「ようこそドリアンショーへ」 (Youkoso Dorian Shou e)
“Welcome to the Durian Show”
A traveler’s worst nightmare made manifest.
I wasn’t sure how a travel episode would play out. “Shouldn’t they get on with the Antarctica part?”, I thought to myself. But as is always the case with Ishizuka-san and her staff, this episode was a thousand times worth it. Not just because they got to sightsee in Singapore, though that was certainly cool. (Here’s your Merlion, Velvet Scarlantina.) It’s because it all centered on character, and one a conflict with a much more uncertain conclusion than last episode’s, even if the stakes were simultaneously much lower and higher.
Before that, let’s talk about travel. I’ve done a fair bit of international travel, and losing one’s passport? That’s near the top of the list of a first-time traveler’s greatest fears. (Fears that are in any way reasonable, at least.) The more you travel, the more you realize that you can work around these issues and usually everything turn out all right, but the girls are on a tight schedule. This is probably the episode that gripped me with the most outright fear, because, to be stopped from going to Antarctica because of a misplaced passport? What a %&#$ing crappy reason to miss out on a trip of a lifetime. It would have been infuriating. It would have been enraging. It would have also been totally believable, and that made it grip my heart with cold fear all the more.
What was so great—and typical of this show—was that the drama was used to reveal character. This time it was a deeper dive into Hinata’s psyche and past, versus the unyielding, stubborn will that is Shirase. What’s especially fantastic is that I see both of their points. In Hinata’s shoes, I would not want to risk being the reason Shirase doesn’t get to Antarctica. I would pick her up and throw her on the damn plane myself if I had to. But Shirase doesn’t want to be the kind of person who would abandon her friend and selfishly go off on her own—you know those times when the hero’s party is thinned out as one person after another stays back to clear the way? “I’ll hold them off, you go ahead!” In matters of life and death, that may be a viable strategy. This ain’t that. Shirase doesn’t want to step over Hinata’s metaphorical body to get to where she’s going.
It was money that saved the day. (Money might not be able to buy happiness, but it can sure remove obstacles, as this episode nearly showed.) Though that’s not really true—it was the force of Shirase’s conviction that caused them to understand each other better, and it did it in a way that deftly ties into the theme of consideration—of doing what you think you ought to do, because it’s the polite thing to do, whether it’s what you really believe or not—because the reasons Shirase gives for buying the business class tickets were framed as selfish. It’s not for Hinata (only). It’s for herself. It’s for the person Shirase wants to be, the kind of journey she wants to take, and the relationship she wants to have with Hinata. Shirase strikes me as the kind of person who doesn’t make friends easily (obviously), but, once she makes them, she does everything she can to keep them and nurture that relationship. She’s stubborn as hell. Hinata didn’t have a chance.
I laughed out loud when they found the passport, not the least because checking everyone else’s bags would have been Step #1 for me after Hinata’s bags came up empty. (Also, what’s with some of this junk she brought? Sheesh. Newbies.) The use of the durian as a punishment was always fantastic, which, if you don’t know what a durian is, educate thyself. It’s a fascinating fruit, with descriptions that range from “A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds” and “the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop”, to “its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.” How crazy is nature!? Between the Durian Show and Kimari’s terrible sleeping habits, Yorimoi keeps packing in the comedy between its character-driven development. I love this show dearly.
But seriously, put that damn money in a bank, Shirase! Jeez. This girl is a pickpocket’s wet dream.
- They didn’t copy it entirely, but they definitely paid homage to the Singapore Airlines flight attendant uniform. Then everything they did in Singapore proper—great attention to detail throughout!
- I can totally understand Hinata urging the others to go on ahead without her. In her place I might have done the same thing. Though I may also have suggested that Shirase & Kimari go ahead while Yuzuki stays behind with me (Hinata), ’cause that boat ain’t leaving without their star. But that, like checking everybody else’s bags, would have shortcircuited the fun, so I’m all right with them not thinking of it 😀
- I like the height disparity between the character. It’s a small detail that shows how much thought went into all of these characters. Plus I tend to think about height a lot since I’m so much taller than most people, so it’s nice to see a group where everyone isn’t clustered around the boring norm.
- This is a cautionary tale: cheap, nonrefundable tickets can get you into trouble. Sometimes it’s worth it paying a little more for a flexible ticket on a legacy carrier with a redundant route network, as opposed to slumming it with Spirit or Ryanair or VietJet. Trust me. I’ve seen people burned by the low-cost carriers before.
- Notice how there wasn’t an insert song this episode? The climax didn’t need one. That’s good storytelling through and through.
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