「パーシャル友情」 (Paasharu Yuujou)
Thematically, this is my favorite episode of the series so far. That’s not to say it’s my favorite episode period, or even that I think it’s the best. Those are besides the point. It’s that the theme this episode hammers at is one of my favorites: friendship. And it gets at it well.
I’m always fascinated by friendship. I’m a hopeless romantic too, so a love story is lovely, and family—well, family is great, I’m just not a very family-focused guy. It’s friendship that most bewitches me, because people are not born friends. Friends are chosen. They’re made and kept through effort. Friendship is the original meritocracy, one of the few human interactions that’s always had to be earned. There are many flavors of human relationships, and some people will call others their friend when they don’t really like them all that much, but then they aren’t truly friends. They’re acquaintances, or close acquaintances at best. Friendship is always earned.
So how do you explain friendship to someone who’s never really had friends before?
It’s a tricky question, and I’m glad the girls struggled so much to define it. That’s right and proper. Friendship isn’t as easy to delineate as parents or spouses, as Shirase accurately picks out. To me, friendship is about making shared interests feeding into shared history, and about making the time to spend with one another—though it really depends. I have friends I talk to all the time. I have friends I can not see for years and then pick things right back up like nothing happened. It all depends. That’s what makes friendship so hard to nail down.
That’s why I’m so happy with how the question was approached in this episode. Not only that it took a full episode for them to arrive at a definition they kind of liked, but because they showed friendship even while Yuzuki was trying to understand it. It was in Kimari crying and hugging her, not because she was mad, but because she was sad that her friend has suffered so much. Did you catch how she said it?
“You don’t know, do you? You can’t know, can you?”
That’s Kimari sympathizing with her, and having empathy with another is a key ingredient of friendship. These little examples of friendship were spread throughout the episode, from Shirase and Hinata trying to assuage Yuzuki’s worries (even though Shirase kept chickening out, because she was forcing herself to do something she’s uncomfortable doing—for her friend’s benefit) to the birthday cake at the end. It was even in the complicated, and changing, relationship Kimari has with Megumi. While they were trying to tell us what friendship was, they were showing us, so when they finally settled on a definition, it felt right. Which is the definition they settled on.
Friendship is right. It’s what feels right. It’s, as a Supreme Court Justice once so candidly put it, an issue of, “I know it when I see it.” It means different things for different people, and there are different contours of the relationship between different friends in a single person’s life, but one thing unites them: it feels right. Friends are people you choose to spend your limited time on this planet with, because it makes both of you happy. That’s why I love friendship. That’s why it’s worth it. And that’s why it’s so great to see Yuzuki finally have the friends she always wanted, even if she had them a while ago and didn’t even realize it.
D’aaaww! Yuzuki is truly adorable, and adorkable. It’s nice to see an idol character where her being an idol is just a single facet of her personality. It’s also nice to get one more character-focused episode in, interspersed with plenty details about living in Antarctica, because with only three episodes left, we might not get many more. By the looks of that board, though, there’ll be at least a few more character-based moments. The Hanyu Daisan High School Track Team, eh? Iiiinteresting.
- Why are they all dressed up wtf!?
- “Emergency. The jar genie won’t come out of the toilet. He probably won’t go through the ticket gate.” WHAT lol! They really do a good job of making Kimari a goofy/stupid character without her being annoying. It’s a neat trick, and not one I’m sure I could pull off.
- Keep. Shirase. Away from. The penguins. Danger
Will Robinsonpenguin-chan, danger!
- “Actually, there is one thing we haven’t told you.” Kimari, you honest girl! She had to out and admit they had one thing they hadn’t told Yuzuki—the planned surprise party. She got lucky that Yuzuki was too torn up about the friends thing to inquire further, haha!
- Another nice moment: the Yuzuki-chan fan. Simply for reminding us that all these characters have internal lives of their own, and they can inject meaning on even a personal story like this episode’s. I bet Yuzuki would have accepted the job regardless, but having a fan at the station who would probably be happy if she did was a nice addition.
- I don’t think I’ve ever pointed this out before, but I like how they do the high school girl’s cheeks. Notice it? Only the young characters have the glowing cheeks. It works well, because it really makes the younger characters stand out from all the adults. That’s more important in this story when they’re mixing with adults yet it’s vital that they remain clearly not adults for the duration of this tale. It’s a good tactic.
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: Book 3 Progress Report.