「初稿と二稿と大長考」 (Shokou to Ni Kou to Dai Choukou)
“First Draft, Second Draft, and the Great, Long Thinking”
One of the things I coming to appreciate more about Saekano—out of many, I assure you—is the structure. In particular, I’m finding it quite neat the way this second, less carbonated season is mirroring the first. I love parallels and bookends, and with Utaha basically forcing a rerun of her first time with Ethics-kun, we’re actively invited to ask what has changed, compare the Tomoya of the past and Tomoya of the present, and evaluate the development of his character. A handy technique, and it gives the story a very circular, satisfying feeling. I’m more convinced than ever that we’re going to reach some kind of conclusion for Saekano this season; everything is starting to come back around.
Of course, it’s not just Tomoya who’s changed; perhaps Megumi, his ‘main heroine’, probably has too. Remember when, back to the beginning of the series, she had hardly any presence at all and mostly just went with the flow or, when discretion dictated it, surreptitiously got out of the way? Now she actively inserts herself into the midst and even actively takes initiative. And doubly surprising, this initiative did not spring out of a place of insecurity, of doubt. Where Megumi always seemed like she had a perfect read on everybody else, always filled with a casual confidence, but now she’s unsure. It’s an interesting shift to the Megumi who has thus far been internally invincible, and while she’s always been an interesting character it’s always a treat to see these little extra dimensions that can emerge under duress.
What of the puzzle behind the script., then? If you recall, when Utaha first met Tomoya, it was in the capacity of a budding author meeting her number one fan. At the time, she offered Tomoya the chance to read her draft in advance, and to make a choice about the direction of the story. She would write for him and him alone, if he so desired. Tomoya refused. He remained just a fan, and she remained just an author. Now, here we are again, with Utaha offering Tomoya a draft, and a choice. This time, though, Tomoya’s no mere fan. He’s the director. And Utaha is writing this game for him and him alone, only because of his personal request. Tomoya needed to come to terms with that.
So far, Tomoya has approached his game, and the script, too much like a fan. He unknowing admits as as much in this very episode: there’s nothing that Kasumi Utako-sensei can write that he wouldn’t like. But as the producer and director of Blessing Software, it’s not enough to just like the script. He has to decide whether that script is the one for him. Why did Tomoya even embark on this mad quest in the first place? He had a vision, of a game that can capture the charm of his ideal dream heroine. Does not the call on him to abandon his vision? And if he’s abandoning his vision, is he not abandoning his main heroine?
Of course, there’s many reasons why the script can suck. Perhaps it’s flawed construction. Perhaps it doesn’t match the other game assets. Perhaps it’s simply not appropriate for this sort of game. Regardless, Tomoya has to shape up and actually be able to make that call. He can profess to like it until he’s blue in the face. But no matter how much you like it, it can still be wrong.