January 23, 2011

Wandering Son Ep2: Barkada Days

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:09 am by meotwister5

Yes I understand that the title isn’t a an English word.  Fellow Filipinos will know what it is because, well, nearly everyone has one.  For those who don’t speak the language, a barkada is essentially your close group of friends that you always hang out with, that you always do things together with and, even in the toughest of times, the ones who will have your back.

And even when you fight or argue, you will always feel the need to at least make up because, in the end, you’re friends.

Slap her dammit!

Fights and arguments break out in a class all the time.  With largely different personalities making up the class, it’s not a surprise that moody and depressive Saorin will have issues with her more loud and intrusive classmates.  In any case this is already exacerbated by the fact that Saorin is already at odds with a lot of her classmates and former friends, to the point where she makes more enemies inadvertently with her moody personality. The episode now reveals that the friction between her and Yoshino revolves around their feelings for Nitorin and how Saorin does have that habit of playing the victim.  The conflict between them hasn’t just split them apart, but splitting all of them apart, with each member forced to choose sides.

This is clearly something Sasa simply cannot agree to.


I think it’s important to note that, even by the end, Yoshino and Saorin haven’t actually completely made up yet.  They aren’t outright hostile to each other anymore, but you can still see the somewhat awkward ceasefire between them.  It’s still rather hard to see them back as friends now, but you can be at least sure that they are civil, and it’s not exactly because they WANT to be friends again.  For the mean time, it comes from more to the fact that both have realized that their hostile relationship is simply tearing their friends apart.  Sasa, who tends to be the strongest thread that binds everyone together, is the resilient and tough one in the group, so when she snaps and has enough of it you know something is wrong.

It took a while but both Saorin and Yoshino now know that they can’t be like this anymore because the problem has gone beyond just the two of them.  Their feelings for each other is also affecting the friendships between their mutual friends, and in their concern for Sasa, both have realized that others are suffering now because of them.  For everyone’s sake, even if they can’t outright patch things up, they need to be civil.  To keep everyone together, they at least need to be able to stand with each other without sparks flying.

Still awkward.

One could think that they’re just pretending to be friends again, but I think everyone else knows that this isn’t the case, that in reality their just at first making an effort not to wring each others necks.  What I really like about this section is how it really tries to portray the complexities of pubertal friendships, at an age where tempers and emotions easily flair.  It’s much too easy to have a near deus ex machina where two people suddenly make up and become friends again, but it takes something else to present the attempt to reconnect the threads that used to exist, a new thread that could again be easily broken.  At an age of hormones and all that, reality has shown me that there is no easy way to mend friendships, no easy way to get back with people, because there are times where friendships lost are perhaps the ones most difficult to make again.

Sure enough both of them probably still can’t stand each other.  In the end though, they aren’t doing it for themselves, but for their friends.  Maybe at some point they will mend their friendship, but it won’t happen with a snap of a finger or a magic wish.  It’s going to take some time and effort from both of the, as real friendships are.  As in the real life the story tries to represent, friendships don’t pop out of thin air; they are things one must work for.

On this day, a friendship ended.

Outside of Shuuichi and Yoshino, Chiba Saori is perhaps one of the more complex supporting characters I’ve seen in a while, with a degree that sometimes even eclipses a leading role.  Truth be told she has been a moody and snap-ish character since she first came on screen, and we only get to see bits and pieces of her personality and why she gets so angry and confrontational much of the time.  What I find clear for me is that she doesn’t handle strong emotions well, to the point that she can get explosive or suddenly very depressive at the drop of a hat, and sometimes in succession.  When she gets angry she shows it, then suddenly she withdraws and secludes herself from others.  In a way she does understand how turbulent and uncontrolled she can be and is partly ashamed for it, such that she prefers to separate herself from people when she becomes this way.  We can at least tell that much of it comes from her own feelings of jealousy mixed in with regret.  Jealousy that Nitorin likes someone other than her, and regret that she lets her emotions take control and lash out at people.  A perpetual tug-of-war that makes for a very dynamic, if depressive, character.

This state of course puts a lot of pressure on Sasa who has put it upon herself to be the group’s conflict arbiter.  You’ve got to give props to Sasa for her courage and resilience, as her devotion to her friends and friendship is practically THE only thing keeping them together when the rifts come.  She is, for all intents and purposes, the last line of defense, and when she starts to break that’s when everyone realizes that they’ve all gone too far.  As the happiest member of the group, when she gets angry then you know you have a problem.  She may be small in body and her head may hurt when she thinks, but she’s got he biggest heart.

This is how things should be.

In the end of the episode, as the group gets back together eating ice cream, we know that things aren’t as cool as the way they were in the past, but we also know that they’re trying for each others sake.  As I said before, that’s what friends do.  You try your best for everyone’s sake.  Even if you can’t fix things now, you still try to at least make the first step, because you realize that friendship, true friendship, is something that’s too precious to just let go of.



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