「少年と海」 (Shounen to umi)
“The Boy and the Sea”
As if to make up for lost time, Sonny Boy tried to cram all the sentiment it left out of its first 10 episodes into this one. So did it work? Well, I would say mostly yes. I’ve been asking for this pretty much so it’d be a shame if it didn’t, but it was a pretty huge tonal shift, and one feels those when they happen. I do feel like Natsume-sensei seemed to lower his guard here at last, just a little, and that invited the audience closer in a way we haven’t been before. In terms of story, though, if we’re honest I think Sonny Boy is kind of a mess.
I always have questions with this series, but I have a lot of them this week.
- 2000 years have passed by for Rajdhani by the time he meets Nagara and Mizuho. I’m assuming less time passed for them but that was not expressly stated.
- Was that Hoshi who was the one who “invented death”, via the electric chair? And if so why didn’t Raj refer to him by name?
- Why didn’t Yamabiko say anything this week? That was very odd.
- That’s all it took to go back – a Saturn V?
As to what drew Rajdhani back, that was the message Nagara and Mizuho sent out asking everyone to attend a memorial for Nozomi. He was the only one that showed up, in fact, in full Robinson Crusoe mode. The service played out to an insert song whose jaunty steel drum beat contrasted sharply with the tone of what was happening on-screen. Raj eventually asks the right question – how does Nagara know Nozomi is actually dead? But apparently Sakura has the ability to determine the “status” of anything in this universe.
The meat of the episode was Rajdhani’s monologue about the strange journeys he’d been taking for the last two millennia, not least in his own mind. And I have to say, this was some pretty far-out shit, man. Is there any sort of unifying philosophy or scientific reasoning behind Natsume’s musings in this series? Honestly it feels as if he’s just spitballing – free-associating a lot of different ideas and wild theories about existence in a setting where no rules exist to preclude the possibility they might be correct. That’s fascinating in an abstract way, but I would argue less so than a similar premise with a clearly developed intellectual foundation behind it.
I can only surmise that Sonny Boy will conclude with Nagara and Mizuho returning to “their” world – or some semi-reasonable facsimile of it. I don’t expect all the loose plot ends to be tied up (a bunch seem to have been abandoned altogether), but if I could choose, I’d like the focus to be the answer to the question this episode effectively asked – why go back? I want to know what drove those two to make this decision, after however long it’s been for them. Raj understands that he’s slowly losing his grip on reality in his world, but he chooses to stay and explore that process – Mizuho is leaving behind her beloved cats, and both she and Nagara are embracing an uncertain future and death. I can’t say I’d choose differently in their shoes, but I’d like to understand why, for them, it was worth it.