「ケータイ / ホラー / 写真」 (Keitai / Horror / Shashin)
“Cell Phone / Horror / Photo”
Our latest Takagi-san takes us into the 21st century as Nishikata finally has a cellphone. Since most of the cast has one, or is in the process of getting one, it’s brave new territory for the series as now Nishikata must brave through getting teased through a digital medium. As someone who is interested in studying communication in the digital age, it is cool to see how the story integrates the main cast’s cell phone usage in relation to the gags and segments that the show focuses on. The teasing that Takagi gives to Nishikata and the battlefield he must traverse to try to tease her in retaliation is re-contextualized by using smartphone technology, and it makes for a neat conversation on the influence it has on how we communicate.
Part of the “brave new world” that the series takes on is how to incorporate smartphone technology into the psychological warfare of teasing. Much of Nishikata’s phone usage is in the form of sharing scary videos and text messages with his friends. However, one video of a mutating goat starts to haunt him, giving Takagi ammo for her latest prank. While she isn’t as haunted by the goat as Nishikata is when she’s looking at it in the morning, she uses her phone during this segment to embarrass him with the accusation of looking at gravure photos online and trick him yet again into thinking her cousin she’s talking to is some other guy. For the trio, their discussion on trying to convince their parents to get one offers us a section where they can center their antics around smartphones. The only thing is that Sanae already has one and never told anyone.
Despite the series’ love of pranks, it also delves into personal aspect of owning a cell phone. It takes Nishikata a while to summon up the courage to ask Takagi for her number, and the last section where they take each other’s picture offers a different way of seeing their teasing. Takagi takes the chance of keeping burst pictures of Nishikata slowly getting startled by a toy snake, but Nishikata originally wanted a photo of Takagi making a funny face to win in a photo contest against his friend Kimura. He misses his chance, and only gets a photo of her making a peace sign, but they both have a unique way of seeing the cellphone photos. Takagi seemed serious about wanting Nishikata to do something for her in exchange for sharing a photo of a funny face she only makes for him, and doesn’t want him sharing the picture he took of her out of embarrassment. She wants to keep onto her photos of him, but when Nishikata looks back at the picture he took of Takagi, something’s different.
Rather than capitalizing on trying to do something that would embarass Takagi, he thinks for a second before deciding to keep onto it. He says it’s out of wanting a bargaining tool to use against her, but from the way he looks at the photo, it holds a more special meaning for him to have a picture of her. As Takagi’s photos of Nishikata are kept in her album to reflect back on him, Nishikata is definitely keeping onto the photo as a special part of his phone’s memory, offering him a space where he can keep onto a memory of Takagi. As photos are snippets of our collective experiences, the digital presence of each other’s photos in their phones gives us yet another portion of the slowly budding feelings that are emerging from the two. It’s also worth noting that the ending credits changed to the two of them walking together now that summer break is over.