so not too much “reasonable people”. Call it suspension of disbelief.
What you’re doing right now is pretending to be a medical expert.
Look, I don’t mean to proselytise about psychiatry or go on a long tangent about it. And I certainly have no ill will against you. What I’m afraid of about a story like the one we’ve seen in Michiru’s route is that it perpetuates a belief, much like yours, that it’s a matter of getting over your ‘internal conflicts’ or understanding your suffering and all that. The brain is a complex organ, and a gung-ho male protagonist bulldozing through its issues goes too far in trivialising the very real problems people suffer. Those doctors and pills you disrespect? They help many people get through their lives. When you are sick, there is no shame in taking medicine.
While the anime leaves out most of the events that make Yuuji’s actions much more understandable and reasonable (his motivations were far more developed and there were some key differences in the execution as well), I’ve gotta agree with Passerby that he doesn’t completely know what he’s doing. He gambled that Michiru’s attachments to her friends and him were strong enough to motivate herself to regain the will to live, but his actions could easily have backfired, especially since he doesn’t know exactly what’s going around in her head. Heck, he didn’t even know her full backstory or the depths of her self-esteem issues. While his motivations and actions are not quite as deranged as depicted here, the fact remains that he tends to gamble on the girls being able to overcome their issues without fully understanding what those issues are or how they’ll be affected by his actions.
Sitting around for three days with them doesn’t excuse you for burying someone alive either.
I pretty much assumed Yuuji lied about how much time was passed, and about muscle relaxants. Deception does not seem beneath him.
Whether events occured as he stated or not, I don’t know, as there’s not much evidence in the anime outside Yuuji himself:
However, given the weather and time conditions seem exactly the same as when he buried her… I think only minutes passed. Assuming real logic and not anime / contrived plot logic too, people would start looking both students before three days would really pass. Otherwise there’s very little evidence in the anime regardless (no calenders, no clocks, etc)
It may just be me, but I think having to assume the narrative directly lied to us so that it’ll make more sense is not what ‘suspension of disbelief’ is all about.
We differ in perspective and interpretation, but I think some things are common. The main points of a show are to produce generate revenue and entertain, with the latter is subjective. Suspension of disbelief is not required to satisfy entertainment.
A form of storytelling also has the character may lie, particularly toward other characters (or presents their interpretation of events), particularly not necessarily the entire narrative itself. Influencing the viewer’s perception of events is also a common tactic in mystery stories. That is also entertainment.
As an anime only viewer, the narrative’s story is inconsistent with the character’s statement. The backround, time of day and weather, are exactly the same as as when he ‘buried’ her. You can call that lazy studio production work if you want, but it doesn’t help the story telling case.
There is very little evidence, as a viewer, to show time has signifigantly passed. There’s one verbal statement of time-passing, and everything else: Backrounds, characters, have not. So there’s really only two options: Either Yuuji’s lying, or the studio’s lazy / unwilling / decided not to corroborate Yuuji’s statement of time.
I prefer the more entertaining option. . . because otherwise I would rather hate the production team.
We can debate what the ‘point’ of a show is all day, but a story is a story. Sure, a story with sub-par writing can still be entertaining, but that doesn’t stop it from having sub-par writing. Sure, suspension of disbelief is ‘not required’ for entertainment, but neither are a lot of things; simple entertainment is a low benchmark. Suspension of disbelief is the foundational principle on which fiction is constructed. It’s what you’re trying to argue for right now, to assume that the story is consistent and logical. A piece of fiction that does not suspend disbelief fails the fundamental onus of fiction. That’s not something a writer wants to do unless they’re being particularly postmodern.
I could argue pedantic points about the plot—like how we only know that it was night at both times, or about how it was raining when Michiru emerged, or how Michiru couldn’t move when she was being buried—but that’s all distractions. The greatest evidence that time had passed is still Yuuji telling us that. Sure, characters lie. Sometimes even narrators lie. But they should never lie without some greater narrative purpose. One of the principles of writing—and logic—is conservation of detail. If Yuuji did indeed lie, then it means that particular detail is not followed up on at all. Not even a throwaway line like, ‘Oh, by the way, I lied about X for Y reasons’. The narrative had not established that Yuuji is a pathological liar or anything like that. It’s an inconsistency one way or another.
