「Dear My Friend」
“Well, don’t push yourself too hard. If you fail, you’ll just regret it all the more.”
Surprise is not necessary for a story to be great. It’s become clear for episodes now that the bubbling drama between Kimari and Megumi would boil over, something myself and others have called. What matters is the execution of that which you foreshadow—though it helps (or at least doesn’t hurt) that the contours of the drama were sightly different than I was expecting.
Megumi was jealous, as we anticipated, and it was an ugly thing; even she admitted as much. She wanted to be needed, but her mention of how Kimari makes her feel like an onee-chan—of it being like she had a little sister, in a girl who actually has a little sister—changes the inflection. This was still an ugly jealousy, and one she shouldn’t have acted upon, but it had the flavor of an older sister or a mother or an aunt looking on as their young one grows up and begins doing amazing things, a conflicted feeling of wanting Kimari to stay small and cute and needing of her help, even as she deep down realizes that she has to let her grow—with the added flavor of them being the same age, so it’s like Kimari is surpassing her in real time. Megumi feels empty, like she has nothing, and Kimari’s actions have thrown this into stark relief. It’s like they say: a person’s reaction to you has far more to do with themselves than it does anything you’re doing. So it was with Megumi.
“Sometimes, people are just mean. Don’t fight mean with mean. Hold your head high.”
It all finally came to a head on the morning of Kimari’s departure, and in the right way. This wasn’t melodrama. It wasn’t a big messy fight. It wasn’t drama for the sake of drama. Everything about this show is about its characters pushing themselves, and each other, to be better people—and through them, to push us. It has an optimistic worldview at its core, and a show like that would never indulge in tawdry theatrics. That’s why Kimari doesn’t get mad at Megumi, and why it’s her kindness, her friendship, and her earnest effort that causes Megumi to confess what she’s done in the first place. Kimari is such a brilliant main character because she’s in no way an audience insert. She’s the heart of the team, the soul of the cast, and the one who, through her own actions and worldview, inadvertently encourages others to be better even as she seeks that for herself. She’s an inspiration, and someone to be admired even as she’s so clearly flawed, so clearly figuring this out as she goes. Her story with Megumi this episode shows that.
What’s so lovely is that, up until the big confrontation, the story is told in what isn’t said (for Megumi) and what is (for Kimari). It’s asymmetric warfare, with Kimari unknowingly beating her best friend in a battle she doesn’t know they’re involved in. Everything from her different answers to Megumi’s tired old saying to her inviting her along and dragging her into their games, Kimari is wearing Megumi down without even knowing it, even as she shows to her other friends, and even her own little sister, that she’s still the person Megumi felt she had to help, coddle, scold, protect. Add in Kimari’s fun adventures with her friends, and the interactions with her family that made me tear up more than once, and it was a picture of showing how much Kimari has, and how much she’s growing, compared to the emptiness Megumi feels inside. Makes you feel for her, doesn’t it?
“Water collects into stagnant pools. I’ve always loved watching it spill out all at once. Breaking free, liberated, rushing out. The energy stored up during its stagnation bursts forth. Everything springs into action!”
This is a rare story that can so deftly encapsulate a theme with what originally looked like throwaway imagery from a character’s childhood, as it did here with the stagnant pool. But more than that, it’s the rare TV show that actually needs all the episodes it’s given. It’s not just filling time, it needs each of these episodes because each one has something to say, rather than just burning time until they can get to the good stuff later on. That’s the huge advantage and benefit of original programming; since this wasn’t designed for any other medium, it fits into the contours of TV perfectly, each episode a three-act structure amid the season-wide arc each drives forward. Not every episode is equally as good, but all are needed, and all end with their own climax. It’s no wonder each gets an insert song to help stick the landing.
Speaking of, have I mentioned how much I love the ED? I listen to it multiple times every episode. Heartful, yearning, almost mournful, but inspirational at its core—Yorimoi in a microcosm. Love it.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: The Last Jedi SUPER SPOILERY Review.
Full-length images: 20.
Anyone know about animation style in this anime?
Nowadays seemingly there’re many anime come up with this style e.g. Tsuki ga Kirei
I am reminded of Little Witch Academia, while looking at this.
I’m assuming you’re referring to the blooming/rim lighted look of the characters? I’ve seen this style a lot as well. There were some recent ones from a few years back that used this look heavily in the art style of the show, but the names of said shows escapes me.
Some shows that I do know of from a little bit of research, and off the top of my head, that look like this anime are Blue Drop,Monster, Engaged to the Unidentified, and some episodes of Plastic Memories.
There are definitely a LOT more shows with this style, as mentioned previously Little Witch Academia. I’m pretty sure pre Monster, Naoki Urasawa anime adaptions have used this look as well, so it might be based off of the material the animation is adapting? I’m not sure on that though.
Laughed out loud at the “arm flab” joke. Loving this show.
Yeah. It’s mostly drama/adventure, but they have great comedic sense and perfect timing. I laugh more watching Sora yori than some comedy anime.
Fantastic, I hope the creators of this show make an episode or at least half an episode on how this process of expanding one’s boundaries will exponentially change a person’s outlook in life. This is what this show is all about after all.
