「雪に埋もれたマスターアップ」 (Yuki ni Uzumore ta Masutaa-Appu)
“The Deadline Buried in the Snow”
It seems like an easy moral choice to, after your friend collapses from exhaustion, rush to her side to provide aid and comfort instead of prioritising your game project. But perhaps it’s not so clear cut, once objections have been heard from the other party. After all, Eriri didn’t collapse for no reason. She was working tirelessly for the cause. Is it alright to let her sacrifice go in vain? Not to mention the sacrifice of all the others on the team? Did Spock not teach us that the good of the many outweigh the good of the few? I’m not saying that Tomoya did the wrong thing by helping Eriri—he’d regret it if permanent harm came to her just for his pet project. Even Iori, the consummate businessman, knows that helping out your mate comes first and takes a break from his theatrics. But it’s not a completely straightforward calculation.
After all, Tomoya didn’t just choose to prioritise Eriri. No, he abandoned his game project altogether. At some point between last episode and this one, he gave up. He could have, perhaps, pushed Eriri a bit harder earlier. Or, he could have called Megumi for help, and between them perhaps they could have both looked after Eriri and pushed the game to gold. Iori even offered him the use of his connections to extend the deadline. But Tomoya did nothing. He resigned. Why? There’s some backstory implied about why Tomoya is so protective of Eriri, why he doesn’t really hold her to the same standards as, say, Utaha, but it feels like there should be more here. It’s not like Saekano has shied from delving into Tomoya’s childhood before, and I want to know more about why Tomoya relent so easily when it comes to Eriri before judging him as being completely craven.
In any case, Tomoya gives up on his big Comiket debut without much of a fight and, all of a sudden, we’ve published. Sure just a handful of copies, but we’ve published! We’ve been leading up to this moment the entire series and now, it’s come and gone. It should have been a joyous occasion, full of celebration and fanfare, and instead… anticlimax? Sure, it was appropriately anticlimactic, considering we’re only halfway through the season, but that raises another interesting point: we’re only at episode 06, and the game’s finished! And it all ended with less a bang and more a whimper, as Tomoya meh’d his way through crunch time.
And that’s perhaps why Megumi is angry now, because Tomoya just sort of let go of his big dream project without consultation with anyone else. And I must say, having Megumi truly, inconsolably upset gave me the chills. Not because her demeanor was all that different from normal—she’s not going to give up on her titular ‘flatness’ so easily—but because simply the idea of Megumi being angry is so outrageous. She’s put up with so much, managed to take all of Tomoya’s super-nerd idiosyncrasies in stride, forgiven him so many of his numerous indiscretions, and now she’s been pushed over the edge. I can’t blame her. Megumi’s not just Tomoya’s passive heroine, she’s an equal partner in the venture. She’s invested her time in the project, picked up a suite of necessary skills, and even before that has always supported Tomoya in her own little ways. And Tomoya failed to respect that. He gives up on the deadline on his own volition, and completely refused to take up any of Megumi’s offers of help despite her making clear her own investment in seeing the project succeed. It’s ill-manners, to say the least.
So, half-way done, game complete, drama at maximum. Where to now? Without the game project, there’s no major reason for Tomoya and Megumi to meet up any more. Tomoya, if he has any regrets at all, will have to make amends actively, and I hope he goes out of his way to do so. There’s plenty of loose ends to make use of, including whom I presume to be Iori’s other sister, so we can be going places yet. Saekano Flat has managed to do a lot in its first half—I look forward to even more in the second.