As the title suggests, this episode is slow – baby steps in a massive journey. Fune wo Amu is not for everyone, but for me and those anime fans who seek something uncharacteristicly down to earth every now and then, this is just what we need to keep us sure that the medium is capable of producing top quality adult stories. In truth, it’s a tricky show for me to blog, because it focuses so much on the simple interactions that there’s not that much in the way of plot advancement. But not every series needs to be packed with revelations and twists; Fune wo Amu has settled into its pace and I’m enjoying the ride.
It’s worth noting that we have a very rare thing in anime: An adult romance without crazy hijinks and misunderstandings. Majime is a hopeless soul, but pretty believable given his environment and characteristic. He’s doesn’t come across like a self-insert, and that goes a long way. In contrast, Kaguya is a hundred miles away from him, but watching them come closer through both co-incidence and outside meddling is cute and amusing. They both know what’s going on, and I’m sure Majime realises he’s got a real shot in being with a girl as pretty and confident as Kaguya. Like Majime, she’s not your typical love interest; if anything, she reminds me more of the “cool girls” you see in American flicks, expect not everything is played for laughs, and her mannerisms and motivations feel real.
Motivation is what brought these two together this week, as Majime finally realised they’re not that different once you put aside the subject matter. Whether it be dictionary-making or Japanese cooking, they’ve got their passions and the fact that they can agree and share that with one another is the first major step in their relationship. Aside from Kaguya, Majime’s relationship with his colleagues proves entertaining. It’s nice to see him ease up and feel more at home after being a bad fit for her previous job. I especially liked seeing Masashi’s home life this episode, with the girl who I never realised was his girlfriend. Their scene together is another example of an authentic interaction between adults – less anime caricatures with voice actors delivering over-the-top dialogue. It’s a rarity and a blessing and I just hope we get something of this ilk at least once or twice a year. Both Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and Fune wo Amu fall into that category this year, and both are among my favourites of what 2016 has had to offer. I don’t need to be sold on this journey towards The Great Passage any longer. I’m onboard with everything this series has to offer; it’s a weekly gift that I’m making the most of while it lasts.