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Sarazanmai – 09 »« Sarazanmai – 07

Sarazanmai – 08

「つながりたいけど, もう会えない」 (Tsunagaritai kedo, Mou Aenai)

“I Want to Connect, but We’ll Never Meet Again”

At first glance, the “We’ll Never Meet Again” in this episode’s title seemed to direct itself towards Kuji’s departure from the group. After time catches up with the trio, the situation has become far more urgent for Chikai to get out of town with Kuji before the police catch up with him for shooting his old gang leader. But the cruelest twist in Sarazanmai yet is that the title also applies to Enta, who is gunned down by Reo and would never meet Kazuki again presumably because he was killed saving him. It’s hard to gauge how Reo’s bullets apply or whether Enta was only wounded, but for the sake of losing the third shadow in the ending credits, we’re left to assume the worst of Enta’s fate.

Let’s rewind a bit to discuss Enta. He spent a majority of the episode suffering from the consequences of his plate-theft and finding out one secret that didn’t require a shirikodama to be exposed to him. Through his brief partnership with Kuji’s brother Chikai, Enta learned that some of his favorite things about Kazuki came from Kuji. His pose? That was Kuji’s. The blue miçanga? Also Kuji’s. At first, it seemed that Enta was more than happy to get Chikai to get his little brother out of the picture, but as Chikai parts with him by giving him lollipops to share with his friends, urging him to make up with them, Enta finds himself wanting to get to the bottom of what exactly Kuji is thinking in wanting to leave just like that. Whereas Kuji wanted to make it clear to both Kazuki and Enta that he’s perfectly fine with what happened with the dishes as he intends on following his brother out of the city, the time Enta spent with Chikai gave him insight on the fact that Kuji has been giving up his connections and desires for his big brother.

With the regretful farewell that Kuji gives to Enta as he tells him there’s no point in having Kazuki remember that day on the bridge where he gave him the miçanga, Enta is left with multiple conflicting thoughts in his head about Kuji’s connections with the rest of them and Kazuki’s feelings about Kuji. Since Kazuki met Kuji, he’s been harboring a passionate degree of fondness for him as he remembers the moments they’ve had since the first episode. Because his memories cut off by there, this means that Kuji and Enta are left with the frustration of treating Kazuki as if all of their interactions with him before they met Keppei was all a blur. For Kuji, this brings about the lingering sorrow that he has for Kazuki completely forgetting that he gave him the miçanga as a way to try to leave a lasting impression on someone who wasn’t his brother. For Enta, it reflects the agonizing frustration that he has over Kazuki choosing to live in the present and forget all of the connections he’s made before he saved Haruka. Since that day, it felt like there wasn’t something right about how Kazuki was acting unnaturally passionate in his happiness, and in this episode, his anger follows this same pattern as he lashes out on Kuji for possibly siding with Enta for not being concerned about the dishes he took.

Kazuki’s heightened emotional state culminates when the first thing he does when Enta approaches him with the dishes and a plan to catch up with Kuji is to punch him in the face and tell him that he’s done with him. What comes off worse for Enta is that Kazuki likes the idea of Kuji being around him without even coming to read or understand Kuji. Within that phone call, Enta could easily tell that Kuji was having a conflicted tug-of-war over whether to give up his connections to go with Chikai or to stay behind until he can get Kazuki to remember the impression that he left on him with the miçanga and soccer pose when they were kids. But when Kuji wanted to calm Kazuki down and empathize with Enta, Kazuki became accusatory and ran off to search for the dishes in a mad pursuit to make Kuji’s wish come true. The development that Kuji goes through to mature by trying to level with his new friends in spite of having to say goodbye to them is what pushes Enta to preserve his own ties with the two of them, but Kazuki is far too gone to recognize any thoughts or emotions further back than his reunion with Kuji. It’s what ultimately causes Kazuki to violently push back against Enta. It’s also what forces Enta to acknowledge that, no matter how cold or unsympathetic that Kazuki has been to him, he can’t bring himself to push his unrequited love away or tell him that he could ever hate him. It’s what makes it sting all the more when their fight ends with Kazuki holding a dying Enta in his arms as he tells him that he couldn’t even bring himself to muster comeback when Kazuki told him he was done with him.

