「パジャマでピンチ!」 (Pajama de Pinchi!)
“In a Pinch in Pyjamas!”
While I’ve compared Hai-Furi (which my fingers still keep wanting to spell as ‘Hair-Fu‘) to Girls und Panzer often, I’ve also made comparisons to Sora no Woto , which seems to be the direction that Hai-Furi is heading, and not just because of the bad trumpet. For those of you who haven’t watched Sora no Woto (you should), it looked on first blush to be a very fluffy anime, but actually hid a rather serious narrative. The difference is that the serious side of Hai-Furi—the one group of girls seemingly against the world—came out earlier and with more force. It’s an interesting direction, since it sort of muddles the mood sometimes, whereas Sora no Woto was a lot cleaner about it; I wonder if Hai-Furi will continue with its half and half Hai and Furi approach, or whether it will change ramp things up (or down?) as it goes.
For now, at least, I don’t think Hai-Furi can be high-tension all the time quite yet, since it still needs to do get through the usual housekeeping, like the world building. We need to keep in mind at all times that Hai-Furi really is a sort of science fiction, though the camera is mostly stuck on a boat on the in the middle of the great blue. With the limited perspective, it’s hard to get a real feel of the world at large (one of the juicier aspects of most sci-fi, for me personally), so they need to sneak world building in where they can. This episode, we find out that there are, in fact, supposedly, allegedly, male students in this world. For those of you who were wondering last week where the submarines were, well, here they are (along with MORE STATS), and the boys are stuck with them. Which sucks for them, because subs are claustrophobic deathtraps. But the y chromosome is expendable, so that’s fine. It’s the price they pay for not being cute girls—along with absolutely zero screen time. Got to preserve our 100% female cast. But that means we still don’t have visual confirmation on the existence of male students. Boys remain creatures of rumour and myth. They are the Bigfoot of the seas.
Though the science is still not in on the so-called ‘boys’, at least we have real evidence of non-Japanese people, or at least Germans. Meet Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingelner Friedeburg (Igarashi Hiromi), yet another name that I’m never going to remember (it’s her fault this time because she has too much of it). I’m assuming she’s the last of the main cast, which means character introductions are now more or less done. She’s another shouty deputy captain type, which means the one we have right now will have to diversify with the cute. I wonder if it’s just Mi-chan being German though; she’s certainly a very anime kind of German, right down to the blonde-hair-blue-eyes. Maybe she’s a bit stereotyped, as foreigners are oft in anime, but the Germans lost the War, so it’s alright to be unfair to them. Well, I guess Japan did too. Take that, anime.
With the character introduction done (so I assume), Hai-Furi immediately gets to advancing the plot, which is to say that Hai-Furi is keeping to a good pace. The Harekaze now has a goal i.e. return to school and the principal’s protection, while avoiding other ships (which seem, mysteriously, to be set to ‘kill on sight’, perhaps having mutinied themselves). The litmus test for the kind of show Hai-Furi intends to be depends on how well this plan goes. If it was more idealistic, the principal will sort things out on her end, and the conspiracy is revealed. In a darker show, the principal will be murdered by the conspiracy. Sounds improbable for a fluffy show? I think things can still go either way, and anywhere in between. The Harekaze not responding to the Musashi’s distress call, for example, must be the kind of decision that comes back to bite later down the line. It’s only a matter of how.