OP: 「動く、動く」 (Ugoku, Ugoku) by Chito (Minase Inori) & Yuuri (Kubo Yurika)
「風呂 / 日記 / 洗濯」 (Furo / Nikki / Sentaku)
“Bath / Journal / Laundry”
If there was any doubt after last week about SSR’s direction, this episode should have safely ensconced them away. Chi and Yuu wind up in a new situation, make the most of it, and along way talk about or discover something they never previously considered. It’s an incredibly quaint and peaceful journey, and while seemingly tailor made for boredom, SSR finds a way to make it something special.
The one component of SSR I always loved was its world and we had it (if only one small part) on full display this week. We know a little of the world from last time for example, but shots like these capture the truly indescribable scale of this world and just how far Chi and Yuu have to go. SSR is very similar to Blame! in this regard, as both stories have brobdingnagian worlds of metal and concrete with no apparent end, but SSR trades the cyberpunk motif for a distinctively dieselpunk setting (at least for now). This never ending swath of ruined post-industrial civilization is what gives SSR the foreboding feeling of something worse to come, and more importantly, its strength. As highlighted last week, SSR is more Kemono Friends than Made in Abyss, there is no jaw dropping twist coming, no agonizing moment of suffering. All those pieces elusively remain in the background, little nuggets for the mind to mull over as Yuu noms on the latest weekly delicacy. In a way SSR could be considered a thinking show: you will get as much out of it as you initially put in.
Where this aspect of foreboding particularly comes into play is with the two girls. Yuu after all cannot read or write (well, mostly), and Chii, while learned, couldn’t even begin to tell where the world ends and nature begins. Our duo may be lively and lighthearted, but there is a little piece that tugs at the emotions seeing two girls having never tasted fish or fretting over writing in a journal. What Chi’s and Yuu’s ignorance positively provides though is a perfect vehicle for exploration. Every new place and discovery is brand new for the two, each step forward yields new lines of thought and every musing offers up its own set of answers. The duo may not understand the extent of their own world for example, but they can at least hazard a guess as Chii gets into with her recollection of oceans. It’s certainly debatable that SSR may be too happy go lucky and moeblob-ish for the material it’s presenting (dystopic situations demand answers after all), but as a slice of life SSR is hitting all the right notes (at least for me). This story is as much—if not more—about the journey as it is about any answers received along the way.
With two episodes (and one fish) down, SSR has just about found its stride. There are a lot of intriguing tidbits left to learn from Chi’s and Yuu’s peregrinations, and with the show’s current pacing, we should hopefully see one of them next episode or two. The world of SSR may be a large and lonely place for two little girls, but there’s no reason it has to stay that forever.
ED: 「More One Night」 by Chito (Minase Inori) & Yuuri (Kubo Yurika)