The episode did no favors to Reo and Mabu as their manhunt for Chikai caused them to resort to shooting a gangster in the streets and brainwashing their fellow policemen into believing it was Chikai that did it. They especially lost out on their good graces by the end with how they shot Enta and took all of the dishes, mocking him and Kazuki in the process. Again, the fantasy elements of Sarazanmai make it hard to believe that this will be the end for Enta or that Reo and Mabu are destined to be irredeemable antagonists, but the next episode will largely determine whether the series is going to commit to the dark, brutal path that it would choose if Enta is dead.

May 30, 2019 at 5:30 pm
10 comments »
  • May 30, 2019 at 8:43 pmzztop

    Ikuhara talks about loss being a central theme in his works, & connects it to today’s Japanese socio-cultural context.

    (My characters are)base(d)…on the idea of loss…As the character’s loss becomes more apparent, other characters who have also lost something become drawn to them, and they come to understand each other through their mutual feelings of loss.”

    (This mutual loss is a key motif of Japan’s current era…)the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami is the biggest (national tragedy) event that Japanese people experienced in the post-war (and connects us together)…it’s often said that new things are good, or that it’s better to forget the past, or that the future is sparkling. But in the end, I think that there are things that you don’t want to forget, or that you mustn’t forget. There’s no future in just forgetting. I’m sure that the future coexists with loss.”

    (Tohoku taught us).. we can’t take our lives for granted. The material world ended right there. But even so, I want to reaffirm that we’re alive. My desire is to search for a way.”

    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2019-05-27/director-kunihiko-ikuhara-discusses-link-between-sarazanmai-and-tohoku-earthquake/.147159

    • June 2, 2019 at 6:55 pmChoya

      It is fascinating to read this knowing how much of the show has been honing in on loss. Sometimes, it would focus on losing someone who has given you so many bright and rose-tinted memories such as Enta wanting to remain the Golden Duo with Kazuki, Kuji wanting to stay with Chikai hoping that he’ll eventually regain their brotherly bond he had when they were young, and Reo wanting the same Mabu as he remembers him instead of a replica.

      In other instances, it’s people’s lives that are lost or missing such the original Mabu and Kazuki’s biological mother. At the moment, Enta’s possible demise could hit at this facet of the story harder with the main characters refusing to be able to move on without him, yet always looking back and feeling the pain from all of the things they could’ve or would’ve done to change time.

      I can see a part of Kazuki’s development hinging on placing more value on the lives of those around him. He’s had many moments of the series where he’d flippantly mention hating specific people, and yet, those same people want more than anything to find some way to keep him in their lives. It’s a strange, unique journey, but I can see the story becoming more optimistic if Kazuki is able to learn about his past and understand the true feelings of those around him.

  • May 30, 2019 at 10:13 pmKisaChan

    The episode was all good and happy last week but this episode was the exact opposite definitely wasn’t expecting “that” to happen. But I sure hope Enta is still alive ????

  • May 31, 2019 at 1:34 amsosbrigade1991

    I swear each episode feels like its 5 minutes. The pacing is so well done. Easily the most compelling anime I’ve watched in quite some time. Hope Enta is okay !

  • May 31, 2019 at 9:56 amDanny

    I love the drum lines in this ep. For some time now, I’ve appreciated how the public nobodies all sport very traditional hairstyles.

    Enta dying would be odd; the otterpops, er otter cops were gonna keep the gang guy to become a kappa zombie at some point. That implies they can preserve that man somehow. The other cops ran up and claimed the gang guy was dead but how did they know that? He was just laying down, no blood or anything. If the otter cops don’t do the otterpop zombie dance, is the zombie they’re trying to make yet dead?

    I thought that’s what they were trying to do to the younger brother but he was dominated by love so it failed. Is this gonna be another race to save Enta from facing the question of his own motivations?

    Seems more likely in an Ikuhara story that he’ll be alive because if he just dies without that question being fully faced, “love or desire?”, then Enta’s storyline would amount to nothing and that’s not Iku’s style. I mean, Enta’s had the most contentious arcs, he can’t just be allowed to die without having to face it.

    • May 31, 2019 at 10:03 pmDanny

      Thinking ….

      Enta seems to be the linchpin of the story, at least at the moment.

