「走り星 流星」 (Hashiriboshi -Ryuusei-)
It’s some kind of cruel joke that Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia, Golden Kamuy, and Vinland Saga are now all airing on the same night. And it’s a weeknight at that. This season has me stretched to the limit anyway, but at least the other crazy night is Saturday (as usual) – which has me swamped on Sundays. Under normal circumstances I’d never even consider pushing any of these shows back a day, but the practicalities of it rob me of other options. At that point it really becomes a “which one of these is not like the others” situation – which with these three shows is easy to answer, at the very least.
The subtlety of the writing with Insomnia never fails to impress me, and has since I started with the manga. I like character-driven series that trust the audience enough not to spell everything out for them. A lot happened this week, but what stays with me the most (in addition to that weapons-grade foreshadowing) is the way this episode illuminates just how isolated Ganta has been, and the impact that has on him socially. Tao and Isaki understand things innately that Ganta does not – simply because he doesn’t have any friends apart from them (and she’s new).
It’s not like Ganta is unaware of this, but he clearly manages to block it out a good chunk of the time. When he’s reminded – as Tao did when he good-naturedly lectured him about why it can be harder for friends to ask other friends to help out – Ganta obviously chafes a little. Who likes to be reminded of their own shortcomings? It happens, too, when he volunteers to ask Isaki’s friends for help with the meteor viewing party, and her reaction is “can you really manage that?” Obviously Ganta’s relationship with Isaki is the dominant change in his life, but his becoming a part of society is not remotely unimportant.
Shiromaru-san continues to be an important part of that circle. She visits the club (just as Isaki is stealing a fan from Kurashiki-sensei – I would have thought the nurse’s office had aircon) hoping to catch Ganta slacking off, but he’s too much the workaholic. His photo from the camping trip didn’t pan out, and she informs him that it was the breeze (so light the kids didn’t even notice it) on the water that ruined the reflection. Gotta shorten the exposure time to deal with that – and that’s the sort of detail you only learn from experience. Later, Ganta visits her at Betty again and invites her along on the training camp the pair are planning, but Shiromaru flatly refuses on the “who wants to come along on a trip and watch you two flirting nonstop” grounds. Indeed, it’s not like they’re fooling anybody at this point.
Ganta is going through his trip photos at the cafe where Tao works when the latter catches him staring at a a photo of Isaki. I don’t blame Ganta – I mean, how could anyone resist – but Tao lays it on a little heavily when Isaki shows up. It turns out she’s actually pretty flattered, even if hella embarrassed – and the photos are really good too, which doesn’t hurt. “Take some more photos of me” she tells him. “Leave a trace of me behind”. Well, that’s enigmatic – though if one is an anime and manga fan, their thoughts are obviously going to go in a certain direction.
As to recruiting those friends for help, give Ganta his due – he goes all out to make it happen. Nono is first, and Ganta has to agree to pose for her (initially topless) first. That proves too racy for Nono though, and she winds up having both of them pose as ballroom dancers and uses it for the viewing party poste rather than her assignment. Nono also agrees to help out with crowd management. When Ganta approaches Kanikawa-san she immediately shoots him down, so he moves on to Anamizu – who extracts a little softball practice assistance before admitting she was planning to help all along anyway. She also advises Ganta to just “leave Kanikawa alone” – for reasons which quickly become clear once everyone is on-board for the project.
This is all a valuable part of Ganta’s education in life and how to be a socially functioning human being – which in a sense is the overriding theme of Insomniacs After School. What was a very closed and suffocating world is slowly opening up – Isaki is the sun around which everything else in that life orbits, but it’s all part of the same solar system. For Ganta, he may be finding beauty mostly in the night sky (and the landscapes from which he views it), but in other ways his world is becoming much brighter.