August 13, 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin etc. Ep7: Damaged Goods.

Posted in Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi tagged , , , , at 10:49 pm by meotwister5

If I had a cute but creepy stalker girl sneaking into my house to make my bed, my meals, reading through my porn and basically rolling on my bead and sniffing my scent off of my pillow, I’d consider myself the luckiest maderfacker on the face of this planet.

Of course this is an anime, so things like this fantasy of mine don’t happen in real life.

More than that of course, the whole date job thing was pretty much just a vehicle to move Ryouko and Ryoushi’s relationship to the next level.  A rather traumatic, if cliched, motion.

A date or a disaster?

It was already obvious from the start that this was all an excuse to get them to go on a date.  Okay we can’t deny that Ringo takes their job seriously, but we all know deep down inside she prioritizes Ryouko and Ryoushi more than the clients.  I’m almost absolutely sure she’s been planning this for a while, and the when the request from the player came up she knew this was her (or should I say Ryouko and Ryoushi’s?) chance.  A double date it became, which is rather ironic because neither of the two pairs ever looked like they were ever on one.

Which is why the double date progressed like my own dates:  awkward silence coupled with abject weirdness.

And then it had to happen:  Amnesia.  That age-old plot device to twist things up a little.  So Ryouko hits her head and her memories regress to her early teenage years.

Every man wishes they had this effect on women.

I don’t think I ever heard of a type of amnesia that causes you to have your memories regress to an earlier stage, and then losing memories in between.  These are usually seen in emotional and mental post-traumatic defense mechanisms rather than physical traumas, but whatever, it seems to serve the episode properly, even if it does stretch the suspension of disbelief somewhat.

As a vehicle amnesia of course has become far too much of a convenient plot device to move things along.  Complete retrograde amnesia is usually used, wiping the mind clean and putting back the character to an empty slate.  It’s actually rather unique for the series to instead have her regress to a specific point in her memories rather than erasing everything, more so because it serves the characterization better this way:  we get to see Ryouko’s personality just before her trauma.

I would never have imagined this scene. Seriously.

The difference between Ryouko as a thirteen year old shy girl and now at sixteen and masculine really drives home just how possibly traumatic her past was to cause such a radical change.  I actually used to think that, even if she was more feminine back then, her personality wouldn’t have been that much of a difference to her personality now.  The dissociation of the last 3 years constitutes a major shift, if not outright restructuring, of the her cognitive framework.  However, the fact that she regresses to this point suggests that she never really did away with her old self.  Rather, she pushed it back and built a new “self” on top of it.  Her old personality is still there, made manifest by regressive amnesia, showing again the masks and facades she wears on a daily basis since that event 3 years ago.

Does Ryoushi understand the difference?  I think it’s been pretty clear that Ryoushi and Ringo are the only two people who can see right through her, so I think he understands.  He’s always known that Ryouko’s not who she pretends to be, and that there’s a deeper layer to her, and this event makes this manifest for him and Ringo to witness.  While I would have wanted for Ryouko to be the one to open up to him, having him learn of things this way would probably give more entertainment value anyway.  That, and as a shocking turn of events for all three of them, puts Ryoushi in a position to decide.  Meeting Shidou in the rain puts him in the hot seat.

Would Ryoushi like damaged goods?

I think the answer is obvious.

First of all, Shidou is a sick fuck.

Whether or not his “revelation” of possibly sexually assaulting Ryouko is true, what we do know is that it is on an equal level of gravity and depravity as whatever the truth is.  It’s enough to make her repress, change her personality, change schools and move to an entirely new city.  It actually makes Shidou’s actual presence in this city all the more suspect; him being in the same city but in different schools might be more than a simple coincidence.  Again we don’t know, and neither does Ryoushi.  All we have is Shidou being vague with the truth in some sadistic desire to both twist the knife already in Ryouko’s heart, and to stab a new one into Ryoushi’s.

And as expected, Ryoushi’s doesn’t give a damn.  As cliche as his reaction may be, he’s already put his foot down and his will set in stone.  While he will wait for Ryouko to finally open up to him, he’s already decided that whatever the truth may be, it won’t change the fact that he loves.  So what if she’s no longer “pure”.  So what if people brand her a lier.  He believes in her and the truth she possesses.  Even if she’s considered “damaged goods”, so is he.  He’ll protect her and make sure that things like this never happen again.

That’s the sign of a great man then and there.

You can't hide anything from this girl.

As slightly ham-fisted as the drama for this episode may be, I still think it effectively delivered the emotional punch as a follow up to episode 6.  Delivery-wise it wasn’t as tight or expertly presented as its predecessor but it still managed it, even if it did rely on an overly used plot device.  Now perhaps we have an inkling as to what would drive Ryouko into such a catatonic state, even if we don’t exactly no what it is.

More importantly of course is, again, the will of Ryoushi.  Now more than ever we know just how much of a man he has become.

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