      Currently, Kazuki’s motivation is love. He dearly loves his family. His initial drama was that he felt like an imposter, intruding on the family because he was born to another woman. He felt unworthy and this compounded with his brother’s injury. Now he wasn’t just an intruder, it made him guilty, responsible for his brother’s serious injury. His response was to try to break his connections with them. He was able to regain them after his cosplay scheme was exposed and his family loved him anyway.

      Kuji’s also motivated by love. He looked like a punk but we now know that he had a great love for his parents and his brother. In his case, though, his parents are dead (broken connections) and his brother is using his love to manipulate Kuji. Kuji’s love is unhealthy but it’s not his fault; he’s too young and too isolated to resist his brother right now. Kuji’s love response is to break his connections with everyone BUT his brother (opposite Kazuki, but still the same = love).

      Enta’s the outlier. The odd one. He has a loving family which he doesn’t worry about much. They don’t matter, he can take them for granted.

      His initial drama is that he’s in love with Kazuki which makes it look like he’s motivated by love.
      He has shown a willingness to self-sacrifice for Kazuki, which looks like love.But I wonder if it really is. Perhaps it’s actually desire.

      Backup: back when Kazuki was trying to break his family connections, he loved his bro too much to do it so kept the connection via cosplay.
      But it was noted that Kazuki wasn’t spending time with Haruka… but Enta was. Enta stepped into Kazuki’s place.

      Now we’ve seen that the symbols of Kazuki that Enta valued aren’t original to Kazuki, they were Kuji’s first. Why is it important that Enta’s seen this right before he gets shot by the otter cops? My guess is that Enta either walks the line between love and desire or he is on the desire side unknowingly.

      What does Enta really love and what does he actually desire?

      Perhaps his love for Kazuki wasn’t really love but was an attraction based on Enta’s desire for … something. To be somebody? To prove himself? To be somebody important (one of the Golden duo)?

      We saw this ep that Kazuki was willing to give up his chance at the dish wish for Kuji’s sake, or rather, that keeping Kuji was what he would use the dishes for. Enta stole the dishes and undermined the others. Is that a line which can be drawn between “love or desire’?

      Anyway, if Enta dies, imagine him becoming a kappa zombie! But it seems unlikely because it would be really unfair to lump a young teen boy in with the fetish creeps we’ve seen zombied already. I wonder if the otter cops have some way to push people deeper into their desires.

      (I actually miss the boys’ kappa song-fighting sequence)

      • June 1, 2019 at 2:01 amTheYepMan

        Things can go two ways here.

        The freezer that Keppi and Sara debuted wasn’t just debuted as a gag, it’s obviously a Chekhov’s gun waiting to be fired. And considering what’s been happening, especially in this episode, and considering that we’re close to the finish line, the freezer is either going to be used on a hypothetical kappa zombie Enta…

        or a hypothetical kappa zombie Chikai. It wouldn’t be strange for Ikuhara to break another pattern at this point in the story, but let’s remember that Sara dedicated her segment to Chikai, and what’s the important thing about her segment? The Lucky Item is always the object petit a, the Desired Thing that ends up being spirited away by the kappa zombie. And well, I doubt Chikai is gonna be the object petit a of a kappa zombie, it’s likely that this means Mabu and Leo are going to zombify Chikai.

        I mean, they’re one dish short. (Interesting that we didn’t see what kind of dish Keppi made out of the ball zombie… Did he just keep that one to himself?)

      • June 1, 2019 at 2:11 amTheYepMan

        Oh whoops, and I forgot:

        I really don’t think Enta’s feeling is desire. Well, at least it’s not just desire. And I think that last scene made it abundantly clear: do you risk your life for an object of desire? Do you worry, as much as Enta has worried, about the sanity of a mere object of desire? Enta’s concern about Kazuki disappearing for Karuka could still be taken as trying to keep an object of desire safe, but Enta’s gripe about Kazuki’s connection to Toi being superficial as he doesn’t even remember what makes it truly important is… almost antithetical to his feelings being desire. I mean, if what you want is to win over someone, do you rub how important someone else is to him to his face? No you don’t… unless you truly care about that person and think of them before yourself.

        It’s a shame Enta had to bite the bullet right after having that development.

  • June 1, 2019 at 7:32 amstarss

    I wonder if Ikuhara is a One Piece fan.

    • June 2, 2019 at 6:59 pmChoya

      I saw at least two instances of Enta being drawn to resemble Koby, but I’m not sure if that’s what you meant

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