May 17th, 2012
I enjoyed this episode exactly as much as I expected to.
Because you know how much I love flashback episodes. Especially in shows that are already dragging like nobody’s business. Ranko did not begin this episode well either, going so far as to mentally introduce herself as well as listing out the names of her entire family. Thanks. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to catch that the woman who looks like a much older version of her that you call "mom" was your mother without that. And then it was right into the ginormous flashback that devoured almost all of the episode. Because let’s just retcon in that she used to be totally different and Chihiro changed her. Why not? That’s good storytelling, right? Making up character traits after the fact totally contradictory to everything you’ve shown and then having them grow out of them ten minutes later through sheer protagonist power and childhood love at first sight. Some day, I’ll figure out why the flashback is the first tool Japanese writers always seem to break out. You’ve already intimated that they’re close and spent a lot of time together. What part of this episode couldn’t have been done in the present for an immediate effect instead of divorcing its events from almost the entirety of the cast? Urgh.
And speaking of the present, we also have the screaming overdramatic male friends. You know, characters that are important to the show. Fantastic. It really is doing absolutely everything in its power to stretch itself out, isn’t it? And it’s on to the second half and more flashbacks. And what was all this leading up to? Ranka throwing a temper tantrum about Rea kissing him and screaming that she’s not going to lose. At least Chihiro had the good sense to recoil from the crazy woman who just grabbed him, slammed him against a wall, pinned him down, and then tried to kiss him instead of standing there in stunned confusion. That may be the most survival instinct I’ve seen in a spineless generic male of his ilk in a long while.
Uh huh, Ranko. You’re a real deep character.