August 5, 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin etc. Ep6: When Trust is Gained

Posted in Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi tagged , , , , at 11:56 pm by meotwister5

Trust is really one of those funny things.  You can spend an entire lifetime trying to gain this from a person, yet they can take it away in a microsecond.  Some people give their trust freely to others while others rarely trust anyone, if at all.  It takes a lot of thought, planning and understanding to try earn it yet a single slip of the tongue and it is gone forever.  More often than not, trust is not so easily given.

Of course everyone has the right to decide who to trust and when.  Each person has their own criteria for trustworthiness.  It is a very subjective thing, but given all the requirements people apply before they give, the truth is that there is really no sure fire way to know if the person in front of you is worthy of it.  With that, perhaps, a Nobel Prize winning author said it best:

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway

When the world comes crashing down.

As the gravity of the events of the previous episode finally dawns on Ryoushi, it is high time for the main cast to finally take back the spotlight.  He knows there is something wrong with Ryouko and he’s felt it ever since he fell for her, but now with the knowledge of just how fragile her state of mind is, he makes the decision to find out just what had happened to her before that makes even the toughest of her facades comes crashing down.  He asks Ringo for help on this matter and, as I had expected, she refuses to talk about the more personal aspects of Ryouko’s life.

Which is, honestly, the truth.  Ringo knows she doesn’t have the right to divulge to others the story Ryouko had entrusted to her.  As we see in the flashbacks, Ryouko and Ringo’s own relationship was perhaps as rocky as that of Ryoushi’s when it began.  Even back then Ryouko herself was as stingy with her trust as she is now, but Ringo knew, and she worked her way to earn said trust.  Ringo said that they were both the same yet different, an aspect that the series may explore in the future, and from then on tried to build the rapport and friendship both would enjoy now.

The times when we are most vulnerable.

Two things really stand out in this episode.

First and foremost, the direction.  The episode flowed very well and was delivered smooth and straight.  Unlike in previous episodes there wasn’t a wasted scene in place, no real distracting events that pulled you away from the backstory that was unfolding.  I could also say that the music was very fitting especially towards the end.  It seems they really planned this episode out, if not in advance.  With the care given to the way this episode was handled, the creators likely believed this to be a very important and crucial episode, considering as well that it is more or less at the midpoint of the series’ run, and it shows.

Second is the emotional investment.  At some point I was sort of expecting this to become a angsty sapfest in order to perhaps magnify the traumatic and emotionally isolating experience that the characters had faced.  Instead it was delivered with just the right amount of drama.  It wasn’t overbearing in angst yet managed to effectively convey the real sense of loneliness that Ryouko and Ringo had.  Ringo had one of having an always happy face around while Ringo simply didn’t trust anyone to get close, and yet behind the curtains, are two girls who really feel alone in the big city.

Friends Forever! :heart:

Even Ryoushi had his moment of glory.  He is clearly troubled, but more than simply about the past trauma that Ryouko had to endure, but more so of not being able to understand the pain that she has to go through.  At the riverbank he ruminates that indeed her trust issues must be rooted to her past experiences, and for him to learn just what had happened, he’s going to have to earn the trust she now hardly ever gives to anyone ever.  It’s almost like a vicious cycle:  To understand her trust issues he needs to learn the truth, but to learn the truth he must gain her trust.

If there is something that tells me just how much a boy has matured into a man, it is this.  It isn’t the amount of asses you’ve kicked or the number of noses you’ve given fist-induced rhinoplasty, but the amount of conviction you have in your choices.  He remembers just how much of a coward he used to be, and how he almost pissed his pants when he first helped her, but now he knows it was all worth it.  He now believes more than ever that he must become a man worthy of her trust.

I would say, with episode 6, he’s on the right track.

We're all a little lonely inside.

One of the things I really really hate about almost every show that uses the typical Tsundere character personality is that they tend to fail in qualifying as to why the character became as they are in the first place.  I’ve always believed that the defensive hating and cautious opening personality had been a result of defensive mechanism as a result of emotional and mental trauma and this is no different, which is why this episode stands out compared to more mediocre shows that fail at characterization. Of course this episode doesn’t hold a candle to the really great ones out there, but compared to the rest of its breed its doing a commendable and comparatively better job.

Also heartwarming.  Who doesn’t love heartwarming?  The gym owner said it best:

“Strength gained in a day snaps like a twig.”

He will fight for you.

Easily the best episode of the series so far.

The amount of effort and emotional involvement placed in this episode is almost shocking given the nature of the first 5 episodes.  I was expecting perhaps some drama to come our way with the mysteries surrounding the end of the previous episode, but episode 6 went far and beyond what I had expected of the series.  It is in respects somewhat similar to Toradora’s episode 19 in finally getting the emotional train in full steam.  Now we have perspective.

Again, as to what really happened to Ryouko that day we still don’t know.  I think it’s a good move by the creators not to divulge it now but rather let us know the same time Ryoushi does.

Whatever it is at least, I think it truly warrants a bit of empathy for her.

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