I’m not trying to convince you to dislike the show or something—in fact, I’ll feel better if you continue to enjoy your watching experience. I simply want to establish that my critiques are based on very real concerns, and not simply a subjective dislike.
I actually liked what Yuuji did there, although it was “Extreme” that’s for sure.
If anything I would had prefer Michiru Prime to knock some sense into her, considering she actually lived once. I did not read the visual novel, so I am disappointed that I will never know Michiru Prime’s backstory. Then maybe I could have used it to back me up on this.
Although it wouldn’t be approved by the APA, Psychomagic has been written about particular by
Alejandro Jodorowsky in Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy, and is well worth reading.
To me the real shock of the episode was that Micheru is not a natural blond.
I know I judge preemptively, but how can something called ‘Psychomagic’ not sound like complete snake oil? And if it doesn’t, I should note that I have a wonderful bridge I can sell you at a bargain price.
I think it explained in the past episodes that she colored her hair blonde so it can match herself as a tsundere character which I don’t know what’s the logic behind that but thanks to the latest episode,I think she did those things so that she can compressed her emotions due to the death of her bestfriend by faking her personality.
Yes, I think she mentioned in the first episode that tsunderes need to have blonde hair. And last episode there was a rather long skit about her applying hair coloring.
@Kirigiri: Actually, if you rewatch the hospital scene flashback you can see that Michiru started “acting the fool” because it made people like her. The Tsundere thing is simply an extension of that act.
Michiru spent almost 3 days in a coffin and she managed to survived, cause fuck logic this is anime.
You can survive three days w/o food and water and for the remaining stuff (like air), Yuji did say that he added some tricks to the coffin.
I don’t think it’s 3 days but few hours……..
I don’t understand why you’re downvoted. It makes a lot more sense for very little time to have passed instead of ‘anime logic’. If more than say 12 hrs passed, the girl would have soiled herself repeatedly, and assuming Yuuji can walk away / take bathroom breaks.
I think Yuuji just flat out lied about some things to for conversational impact.
They hate me cos I’m Lab Member 004… Hentai tensai shoujo!
I think there’s something wrong if we start to assume that there a character outright lied when there is no in-universe indication that he did.
Regardless, from knowing and seeing how he has been thus far, he might be saying “3 days” out of convenience to pacify Michiru.
Also, despite what ever modifications he might have made to the coffin, may I direct you to this –
Go straight to the 12th minute mark
I dunno, considering the more outlandish nature of this show, I think KimiUso is still the worse one between the two since it’s more realistic (and people actually try the stuff shown there for real). Because while this kind of, ah, ‘therapy’ is definitely something that only works in the magical realm of fiction-land, we’re dealing with a girl who got the personality of her best friend inside of her because of a heart transplant. Anything goes at that point, really.
Not to mention that I felt the reason Yuuji goes to such extreme methods is because he’s not exactly right in the head either.
Yeah, that’s how I feel about the KimiUso comparison too. Michiru had an insane problem which had an equally insane solution. Plus Yuuji’s extreme methods say something about his character. He has a sink or swim/tough love rationale because of Asako’s teachings and his own experiences. And also he’s just nutty.
Compare his solution to Sachi’s problem: Show Spoiler ▼
Michiru’s problem is that she’s suicidal. She has a mental illness. Mental illness is a real thing. If anything, Arima’s condition in KimiUso is the more unique one.
I don’t mind Yuuji being nutty. It’s the universe going out of its way to justify his flawed logic that I find jarring.
I’ve been trying to take this pacing calmly, but you know what? Screw you 8-bit! In the bunghole! With a goshdarn cactus! Yeah, this is just a glorified advertisement for the VN, and it knows it. No Sachi, it is not OK to take a freaking chainsaw to the source material like this. However, It would be great if you were to get rid of this adaptation and replace it with a better one. I’m not saying that the entirety of the source material was perfect and necessary, but dear God they blew through this so darn fast it almost completely lost the tone of the original. Yuuji comes off as more of a deranged maniac than a desperate tsundere, and Michiru’s relationship with Yuuji and the rest of the cast which helps her get out of the box is severely skimped on. The heart transplant girl and Michiru’s backstory were so rushed I can only imagine how confused the anime-only crowd must be. To be honest I didn’t like the “ghost” thing in the VN either; it’s a big part of why it’s only my second favorite route. It probably would have been better if they’d combined her and the best friend into a single character and leave the “possession” ambiguous rather than try to hit on as many plot points as possible. IMO, a good adaptation needs to be able to twist plot elements and characters when necessary in order to better fit the new format, something which this is failing to do.
