「一陽来復」 (Ichiyō Raifuku)
“Long-Awaited Warmth of Spring”
It’s really weird looking at this series because at this point I’m sort of getting the impression that it itself might not exactly know what it wants to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite enjoying the story, and getting to talk about it on the internet is a plus. But from a writer and directorial standpoint, I can’t help but feel it has too many things going for it and none of them are sticking the landing.
Sometimes it’s the source material to blame, and sometimes it’s the adaptation. And sometimes, like I believe to be the case here, it’s the protagonist. This isn’t a story about Itsuka and how she has to deal with being left by her mother and father to the next adjacent family they could find, she’s pretty much dealing fine with that, in fact, I believe it to be a missed opportunity to dive deeper into her feelings and her as a character. Her situation is glazed over in order for drama to build between characters outside the scope of the story. Instead, she’s just thrown to the wall and only presents emotional barriers for Nagomu to overcome. All I’m saying, and this might be controversial for some, is that Itsuka could do with a little bit more accepting of Nagomu’s feelings as they are genuine, and he really does want to be that father figure Itsuka oh so idolizes. And he’s doing a great job at it, mind you. It’s nine-episode and the feel-good vibes permeate through the show, the OP is so chill and vibes really well with the show, it really sets the mood for a heartfelt story, a heartwarming one at that. What I mean is – the show itself knows that at one point in the story, it will pull at our collective heartstrings one way or another, how it gets there, well that’s the tricky part.
Itsuka has to deal with adult feelings, especially feelings being imparted on her by other people, she has to walk that delicate line between being herself and wanting to please others, yet because she hasn’t exactly been together with her mom for more than a dinner, things are superficial and she’s unlikely to find a deeper meaning to a conversation over coffee. People are being overly nice to her in order to win her good side, and she knows it. It’s something to do with guilt. So I get why she’s the way she is, most of the time her stone-cold face is a normal reaction. And a valid one at that.
On the other hand, Nagomu’s behavior has been nothing but exemplary. His chill and stride personality gives weight to some scenes and the connection forming between him and Itsuka feels real and heartwarming because everything he does is for her, one way or another, Nagomu might not verbally put it out there, might not make it clearly specific, but his intentions are good, he just rather ride the waves, than fight against them, he rather be chill and take everything as it comes and deal with it accordingly by following his heart rather than get all flustered and take 10 million seconds to decide what to do next. Which I do get just so happens to be against the norm in our beloved Japanese setting.
That being said, why is Itsuka giving him such a hard time?
Nagomu desperately wants to fill that parental void Itsuka feels, however, one thing he fails to understand is the idealization Itsuka deems for his long-lost guitar wilding father. There’s no other way to put it, Itsuka has been looking for her dad for so long, that she’s made a persona for him, it’s a basic case of savior complex. She’s placed him on a pedestal that no matter how much Nagomu tries to reach, he will never do so, not only because of his goofy personality but because of the values and morals Itsuka has grown up in. The morals of Ryoukshou.
She knows her situation, because Nagomu’s parent’s never lied to her, and is humble about it, works hard to repay the food she gets to eat and leads a happy school life with friends, and get’s to work part-time at the shop. In a sense, Itsuka has placed the morals she sees in Nagomu’s parents and mirrors them in the persona that she has made up for her dad. She never really knew him, and thus has made up her mind about how he really is, because otherwise, she would have to deal with reality. Which she doesn’t know how to yet and is figuring that out, she’s being let be a kid but only because those around her acknowledge her situation.
She’s mirroring what she sees at the shop and unconsciously idolizing the dad she never had. Piecing what little things she remembers from her past, and applying them to the now. Feeling great things for her dad, and not so much for her mom, even if she’s actively trying to move past them. So of course Nagomu, being the lazy son, the one who wishes to ride the wave rather than push back, the one who seemingly is way too in touch with his emotions and can’t separate them from his professionalism, that Nagomu who is desperately trying to reach for the stars and bring Itsuka with him, but somehow fails along the way because his character is basically that. Of course, he’s going to fall flat in her eyes, and Itsuka is unwilling to give him a break.
On the other hand, people around her might also be projecting whatever it is they want unto her without even realizing it!
I really do wonder if the anime is going to pull at our heartstrings by shattering Itsuka’s reality, will it all come down to her choosing Nagomu over her real dad?
So what brought this along? Believe me or not, the birthday question on this episode. It’s such a simple thing, but why did Itsuka have to hide it? Why did Nagomu have to scratch deeper for her to give way and say her birthday? It’s such a simple thing, yet Itsuka still looks at him with disgust when Nagomu asks such a simple and innocent question. That’s kind of what triggered me.
Furthermore, Nagomu gets once again the short end of the stick because his birthday is coming up in a couple of days and instead of boasting about it, he keeps quiet. In the process making Itsuka feel guilty for the way, she treated him. He was probably only asking because he remembered his birthday was coming up and wanted to know hers. That’s it, there’s no other reason. Yet Itsuka chooses to see malice, whether superficial or more deeply rooted matters not.
If anything I’m finding Itsuka to be a little selfish because Nagomu is really trying here, yet she demands to see him as nothing but a big dumb big brother. Who get’s looked down upon by society, therefore she fails to give them a proper chance at connecting with her. Vulnerability goes both ways, Itsuka needs to start doing her part soon, even though she already gets unconditional familiar love from him. If she’s taking anything for granted, it’s Nagomu’s effort.
I’m not saying she needs to start calling him dad or anything, just that there are nuances that she fails to grasp and responds in a way that hurts Nagomu, and because he’s the punching bag of the series, he’s supposed to sit there and take it, then as if nothing happened, carry on with a smile. He could have easily given up already, he could have easily shouted at her and scared her even more, and he could have lost his temper and told her off. Yet he chooses not to, out of kindness, respect, and empathy.
Full-length images: 36.
> It’s really weird looking at this series because at
> this point I’m sort of getting the impression that it
> itself might not exactly know what it wants to be.
There really isn’t any centralized purpose. Every character has been influenced by Nagomu, therefore the story or each episode is an amalgamation of different scenarios and the character’s purpose.
What I find surprising is how Nagomu came back home to support the family business and we as an audience don’t really get to see that much. The idea that the story is about how Nagomu is helping his family’s confectionery is secondary. Instead we get Itsuka with abandonment issues, Kanako looking to reconnect with Nagomu, Mitsuru realizing Nagomu understands her and wants to connect with him.
Nagomu as a character is the center of every character’s purpose. Between between Mitsuru And Kanako’s feelings, Itsuka and her abandonment issues, then Nagomu’s parents considering him a lost cause.there real
I think if Nagomu’s parents think he is a lost cause, they wouldn’t allow him to work in the shop. Of course, have the parents really anointed Itsuka as the real successor or are they just humoring her since she is 10(?) years old?
If they concentrated on family business, the show becomes a work place comedy-drama. The author’s job would be much more difficult to fit other characters (ie. Kanoko) into the story. Unless, they hire her into the business, which would look very strange and awkward as ex-lovers.