It would be unfair to label these recent episodes of Fune wo Amu as disappointing. It’s more that the show’s direction is far different from what I would have preferred. It’s like being on a long multi-train journey, except the last one you have to get on ends up going in the wrong direction, but the next stop is so far out that there’s nothing you can do but accept your fate and realise you’re not getting to your desired destination. After episode 6, I could envision Fune wo Amu as a serious contender for not only Anime of the Year, but one of my personal favourites ever. The post-timeskip material has prevented that from being the case, and while what we’re getting is still fairly good, it doesn’t match the quality and potential I saw in the series only a few weeks back.
I’ve accepted that I’m not going to get to see the personal details of these characters’ lives except from context clues in brief scenes that show but don’t tell. Those details include Nishioka’s wedding ring, yet we don’t know who he’s married to; we can assume, but I hope we’re not being played for fools on this one. We had the new (but similar looking) cat last week, and now we’ve also got the photo of Kaguya’s gran. It’s in moments like these that I really wish this timeskip was handled different. I would have preferred to see her passing and how it affected Majime and Kaguya and perhaps brought them together. That would have made for emotional viewing and likely way more exciting than what we’re getting with this final dictionary proofread. Because frankly, it’s just not that exciting anymore. I feel bad for thinking the opposite of those who worked hard and dedicated their extra time to getting it done, but all those scenes are sleep-inducing (I actually paused this episode 15 minutes in and slept for 2 hours). At least a lot of it was montaged, but not enough to keep me invested in this last-minute drama.
But there were moments that I did like, such as Matsumoto being in hospital and Majime having to tell a white lie to keep him happy, or the short (painfully short) moment with Majime and Kaguya sharing a meal. I would give anything to explore their relationship past that breathtaking first step, but it seems Fune wo Amu has no desire to make the most of these loveable leads. So even in the scenes where I’m finding enjoyment, I can’t help but feel that pang of annoyance that we’re not getting more of the good stuff. This is definitely a case where my instinct as a writer kicks in, and I imagine what I’d do if I was the creator of this story/adaptation, which is usually indicative of things not living up to their potential. The best shows or books or movies are those that feel fully realised and perfectly told, and sadly these past few weeks have prevented that from being the case.
But Fune wo Amu is still an anime like anything else out right now. Noitamina’s 2017 roster is a lot more mainstream than in pervious years, so this may be the last title that captures the spirit of the timeslot for quite some time. It may not be perfect, but it’s a damn good show and I wish more people were watching it if only to broaden their tastes and know that there’s more on offer if you’re willing to look.