Hell, after this I’m not sure I want to keep watching anymore. I thought it would be interesting to try watching an anime knowing the source material for once, but all it’s done these last two episode is remind me why I usually hate book to movie adaptations. While I love the animated comedy skits, the 2-ep per route from here on probably means they’ll be focusing on the ANGST! which I’m not nearly as fond of, especially when it’s sliced up like this. I don’t even want to imagine how they’ll butcher Sachi’s route at this rate. Sigh… [/tantrum]
They definitely would have been better off adapting one route and only teasing the others. Still would attract people to the VN, they could tell a decent story, and wouldn’t spoil major plot points for all of the routes.
100% agree with you there, i lost all hope by this point. The dream is dead.
At first while watching the episode I wanted to comment that Yuuji is better than the normal male lead cause he takes action, he doesn’t contemplate and will do something about a problem instead of pondering all the things that can be done but then he suddenly buried Michiru alive and then I came here to read your obvious displeasure at what Yuuji did to get the job done and then I wonder about the implications and Yuuji as a whole.
This plot isn’t new, we’ve all seen movies, animes and other stories where they use some kind of reverse psychology to bring someone back into the light but frankly yeah…I don’t know about burying a suicidal girl alive without any back up plan.
In the end I like Yuuji as a man who does not stay quiet when faced with an issue but I have to question his methods.
I think this is one of those anime when not playing the visual novel lets me like it more. I really did like this episode alot but Im old enough to know that everything Yuuji did would cause jail time in the none anime world. I appreciate you being responsible and not taking the subject of mental illness lightly as a blogger.
though i’m not one to judge choices (it’s a useless action), i’d like to say that the VN is better than the anime, so please try it out someday (i’m not forcing you, this is a suggestion)
Anytime I see a girl acting in a bipolar manner, I now know how to help them. Thanks, Grisaia!
Why didn’t I think of this method from the start!
Honestly though, this is borderline SAW stuff. (Kidnapping people and placing them in faux life-or-death situations so they can learn to better appreciate living)
In all seriousness, why do they always go breaking the cutest girl? It just isn’t fair sometimes.
Also, Sachi being that one character that is really sweet and kind on the exterior, but always going through extreme lengths to get even the minor things accomplished without thinking it to be abnormal. In that sense, I think her and Yuuji provide the best comedy due to lack of common sense and hyper-competence.
Unrelated but if people love psychological series that deals with mental illness, I strongly recommend Gakkou Gurashi. It has plenty of shovel problem solving and school life dramas to keep you entertained.
Karen and Tsukihi Araragi
Seems like Kaiki got to her as well
Correct me if im wrong but her bust’s censored right?
Yes, her shirt was torn in a way that exposed her breast, so it was censored there, which indicates that Michiru’s friend was probably a victim of sexual abuse, hence her suicide attempts.
Ok… No wonder her defaced spirit had her clothes torn… Seemed like she was raped or someone attempted rape
man i have seen the vn and michiru is the most interesting route out of 5 heroines but they have mix ALL her route in 1 episode fuck you… now what makina & amane = gore bad ending to yuuji, yumiko = boring and sachi is ok but i don´t like her too much <.< dropped
please don’t say boring about yumiko’s so easily. Story-telling wise, yes, it’s weaker compared to the rest of the girls, but Yumiko’s story is actually more painful than how it seems to be (translators or the original script might be the problem here, but i wouldn’t really know). As a person who had a similar experience as Yumiko (albeit not that brutal/bad), i can honestly say that Yumiko’s route was delivered more shallowly that what it should or could have been, not that i’m saying that your perception of her route is wrong (it’s true, i have to admit, it was “boring” in a sense)
I need more of Michiru Prime. Really.
Because it went by so fast, it has much less of an emotional impact on me than Little Busters.
disagree with most of this blogpost, but it is well written, so kudos for that.
Well, that felt insanely rushed. And Michiru’s route is the shortest in the game. I really can’t picture how Makina’s route (which is twice as long) can possibly be crammed into two episodes.
