「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?

Full-length images: 21, 22.


    1. Ah, those shots of Utaha were a breath of fresh air after seeing that figurine of Miyuki “OniisamaOniisamaOniisama…” (STAHP!) Shiba earlier in the show.

      Also, hadaka Y-shirt and black panties combo… Oh my… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  1. Heh, well Morals-kun is being consistent at least. In Utaha’s spinoff she pulled a similar metaphor choice thing and he doged it hahaha. Being an Utaha fan I prefer the manga spinoff myself, but what do other people think? I honestly think Morals-kun does better in his role as an editor for a work he’s truly passionate about, then fumbling around trying to make something himself. Also less harem hijinks.

    1. I haven’t read the spin-off, but I think we can call the fumbling about character development. To start with, Tomoya was something of a pathetic figure, and now he’s being forced to shape up. It’s been a good experience for him.

  2. The interesting thing is, Tomoya didn’t just bail out of choosing, he rejected the entire script. In a sense, he thought that there was no choice to be made– there was only one game he wanted to make and that game’s heroine is Megumi.

    It was still sad when this finally, really hits Utaha. Props to her for being graceful in defeat.

    Oh, and the truth of the situation has probably hit Eriri too. She’s been having artist’s block for the last couple of episodes, but can immediately draw something good after seeing Aki and Megumi dance. Even in her mind she’s paired up Aki and Megumi.

    Side note: Megumi looked gorgeous with her hair unraveled, but please bring back the ponytail next episode! Thanks.

    1. I also vote for ponytail. Are we voting? Do we get to vote? Ponytail for president.

      Tomoya didn’t reject the script entirely; he’s still keeping this Ruri route, as well as the original Meguri one. It’s more like, he rejects her philosophy? Which is why he wants a third, true, happy ending? If he wants all his characters to be happy, he can’t choose Ruri over everyone else. And perhaps that’s the most heartbreaking for Utaha, because to Tomoya the tragic heroine, great but flawed and doomed to falling—the kind of character Utaha envisioned Ruri to be, and herself to be—will never be Tomoya’s ‘main heroine’.

      1. If we don’t get to vote, we riot.

        He was definitely rejecting her philosophy; like you said it’s a clash of Tomoya’s penchant for everyone-is-happy endings vs Utaha’s self-deprecating tragic romantic viewpoint. And I guess that’s all it boils down to, in the end– he won’t choose Ruri.

        Now if only Tomoya can just realize Megumi has already stealth moded her way into his heart.

  3. Dude, Utaha and Aki had a good intercourse with their game script. The final product with a happy ending for both the main and tragic heroine being their love child.

    Poor Eriri though… no way in the picture.

  4. I was looking for a new series to watch after binging on netflix’s sense8 season 2. It left me lonely and empty with a desire to fill my heart with happiness. I saw this post and ended up watching all of season 1’s Saekano last night. I usually hate ecchi shows, but I love slice of life friendship with romantic undertones anime.
    I was incredibly pleased with this show and have some thoughts:
    Megumi is the perfect waifu. NO seriously. She endures so many complaints, annoyances without looking displeased. I mean she tolerated the protagonist’s annoying attitude with her constantly spoiling everything and still she’s with him. In the long run, that lack of nagging goes a long way, especially for the husband.

  5. All of your unrequited shippings in this episode are answered in Senai Kanojo (Heroine) no Sodatekata. Well, I’ve always found Utaha so much more interesting then Megu, but that’s really kinda the whole point of this series. To her credit though Megu does a very good job as the main.


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