「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.
Of course, Utaha seemed like she probably wanted this outcome given her discussion with Tomoya on the subject in the previous episode – even specifically saying how Tomoya needs to have the courage to trash even her work if it’s actually not that good rather than merely blindly like and accept whatever she puts out JUST because it’s made by her, and that if he did end up choosing one script or the other, it would actually anger her and possibly drive her off.
I also did love seeing Michiru and the band again. Love how they managed to never say the word “blackmail” even though that’s exactly what Tomoya was doing, lol. And even then, it’s the rest of the band doing the work while Michiru just goofs off, lol.
I think picking one script over the other will already will already be an exercise of critical thinking—Tomoya obviously ‘likes’ both, but must still pass judgment over them. When it came to Utaha’s novels, Tomoya refused to make any choice at all. I think rejecting both scripts is a bit of a third option, and at least pulls Utaha back into the team and gets her involved in the plot again.
The real reason I watch this show.
what a time to be alive…
Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm on the poster…but of course out attention is not focused on the poster…lol xD
yes. i admit…
.. i slowly get an Stockings fetish here.. they are so shiny and well drawn..
All the girls are beautiful; Utaha is his goddess.
But Megumi is the heroine, and she is the one.
My guess is going to be that although Utaha is an acclaimed light novel author… light novels aren’t games. That’s probably at least one reason Iori thought his script would be better no matter what, he was able to look at her novels objectively rather than as a friend/fan/teammate and realize that her writing style just isn’t suited for a game.
It’s certainly likely, considering how Tomoya didn’t have his epiphany until reading the script in-game, and his emphasis on it being a bad game, not a bad script. Still, there can’t be just one way to write a visual novel, and you can build them around all sorts of writing styles. There must be some fundamental flaw in Utaha’s writing.
I wonder if Utaha’s current writing is focused on her rejection of ‘Meguri’ as well as an attempt for ‘Ruri’ to win. Utaha is trying to ask Tomoya the same question she did in season 1, episode 5 in the same roundabout way (script, decision, etc.).
At this point, the intention of the script has been changed from that of a game Tomoya wants to make, to a coded ultimatum regarding Utaha’s future. Clever, but ultimately not fair – and that’s for BOTH of them. I would not be surprised if Tomoya rejected the entire premise of the script for the game’s future, irrespective of Utaha’s intentions to make him choose between her (Ruri) and Meguri – that’s certainly where I see things going based on the decisions he made previously.
Tomoya will end up doing the same thing he did to Utaha before, for the same reasons as before. Her intentions will have gone over his head again – and he will be none the wiser to her affections because that’s not what he’s focused on. If she actually uses the proper words to tell him what she feels, it would be a different story.
It’s giving my fix of fan service…