「逆光、オススメです」 ( Gyakkou, Osusume Desu )
“Backlighting Is the Best”
I’m always on pretty thin ice with this show, simply because it has relatively little overlap with my spheres of interest. The practical impact of that is there’s not much margin for error – if something doesn’t click, it loses me pretty quickly. I can appreciate on an abstract level that it’s really well done. But that’s not the same as genuinely enjoying it, which has been more intermittent. And this episode was pretty much that in microcosm.
It was a tale of two halves, more or less. I found the first section to be pretty boring honestly, and the Inui siblings don’t really work for me. They’re both pretty tropey, and Yomiya Hina as Shinjuu is doing that breathy, cutesy voice that grates on me like fingernails on a blackboard. Cameras are something I have only a mild interest in, and cosplay not at all. I have major respect for cosplayers – their dedication, their work ethic, their skill. But the hobby itself does nothing for me whatsoever. Even as an anime fan I can’t grasp why people would be so dedicated, hard-working, and skilled about this particular hobby. Their reasons are totally valid, I’m certain – they just don’t make sense to me.
The bit with Sajuna and Wakana on the stairwell was really the only part of the chapter that sparked my interest. And not so much for Sajuna and her vamping, but because it was a rare moment where Goujou’s passion was put on equal footing with the girls’. In fact I expected him to express some guilt over spending all his time facilitating Sajuna and Marin’s passion while ignoring his own chosen vocation. Because let’s be honest, he is. It’s undoubtedly healthy for him to have a social life and not be staring at bisque dolls all day and night – my issue is that he’s basically an appendage to someone else’s interests at the expense of his own.
This is the deal with the Devil Sono Bisque Doll is always flirting with. Marin is at risk of existing mainly to fulfill the MC’s (and viewer/reader’s) fantasies, the proverbial MPDG. And Goujou is always at risk of being the generic MC whose individuality is irrelevant, and whose existence mainly serves to give the pixie someone to influence. Yet the B-part shows that this doesn’t have to be the case – there’s serious potential in both these characters, should the series choose to embrace it. The beach trip was quite a winning sequence, even if the pandering element was a little over the top at times.
The most interesting dynamic in Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru for me continues to be the introvert-extrovert angle. Tossing everything else aside, that’s the story that resonates with me. Marin and Wakana are so totally opposite in personality that they’re interesting as a pairing. She’s a complete loose cannon, (almost) always saying what she thinks, diving into every situation with ridiculous enthusiasm. He holds back, worries about every possible consequence, unconsciously tries to disappear into the background even as she’s unconsciously trying to make sure every pair of eyes is on her.
The metaphor on the beach at Enoshima wasn’t subtle, but the point was made. Extroverts dive in and damn the consequences, introverts hover on the sand and watch plaintively. Where this gets interesting (and where such relationships can overcome the odds and succeed in real life) is that they’re slowly changing each other. Marin is forcing Wakana to dip his toes into the water literally and figuratively, to venture into the larger world. And her love for him is forcing her to do something she seemingly never does – hold back what she really thinks, and worry about whether he feels the same way. Not only is that interesting storytelling, but it’s the key to escaping the MPDG trap – when the MC starts to impact the pixie and that becomes part of the story, she’s no longer bound by the limitations of that trope.