I’ve seen some anime-only viewers come away with positive impressions of the last couple of episodes, but I really can’t picture enjoying most of this without having read the vn. The anime just hasn’t developed the characters that well and Michiru’s arc doesn’t have enough build-up. It also just isn’t explaining some things. The ANN reviewer, for instance, wonders in her review whether Michiru’s best friend was supposed to be her heart donor, and what Michiru and Yuuji were doing in America at the end of the episode. Understandable, since the anime never actually showed that Michiru’s split personality is her American heart donor :/ Ugh.
Just, yeah, this “two episodes per route” thing is terrible. It’s really a bummer, because if they’d decided to adapt only one or two routes, or just given the adaptation the 24+ episodes it needed, this could have been a great anime. Everything is perfectly well done, just … way way too rushed.
To say something positive for a change, though, this scene looked really cool.
Considering that this was suppse to be the high emotional point of this arc and as I understand it, this is also the end of the Makina Route, I can’t help but mention that during the episode I felt detached from the characters. I don’t know if it’s because of the storytelling style or if it’s because it just happened too soon but it feels like you haven’t really gotten to know the characters thus it feel more like you are just an uninterested passerby to the show.
I hope the the subsequent routes will be able to endear the characters to the audience more before “ending” the route.
So like,I was curious about Michiru’s route since I didn’t go through it in the VN and I guess calling it “the short version” would be an understatement. What I got were basically the reveals,the solution and the conclusion,all of them just screaming straight-up SHOCK VALUE,allowing for little-to-no emotional attachment & impact.
Well,at least the shock value worked since I am pretty shocked that Yuuji would consider something like that to be the solution to Michiru’s death wish. I will definitely go through her route in the VN whenever I get the chance now,as I’m very curious to see her story told properly and see in details just how the hell did Yuuji decide on such a solution.
To think that Michiru got such a dark past.. at least she was “saved” by Yuuji, though the method was kind of extreme… (=w= ||)
Not trying to mock or dismiss mental illness — sorry if I came across that way. Yuuji’s way of making Michiru decide she wants to live was indeed terrible (though as a side note, I wish they’d kept in the girls writing letters to Michiru, and Michiru reading them and realizing everyone values her. That was nice. Even though Yuuji got everyone to write them by, uh, telling them Michiru’s dead). The premise of Michiru’s route is really wacky though: she got a magical American split personality from a heart transplant, and the two ultimately end up cheerfully co-existing in the same body. It takes some major suspension of disbelief to accept that. Reality does not work that way.
Likewise, it also takes some major suspension of disbelief to accept that Yuuji would drug Michiru and bury her alive, and that this would cure her of her suicidal tendencies, causing her to be grateful to him. And both of them were in fine physical condition after all this had passed too. Reality doesn’t work that way either. No one should try that at home. But it didn’t bother me too much because the premise of her route was already so nutty to start with that I just learned to roll with it, I guess. I can understand why what Yuuji did would cross some lines for people, but I just suspended my disbelief. The way he handled everything was so ridiculous that I don’t think you have to worry about people coming away with the message, “the right thing to for a friend who feels suicidal is to drug them and pretend to kill them. That’ll solve the problem!” I mean, some things are just obvious.
I’m not a huge fan of Michiru’s route in general. I found it to be pretty weak, along with Yumiko’s route. But on some level I kind of enjoyed the solution to her problem just because it was so out there. Points for originality? And her “death” is sort of symbolic …
(Also, at the end of the route Yuuji flies Michiru to America on 2 minutes’ notice, and they find the split personality’s house in no time, and encounter no language barriers, and … yeah. Michiru’s route is ridiculous, through and through. Although the other routes have their moments, too.)
^ … that was meant to be a reply to Passerby. Whoops.
The thing is, despite some fantastical (and some poorly researched) elements, Michiru’s route is ultimately about mundane problems. Child abuse is mundane. Bullying is mundane. Mental illness is mundane. People dying young is tragically mundane. I would not so readily conflate the realistic foundation with the fantastical plot devices. That, I think, is a problem in its own right. Too many people already think that when they have a friend who’s clinically depressed all they need to do is to cheer them up or make them to go outside or all manner of completely unhelpful things. That’s what this anime (and to some extent the VN) does: it simply handwaves away the very real problems that was the basis of its conflict, and allows some absurd irrationality to be a magical solution.
