I did not expect another Nishioka episode, but I’m grateful I got one as down to earth as this. If last week was a hopeful, idealistic dream of romance and finding that one true love, this week’s episode was grounded in realism and focused on the harder aspects of the dictionary department. It seems that viewers either prefer these Nishioka/dictionary episodes or the Majime/Kaguya ones; I’m definitely of the latter. I’ve got to be honest and say this episode wasn’t the masterpiece that last week’s was, at least in my eyes. It didn’t affect me on the same emotional scale, but it was a damn good episode nonetheless. Again, I put that down to my own place in life right now and being more in the mood for some optimism when it comes to the hopeless Majime and the compelling Kaguya. If I watched this episode say one or two months ago, I’d likely appreciate Nishoka’s point of view much more, but preferences are all subjective in the end.
Comparing the romance from last week to this week, we’re definitely seeing two very different relationships. Majime and Kaguya are at the very early stages (I’m kind of mad we didn’t see any of her this week – such a tease…) with the dictionary department supporting his moves on her. In contrast, Nishioka and Miyoshi have a secret love affair that doesn’t need to prove itself. We don’t know how long they’ve been together exactly, but their longing for each other’s company is endearing and way more believable than the efforts of the inexperienced Majime. The way they have no barriers when talking to one another and cuddle at night is all the evidence we need that they’re happy with each other, which is a just as joyful to watch as our other main characters finding one another.
The tricky aspect of their relationship is that it’s one big secret, for a reason that hasn’t been totally clarified; unless dating colleagues from different departments is taboo in the Japanese workplace? The first and final scenes with Nishoka as he refuses going to a certain restaurant out of fear of being seen by their colleueges to then changing his mind when realising life’s not worth worrying over was heartwarming. I’m rooting for them to come clean and be open with their relationship now, especially since Nishioka will be working with her very shortly.
Things sure flew by this episode, as Nishioka’s time has already ran out in his current job. I thought this would happen at the end of the series, but it’s refreshing to have an inevitable shift that the characters can’t change even if it isn’t what anyone wants. There still may be time for Nishioka to have a dramatic moment where he disobeys orders and returns to The Great Passage, but I’m loving the direction his story is going for now. His final negotiating scene was somewhere between unsettling and inspiring, as he played all his card before almost giving into the degradation that was expected of him. I have no idea how Majime will cope in these situations, but Nishioka has paved the way in making his newfound friend’s life a little easier. Their scene together on the rooftop was another standout, with the ocean waves of words returning once again as we get another striking display of colour and passion.
It’ll be sad to see Nishioka go, but this was a good send-off. That being said, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any less of him on-screen, as he’s still got a story to tell and likely a bigger part to play in The Great Passage than we’re being led to believe. I like his character a lot, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind a Kaguya-centric offering next week. I want to see her and Majime being adorable and awkward together. Any Fune wo Amu episode with a decent dose of Kaguya is a great episode by my standards.