「二泊三日の新ルート」 (Ni Haku San Nichi no Shin Ruuto)
“New Route of Two Nights and Three Days”
I know it’s been—what?—more than two years since the first season of Saekano, but this arc of Flat really has to be watched with references to Utaha’s original episode all the way back, because it’s clear that Maruto Fumiaki-sensei likes his stories to come all the way around. As I mentioned last week, it seems that the structure of Saekano is largely circular, and there are subtleties in the script that, while they do not exactly demand Shakespearean analysis—does require one to remember what was going on with Utaha originally. Yeah, I know the main take away from any episode starring Utaha is wow, what were we talking about again? but since I keep referring to Sakeanao as a clever show I unfortunately have to justify it by going high brow. Less on the dessert, more on the main course.
Once again, Utaha has offered Tomoya a choice between two of her stories. Once again, Utaha buries in these stories a metaphor that she (perhaps unreasonably) expects her crush to understand. And, once again, Tomoya refuses to make the choice. Can’t blame Utaha for getting mad about it this time. But of course, as Utaha realises herself, the scenario is now different. When it came to her novel, Tomoya dodged the choice because he wanted to stay out of the creative process. When it comes to the game, Tomoya dodged the choice as part of the creative process, in his role as the director. Before, Utaha invited Tomoya to cross over into her world, but he refused. But now, he finally has.
But still, this is not exactly how Utaha wanted it. She wanted him to choose Ruri over Meguri. She wanted him to abandon his perfect heroine and choose the tragic heroine. She wanted him to pick her. But he doesn’t. And she knows that. Then again, though, I wonder if some part of Utaha has not resigned herself to play that sort of role. I mean, if Tomoya did choose Ruri, then it’d be like he chose Utaha, meaning she’d no longer be the tragic heroine, meaning that Ruri will no longer be modeled off her her, meaning that Tomoya kinda didn’t choose her, meaning… argh! I’m rambling. But it’s hard to talk about Saekano without descending into rambling logic sometimes, because of it’s meta nature. Remember, for a moment, that Utaha is herself a character in a novel, stuck in what we could call a love triangle (some kind of polygon, anyway). And part of her character is defined by the fact that she’s the one who loses. So I wonder if she resigned to losing from the very beginning, partly because of her self-loathing, and partly because she feels it would make for the better story.
And on that note, an interesting thought: should Tomoya have chosen Utaha to write his game in the first place? Sure, she’s a talented author who happens to be accessible for him, but stylistically, she writes tragedies, and he believes in happy endings. And I think Saekano is being aware of one of the natural results of love triangles/harem comedies like itself: someone usually loses, and because we’re supposed to like these people, it’s rather sad. And so it presents to us two different approaches: Utaha keeps the story sad, because that’s realistic, and she uses her novels as an outlet to express herself. Tomoya pushes for a happy ending, because it’s a game, and in games one should be allowed escapism.
What kind of ending will Saekano go for, I wonder?