Underneath all that there really is a good story down there. Michiru’s past involved real, complex and sympathetic issues. It played off Michiru Prime’s story really well. The final scene, if you can excuse the conveniences, is an emotional moment that brings closure for both parent and child, and both capped off and reinforced the ‘people left behind’ theme that existed in the VN. The anime, in my opinion, failed to bring out the good in story.
Probably, yeah. Because as an anime-only viewer, the depression angle just failed to grab me. I know it’s essentially about mental issues and relatively ‘mundane’ problems, but when you require such a massive amount of suspension of disbelief to even follow the story, then (in the anime, at least) any more serious, realistic issues at the core get drowned out by the fantastical (especially with the treatment they gave it). Watamote this is not. It’s like trying to get me invested in a tragic story about people dealing with the loss of a loved one when the cause of death was being vaporized by a dragon. It just doesn’t mix well. So I just go with the flow at this point.
I can definitely agree that the anime didn’t do justice to Michiru’s route, yeah. Especially considering the heavy topics it covered. Michiru did talk about the possibility of dying last episode, but it’s only at the beginning of this episode that you learn she’s suicidal. Seeing her lying on the floor surrounded by pills with so little foreshadowing must be quite a shock. And then fifteen minutes later, she’s already overcome that entire … problem …
I kind of thought the vn had the same problem though, albeit to a much lesser degree. The beginning of Michiru’s route is more wacky comedy, much of it making fun of her (although some of it made fun of Yuuji’s weirdness/obliviousness too). And then Meowmel dies, and suddenly, from then her route is angst, angst and more angst. That tonal shift felt way too sudden to me. It was really jarring. I also had problems with just how many terrible things the writer piled on Michiru: child abuse, her abused best friend committing suicide in front of her eyes, illness, split personality caused by a heart transplant, her parents liking her split personality more than her, suicide attempt, institutionalization, and then her goddamn cat had to die, too. And her split personality had her own baggage to deal with. It just felt like too much.
I, too, found the end of Michiru’s route really nice and touching … But despite that, I still feel like they just shouldn’t have given her a split personality. Her reason for having one made the route hard to take seriously. The split personality story has been done much better before, in other series. Michiru wasn’t actually supposed to have DID, and it just felt unnecessary. I think the anime should have cut that whole part of her route, and just focused on her self worth issues/abandonment complex. That way her suicide attempt and decision to live could both have had more build up. Plus I heard that in the true route of Grisaia they retcon the ending of her route and she does not have a split personality. So if they wanted to leave things open for a possible adaptation of Meikyuu and Rakuen later, the anime should have just cut that out.
I guess this adaptation is officially dead. Just an effing ad for the VN like they said. Damn you 8-bit!!
I’m dropping this series. I can’t stand to watch a good VN ruined.
Ah yes, the one true threesome ending!
It really does feel like the anime’s pulling a “two episodes, all your mental issues are magically cured with no consequences, OK – NEXT!” by chopping out so much of the story and the romantic development. I’m not entirely sure Michiru’s issues can be classified as a mental illness though. She’s not schizophrenic, just possessed by a magical ghost girl. She is depressive and suicidal, but both are understandable given her backstory and should be treatable with some good therapy. Ironically, Michiru Prime trying to help Michiru probably made things worse in the long run; by taking over whenever Michiru was in trouble and smoothing things out she made her appear far less mentally troubled than she actually was which contributed to her not getting the therapy she needed. The reason she wasn’t in therapy after her suicide attempt is because Michiru Prime took over completely and did such a good job acting as her that everyone else though she was A-OK.
Magical plot devices like this do make it harder to appreciate the underlying themes and story.
Major VN Spoilers: Show Spoiler ▼
Bah, was trying to reply to Tunafish Man above.
