OP: 「アルコルとポラリス」 (Alcor to Polaris) by (Reina Kondou)
「死神と転校生」 (Shinigami to Tenkōsei)
“The Grim Reaper and the Transfer Student”
Taiyou (Ishigami Shizuka) really is something else, the way he naively takes everything at face value. It’s far from a bad thing-in fact, I think we need more kids like him. His openheartedness and cluelessness are the perfect tools to disarm bullying. Meanness isn’t going to work on him if he doesn’t get that they’re trying to be mean. There’s not much of a comeback a bully can make if the other person takes it as a compliment.
Taiyou is quite the lady-killer, comically without even realizing it. If I had a shot for every time he made Nishimura beet red-I’d be a little more than tipsy, for sure (I counted at least 8 times)-not that I’m in the habit of taking shots. It’s absolutely hilarious and precious how Taiyou earnestly blurts out the suavest things “Let’s hold hands so I can get your power!”, straight faced, meaning every single word of it.
Nishimura (Konomi Kohara) really is something else too-and by something else, I mean not a Grim Reaper. I loved that right from the beginning, they show her doing life-giving activities-feeding a fish, watering flowers- absolutely not Grim Reaperish things.
The underlying dark side to this is, of course, the bullying. These kids are ostracizing her, making her life rather lonely and she accepts it as it is (which, sometimes when you’re being bullied, it can be hard to stand up and say no). It makes it even harder when your loving parent checks in about school over the breakfast table-because of shame, not wanting to inconvenience them, or what have you, it can be hard, and in Nishimura’s case, impossible, to admit to your parents or other adults what’s really going on in the classroom. Taiyou transferring to her class really was the best timing.
I feel for Nishimura, torn between wanting to make a friend vs. being afraid of inconveniencing them. It’s a good thing Taiyou is the friend in question, because he’s not inconvenienced in the least bit. The encouraging, assertive friends are often (though not always) the perfect people to help one learn to gain a social footing and become more comfortable with yourself and others, as well as, serve as a buffer between her and the bullies.
Having one friend is sometimes the seed you need to increase your friend/social base. Sure enough, by the episode’s end, Nishimura has Hino-kun as another ally. He talks to her in front of the nurse’s room, like he would any other person and even tells Taiyou that she’s waiting for him. All because Taiyou befriended Nishimura and then befriended Hino (plus Hino seems like another awkward, clueless kid who isn’t a sheeple following the crowd).
Seeing the shit Nishimura has to deal with on a regular basis, like classmates outright isolating her with that stupid barrier game stung. Taiyou’s clueless curiosity “Can everyone in class use that barrier?” disarms it to some extent, even made me chuckle-disarming, but not erasing the situation.
That scene was precious-Taiyou innocently throwing Kitagawa and gang’s words back at them. They’ve been harassing Nishimura all along, only to have the new kid on the block tell them they’re not cool enough without Grim Reaper status. Ironic justice, I’d say. The ending was the cherry on top of the heartwarming Sundae: water-cooler talk in the nurse’s room.
Overall, this was a sweet premiere-I’m happy with how it turned out. The staff paid attention to the feel and charm of this series-you could sense the two MCs in their own world, see Taiyou shine (quite literally). I loved the transitions-the focus on Nishimu with the plants and fish, the fluttering book, the reflection of Taiyou and Nishimura in each other’s eyes-all gentle, well-thought details.
ED: 「ココロネ」 (Kokorone) by (Kitri)