「思い出とテコ入れのメロディ」 (Omoide to tekoire no merodi)
“A Melody of Reminiscing and Support”
‘What’s wrong with harem shows? Harems shows are great!’
‘It doesn’t exactly fit my writing style.’
Stop it, Saekano. Leave the 4th wall alone. While we’re at it, stop with all the pans; they make me feel like I need to do a lot more full-lengths than I should.
It’s funny how so many anime tropes, like walking in on someone showering, are so obligatory by now that it feels like you have to do it or else you’ll fall out of the genre. It’s a calling card of sorts—sure, you can go without one, but that just wouldn’t be proper. Even more self-aware shows, like Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, are compelled to oblige, to the point where even the parody of the trope feels like a cliche. Still, must be done. There are rules.
(My favourite variation: Yuuichi in Kanon winging it like a boss. The fact that I have a ‘favourite variation’ says something.)
There are other rules, though, that Saekano are not following. One of the basic rules about writing endings it’s not the time to introduce anything new, including new characters. Here we are in the penultimate episode, though, and in enters Hyoudou Michiru, the ultimate childhood friend. Yes, not only is she a new character, she’s also supposed to be an upgraded version of one of our old models. Those who watched episode 00 (which really is the place to start) already expected her arrival, though, so I guess she’s not entirely new, but her place in the narrative is still in the formative stages right now, so I’m going to count her as a newbie.
So far, we don’t really know all that much about Michiru, which is probably why Saekano is pushing even more of the sexy angle than usual in an effort to make her appealing very quickly (and probably because it doesn’t trust the audience to be able to sit still through an introduction episode). So she’s a fanservice machine, competing even with Utaha (though Utaha has myriad forms of attack). Other than that, the first impression we get of her (technically the second, but whatever) is not entirely flattering. To be extreme about it, she’s a horrible sociopath (because drinking from the carton IS A SIN). I know the main protagonist is supposed to suffer a lot of abuse, but throwing out all of his stuff and replacing it with your own questionable tastes is totally uncalled for. She’s abusing sacred hospitality! Zeus Xenios will smite her! Or perhaps Michiru actually honestly does not have the self-awareness to understand that, as a fugitive in hiding, perhaps she should tread a bit lighter, so to speak. She does seem to be capable of a modicum of guilt, at least, but does that make her look better or worse?
It does seem like that, on some level, Michiru disapproves of Tomoya’s otaku-ness, and actively tries to steer him away from the geekdom with both carrot and stick. Curiously enough, she’s the first person we’ve seen actually do so; while others have taken issue with Tomoya’s methods, his hobbies were never at issue. Compare Megumi, who is also not an otaku, but is in general quite open to learning about Tomoya’s world. It’s yet another of demonstration of how Megumi is everybody’s foil. Well, we all know that eventually Michiru is brought on board—the only question is how. Will she understand how Tomoya has his passions, in the same way that she recently found hers? Or will Tomoya and her forge a compromise, like he did with Eriri last episode? Do we really only have one more episode to find out? That hardly seems enough!
There’s little question at this point that Saekano is going to end up wrapping up for the season without the game being finished, though I guess the game was always a bit of a MacGuffin. I did want to see how it turns out, though, if only because I think it’d be hilarious. When Tomoya had his epiphany about how Michiru’s music would fit his vision, I cracked up laughing, simply because it reminded me of how silly Utaha’s scenario is. Even if it bombs, it’d be an incredibly trainwreck.
So, eventually Michiru is won over, the circle is completed… would that be it? I’m not even sure if we have enough substance set up to have big climax. Perhaps Saekano will tap a bit deeper into its slice-of-life elements and just wind down. Perhaps it’ll set up for a sequel. We’ll have to see how it wraps up next episode.