「猫の⽬星 さそり座の二番星」 (Neko no Meboshi -Sasoriza no Nibanboshi-)
“Mu Scorpii -The Cat’s Eyes-“
This is definitely the season of irresistible anime couples, and Ganta and Isaki rank right up there. I wouldn’t necessarily call Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia a romcom, because it’s not as overtly humorous as something like BokuYaba or Jijou Tenkousei. But it does have a good deal of ironic humor to it, some of that coming from the lead pair’s ability to see the comic absurdity in the world despite drawing in many ways a relatively bum deal. Neither of them fits the bill of the traditional anime romcom protagonist, especially Isaki – she’s a bit short and stocky rather than leggy and gorgeous or tiny and pixieish. And altogether a goof, as is Ganta, which makes the pair of them that much more lovable.
There’s an element of caterpillars turning into butterflies here, not an uncommon theme in youth romance manga. Both Isaki and Ganta have a bit of a repressed self thing happening, for some reasons which have been shown and some which have not. Through finding each other their true selves are liberated to emerge, with each other if nowhere else. It’s more obvious in his case, since most of the world sees him as a loner and a curmudgeon, and his true impish personality is only coaxed out by being with her. But it’s a relationship she finds liberating too, partly (though not only) because it’s liberating to have someone to share your secrets with.
That said, Ganta is insistent that Isaki not share the news of their relationship with her friends. Partly this is for practical reasons, as their hideaway is a secret, but I’ve always believed he was trying to protect her from the stigma of being friends with someone at the bottom of the social ladder. Their text conversation the “morning after” is quite hilarious – she’s hardly a master of stealth. The main topic of conversation is to make their nest more comfy, as sleeping on (or in) boxes on the floor is hardly an ideal scenario.
The opportunity to do just that lies in the form of a couple of loungers Ganta sees in a school hallway, scheduled to be picked up as trash. Just getting one of them up all there stairs is a nightmare – never mind two, never mind covertly. But they do manage that much, which means some sort of rotational system (they’re certainly not at the sharing point yet). Soon enough the chair is claimed by Two-chan, which is what Isaki has named the lettuce-stealing black and white cat who’s a fixture on campus. That means a demotion for Ganta, who’s dropped down to San-san in the Nightly Fun Society.
Though you’d never get Ganta to admit anything nice about himself at this point in the story, he does have a knack for mechanical things, and takes it upon himself to fix the one-way door of the observatory. Which is what he’s in the process of doing when Kurashiki-sensei (Noto Mamiko) turns up, on the trail of a lettuce thief. He tries to shoulder all the blame for the rather bizarre scene himself, but Isaki shows up shortly thereafter and puts the lie to that. The first question Kurashiki-sensei asks is probably the obvious one under the circumstances, though she seems to accept the kids’ vehement denials at face value. That still leaves her in a very uncomfortable position, however.
This is one of those situations where it’s hard to separate the layers of motivation for these two. They have their practical imperative, and actually having a place where you can sleep when you’re an insomniac is not to be underestimated. But whatever other feelings may be brewing between Ganta and Isaki at this early stage, they’re confidantes, co-conspirators. They share a secret about themselves no one who hasn’t been in their shoes could ever understand, and having found the observatory they also share a secret hideout (which by no means are they too old to get a thrill out of, if indeed one ever is). Kurashiki-sensei’s arrival is a disaster.
Fortunately Kurashiki is two very important things – the nurse, and an understanding person. For Ganta at least she knows how badly he suffers, and what she does and doesn’t know about Isaki is unclear. It’s Ganta who floats the idea of reviving the astronomy club as a way to keep their refuge accessible, but she’s the one who goes to bat for them. There will be expectations of course – that telescope, it turns out, is in working order and freakishly valuable, and the school has a “super science” designation to justify. So if this hadn’t happened the way it did, it’s likely their secret would have come out under far less amicable circumstances.
“I just felt like saying it” is a phrase no manga reader will take at face value, and Isaki’s comment about the moon during she and Ganta’s first night observation is a discordant note in what’s otherwise a pretty upbeat composition. But for now, the two of them have the night to themselves – and Two-chan – again. The difference being that they have the sky for company now. Neither one of them know much about it, but then they don’t know much about each other yet either, so this is all a learning experience in many ways.