「レーゾン・デートル」 (Rēzon Dētoru)
Remember how last week I noted that Yumiko’s route was more straightforward than Michiru’s route? Turns out, it was so straightforward we didn’t even need two episodes. No, we can do it in one! Push that fruit metaphor! We need to go, go, go!
I suppose I wasn’t really speaking with any authority, though, because the Yumiko route we got in the anime is a much different beast than than one in the visual novel. Or, at least, the way it was resolved was. At it’s core, it’s still about Yumiko and her personal problems, in particular the issues she has with her father. Sakaki Michiaki is a very special sort of scum, but it may come across that way more because his values may seem rather outdated. Inheritance based on male primogeniture is positively medieval, but I can imagine it still being a big deal in old families like the Sakakis. After all, we’re talking about leading a huge financial conglomerate, the kind that we tend to only see in Asia with their comparatively weak anti-trust laws. They are veritable corporate empires, and empires must have on its throne an emperor. Sakaki Michiaki is a tyrant, and wishes for a princeling of his very own. Yumiko is the nominal prince, but would but rather be a pauper. She’s a pitiful character, in her own right, and not just because she used to be such a cute kid. It must be tough, being snubbed by both her mother and her friends. From what I know about female bullying, it’s a different kind of cruelty than the male version; the stories I hear are of a much more subtle kind of sadism. Did they deserve to be cut? Well, violence is supposed to be never the answer.
This is Le Fruit de la Grisaia, though, and we have on hand violence specialist Kazami Yuuji, so that’s always the answer. It’s just a matter of application. If you haven’t figured out what kind of business Yuuji is in by now… well, I guess it’s not really a secret. Before Grisaia I wasn’t aware Sagara Sousuke could be played so straight, but Yuuji seems determined to try no matter what I think of it. Staging your own death is an old con, so I suppose Yumiko really needs to go out with a bang to make an impact. Was the show and dance really necessary? Perhaps not. The important part, I feel, is how Yumiko ultimately chose to solve her problem (though of course we don’t know how much of it was her own idea). At the risk of spoilers, in the VN Yumiko and Yuuji decide that her father needs to be removed from the picture. In the anime, Yumiko decides to remove herself. That, in my opinion, is the most significant change in this adaptation so far. I can understand why they would need to change the route in the anime—it needed to remain platonic, and it needed to fit in a single episode—but I do wonder why there was such a fundamental change of philosophy. It’s something to think about.
While this new story does fit better into a single episode and I do mostly agree with rewriting the route (though it’s still too bad that we didn’t have any time for turkey), I still feel that it came out a bit rushed. They needed to speed through the development very quickly, so some of it felt rather heavy handed. For a girl who professes to not like talking to people, Yumiko goes ahead and narrates her life story rather easily. It’s a good thing weather has such good dramatic timing in anime or we wouldn’t have had a chance to see Yumiko so wet and bothered (sorry, sorry). Vulnerability in characters is usually a good thing, but here it felt like it was forced out of her. And still, we didn’t get long to examine the relationship between Yumiko and her father, which in my opinion was the most important foundation of this narrative. For example, a good deal of Yuuji’s scheme counted on Yumiko’s father having an epiphany moment about her daughter’s death, but if he was that kind of understanding guy you wouldn’t need to pull such a stunt in the first place. What if he did close the school down? That’s not a pleasant outcome to think about. Mr Sakaki morphed from cartoon villain to clumsy dad rather rapidly, but we never really see the relationship that would have justified this development. I don’t know if the Sakakis feelings for each other felt more inconsistent because I’ve read the VN—again, Sakaki Snr was treated somewhat differently there. As always, comments from everybody are welcome.
Peeking outside the garden ~ looking forward
So we seem to be moving on to Sachi next week, and it looks like it’s also going to be a single episode affair. I think. Even though I still think we’re going through things too fast, I’m sort of fine with this. If it’s only one episode for Sachi and two episodes for Makina, that leave three for Amane. If I accept that they’re not going to make a second cour and the narrative must be cut down, then I would like Grisaia to do one thing completely right rather than everything halfway. Amane’s route, in my own, personal opinion, is both the best story and contains the most significant developments for Yuuji’s character as a whole, when viewing Grisaia as a trilogy. It would be a terrible shame if that, at least, is not given it’s due share of time.
So, I salute your sacrifice, Sachi. But I won’t raise the flag to half-mast just yet. I’m by no means sure of next week’s content yet, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. I’m always willing to let anime surprise me.
By the way, for this episode, I should note: please spoiler tag plot details about Yumiko’s route as it is in the visual novel. Just to be safe. Thanks in advance.