「クライマックスはリテイクで」 (Kuraimakkusu wa Riteiku de)
“Retake the Climax”
Before anyone says anything, yes, there was a noticeable drop in visual quality this episode. Just your weekly reminder that the magical ingredient in all creative works is still time and money. Your passion means nothing without capital! The American Dream is a lie! True love is dead! /wrists
Procrastinate on it later
This week’s episode is not about Tomoya being crushed by the cruel weight of reality; it’s more about him putting reality aside for later. Procrastination: I’ve done it, you’ve done it, and those who never have will get to it at some point. There’s just no getting around inertia (just ask that Newton guy). As a person who nominally writes stuff, Tomoya’s routine is familiar to me. Did you know? Before I even finished the first paragraph of this blog post I had already read three news articles on the online newspaper. Hey, news happens all the time. I need to keep up to date. But only when I have something else I need to do. The internet is truly a double-edged sword; it’s the infinite hub to all of the world’s digital knowledge, but it also prevents one from getting anything important done. Simply because Reddit exists.
Tomoya’s problem, though, isn’t just his terrible work ethic. Starting nothing is always hard, and the first step the hardest. Some call it the ‘tyranny of the blank page’, though considering how many concepts Tomoya has already submitted you’d think he’d have more to work with. He simply has no vision of his end product. Eriri puts it the most bluntly in the subversive epilogue segment: when it comes down to it, Tomoya just wants to make out with his ideal female. Never insert too much of your ego into anything you create. It’ll just be embarrassing later.
Mass produced moé
In an entirely cliche move, hopeless male protagonist Tomoya manages to guilt his friends into helping by his passion alone, though to be fair they did do the responsible thing and try to stage an intervention and nudge him to quit. Megumi goes all the way to play dress-ups to try and motivate Tomoya to inspiration, which would also be the first time we see Megumi actually doing something on her own initiative.
To be honest, Megumi in full moé mode hurts me. The scene made me cringe inside. It was a sweet gesture on her part, sure, and the amount of effort she put into trying to recreate Tomoya’s dream scenario commendable, but it just goes to show how artificial and shallow Tomoya’s little fantasy is. To put it negatively, it was contrived pandering on her part, in the same way an overtly ‘moé’ anime might pander to its audience. But that’s not necessarily bad; an understanding of your demographic is a useful skill, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to appeal. It does feel, though, that Megumi actually loses some of her charm when trying to play Tomoya’s ideal heroine. She gains more of them moé attributes, but becomes more generic as a result. And I don’t really approve of her feeding Tomoya’s self-centred delusion.
All this is why I was pleased to see Megumi go back to her usual non-chalant self (being asleep counts) at the end of the episode. Never change, Megumi. Never change.