I think they’re doing that all the time, so I’m confident your wish will be granted.
This anime is a real gem. The best of the season in my opinion.
was it just me or it is really that this episode was rushed a bit? last episode they were just training then it immediately jumped to farewell and departure scene? that was pretty fast transition i could say… but well if this will just run for 12 then ok. what’s important is that we get to see the girls get to antartica.
I didn’t think it was rushed personally. They don’t need to show everything that happens to get across that it happened. Showing more of the training would have been boring. Sure they could have smoothed the transition somehow, though I don’t know that it would have been worth it. It flowed pretty well to me—and as you noted, it’s only one cour. Gotta focus on the good stuff.
Man, I feel like anime is worth recommending to everyone. It shows how the people close to you might react when you make big changes in your life. If you replace “Going to Antarctica” with any weird/big goal, you’ll probably run into the same objections and treatment from others. But you do it anyway because it matters to you.
“Move halfway across the country.”
“Take a weird, uncertain job.”
“Write and publish a book, then do it again.”
Yup. Checks out. Trying to do big/weird things confuses people, it scares them, and they’ll try to hold you back with all the best of intentions, and sometimes not so good ones. I’ve seen it in my life.
It’s saddening to hear the regret people have for not taking that step, especially if you hear it from a young age. Life is too short to not take some risks.
Perhaps someone liked the “Set-up, Build-up and Release” comment from Passerby
I was presuming some act of sabotage from over-protective friend but boy I was not prepared for her being behind so many obstacles our heroine already has faced…
Alas, in a truly cathartic setup her own breakdown and facing own meanness is liberating for both of the girls involved – and Megumi now can proceed ahead with own life instead ob relying on being someones self-appointed guardian…
It was pretty bold of the series to show Megumi not only open up about her reasons for not wanting to see Kimari find her place in the world without her to rely on, but also open up about deliberately spreading malicious rumors about her and “Antarctica”. To have Megumi go as far as to torpedo their friendship and cut off ties from Kimari before she left was way different than what I expected would go down.
This show is filling up thr void that houseki no Kuni has left after the latter ended for the season.
I think in essence, Sora Yori is a coming of age show with adventure, comedy and friendship as the condiments. This episode caused some liquid tonflow out. You know, you can actually get life lessons from the various lines spoken by the characters themselves and they’re more rounded than what they let themselves to be. With the Lawson girl being the most rounded and mature of them all.
Ice cream… Seriously Stilts-nee chan??? Why no screen cap of the Merlion and The Esplanade skyline?! This might possibly be the second time that Singapore makes an appearance in an anime. First time being in PlaMemo.
I wonder what they’ll be doing in sunny Singapore while on transit to Australia and I wonder how detailed they’ll make Changi Airport to be. As a Singaporean I’m excited!
They might just be connecting through while on the way to Australia. Wouldn’t that be funny? No cap, and then no episode. Nyoro~n :3
Singapore was also featured in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Stardust Crusaders)
Shiraishis reaction to this photo is worrying. As if she is total unable to enjoy live. Her lack of friends is maybe not only caused by the policy of her mother, but has maybe also roots in her personality.
I wouldn’t go writing her off like that. Personality is mutable. More than that, even if she isn’t excited by something wild and crazy, that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy life. There’s far more to life than only that.
Ok maybe she is too introverted to be excited by something wild and crazy, but still this is not the first time she reacts very negatively to others. There is something in the bush.
Nah, I think the reaction was more of “I’m so glad I wasn’t there to embarrass myself”.
While this isn’t the focus of this episode, I would like to show my appreciation for the lawson girl, Hinata. She is a great support character that is pretty unique — a street smart character which also served very well as the spokeperson for viewer’s mind. She also had a great chemistry with everyone, push the story and atmosphere when it’s stale, and know when to retreat a bit into the background to give another character a spotlight (while spawning some golden tsukkomis or self quotes). As a bonus, in my eye she’s also a very attractive girl.
Mari is also a great main character tho, due to her ability to become “sponge” who able to learn and react very fast from her surroundings, along with having a great heart inside. Not really a fan of Shirase in the beginning, but her “gap” changed her into a fun and likeable character. Yuzuki is still pretty much a semi outsider due to her nature, but I expect that it will change a lot when they spend more time together.
Agreed on Hinata, and everyone! The cast has such great balance. I’m hoping we’ll see more of how Yuzuki will fit into that in the coming episodes.
Also, did you see these “Little seed Flowers” on their Heads in the ED? I bet its symbolic of grown into Adults
from an tiny little flower into an full bloom flower.. Thats life
forgot the main thing of my comment…
copy & paste
I like how they solved the “problem” with our “since kindergarten actor”.. The girls know when she put her Actor mask up and be herself
And she are helping her out when she are having “stage fright” panic attack. She is really an Pro and partner.. and on a very good way to become (perhaps already is) an friend
The “matured” girl know so much.. is she really only 16?
Also true friendship was tested.. but in an other way i was expecting
did i mention i like this show? the way the act on screen and the voice actors inside our “ears”? the siblings Video and Audio create an perfect harmony inside my mind and burn deep
i like it, please continue.. but i could write this on every episode.. keep the good work