Yeah, one of the good things the vn has going for it is its length. In regards to the routes themselves, I mean (although I enjoyed every second of the plotless ten-hour common route). In the vn, the girls’ deep-seated mental issues don’t feel like they’ve been magically fixed by Yuuji coming along and giving them a push. In every route, hours are spent showing the girls coming to terms with things. Sachi’s route is really slow-paced and deals with her trauma and gradual growth really well, for instance. Amane’s route, too: Show Spoiler ▼
Then the anime comes along and condenses all those hours of content into two-episode arcs, and, welp 🙁
As for the “ridiculousness” of every route, yeah — it’s a school for weirdoes, you just have to roll with it :D; Michiru’s route still stands out because it gets into magical realism territory, which none of the other routes do, at least as far as I can remember. You said Sachi’s route is less ridiculous compared to the others, but for me, Show Spoiler ▼
If I hadn’t read this blog post and comments, I’d still think that Michiru actually got her new heart from her dead school friend. Considering that girl had the same green eyes as Michiru Prime that seemed obvious to me, even if I found it weird that she needed to fly to the US. So the same eye color is just coincidence?
Didn’t even notice that the spirit friend scene was censored due to the breast showing and wrongly assumed that it was some kind of symbolism for the missing heart now beating in Michiru’s body. 🙁
Definitely not enough back story regarding the abuse and the heart donor’s life.
I will probably continue the Yomiko adaptation, if ppl say that it’s more of a “normal” problem, but I might hold off on the rest and play through the VN routes first, especially Amane’s who seems most interesting to me due to probable ties to his sister.
Michiru’s route is probably the most ‘out there’ of the five. That said, if you were going to read the VN first you might as well do that, considering that this anime seems to have no intention of becoming a ‘definitive’ adaptation.
Boy, I certainly didn’t expect this much negativity about this episode. I’m somewhere in the middle between the anime-only watchers and VN veterans, as I picked it up a long time ago (before it even got translated), but still haven’t finished it because real life got in the way. The fact that this series is only one cour long is something I accepted by episode one, as I saw all the little scenes I know and love going poof. But rather than complaining and wondering what the show could be, I kept the show’s length in mind and tried to understand what it is. And you know what, it’s much, much better than I expected. Its animation is excellent, its pacing is decent for the number of episodes they have, and it does feel like Grisaia through and through. VN adaptations are some of the most difficult shows to produce for many different reasons, and one of them is cutting things so you can actually fit everything together while still keeping the general plot and key scenes intact. You just have to approach watching these shows knowing perfectly well that they won’t be identical to the original. The VN is always going to be a more complete and rich experience, but it’s not like the anime removes the VN from existence. And no, I don’t mean that the anime can only be an advertisement of the VN: the merits of a show should be judged in a vacuum, and I believe Grisaia can stand on its own, unlike some other VN adaptations.
As for Yuuji’s plan, he explicitly said that he only gave Michiru regular ramune candy to cause the personality switch, so we know that he’s not above lying about his actions for a little dramatic effect. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to think that there were no muscle relaxants, especially if you consider that Michiru could move perfectly fine after getting out of the coffin. By the way, that also makes me doubt Yuuji burying her for three days, since that does things to your muscles, too. Hell, could you even call putting some dirt on top of her coffin “Burying”? I guess one might consider it all to be just another plot hole caused by the sloppy adaptation, but I trust the anime writers to be a little bit more competent than that.
This ^, totally this.
A further thought is no one went looking for the two at all if three days really passed, and everyone responded normally to the two coming back as if nothing had occurred and no out of the ordinary time had passed.
Passerby claims the narrative lies. I disagree completely with that statement. Yuuji lied, not the narrative. The narrative points to Yuuji lying, and multi-layered reality due to perspective changes. Otherwise it would be as you said, sloppy adaptation, and I too like to believe they’re more competent.
I claimed nothing of the sort. I don’t think Yuuji was lying. Rather, I would claim that if you think that the Yuuji lied, then you’re claiming that the narrative lied. Yuuji’s statements about the muscle relaxants and the three days are for all purposes exposition, since nothing came out of them at all. They only serve to explain Michiru’s initial paralysation and set a time frame without having to use transition shots, and the story wraps up without revisiting them ever again.
It may not just a sloppy adaptation. It’s not like the VN is immune to sloppy writing either. I try to compare the anime to the VN only where significant changes alters something fundamental in the story. If you really want to break out the original source, in the VN Michiru’s classmates thought that she was actually dead. They had a funeral and everything. It was still an assault and kidnapping though, which is the core eyebrow raiser of the entire affair.
The sixth episode is pure gold. This is what happens when you try to cram ten hours into 20 minutes!
They didn’t cram anything it was a totally different plot!