February 26, 2011

Wandering Son Ep6: Act I, Scene I, Take II

Posted in Wandering Son tagged , , , at 10:08 pm by meotwister5

In a more adult setting, screwing up your first lines would usually get you booed off the stage, and in earlier times probably a few heaves of rotten tomatoes along with your exit.  We’re not bound to see something like that in a high school play of course, but you’d still expect a bunch of budding teenagers to get the jitters on stage especially if it’s their first time.  The ones brimming with confidence like Saorin have no problems with their orations, but more reserved ones such as Mako may as well pee their pants onstage.

Add the fact that they’re playing opposite genders… well…

He'll man it up when the time comes. Hopefully.

It’s school festival time, and if you’ve been watching Japanese animation as long as I have, you’ll know what to expect out of events like this.  Not exactly sure how realistically accurate it is, but within an anime context it’s pretty much the same.  The class is taking their play seriously, despite the fact that Mako is getting some pretty serious stage jitters with his lead role and his lines.  Saorin’s impressing everyone by her skill and Mako’s feeling kind of down by comparison.  Saorin for her part knows that the two of them need to do their best as the lead actors, and in her own way tries to Mako to calm down and gather his courage.  Nitorin suggests that they go to the haunted house, and while the place sort of sucks, they have a blast at it anyway.

As for the play itself… well the crowd is pretty forgiving, and in the end Mako despite nearly screwing up the start manages to perform excellently.  In the end he gets a small bouquet from Saorin which, despite being a pass on gift, shows that indeed she does care and respect him.

Yeah you better try harder.

The haunted house was supposed to be where Mako and Nitorin were to try and get courage for their performance later, but once inside turned out to be a pretty big disappointment.  Didn’t matter in the end with their friends also inside by coincidence, and realizing this, Mako just goes off the wall and screams out loud while laughing.  Everyone follows suit, and while it wasn’t even scary at all, they had a blast doing it.  In the end for me that’s all that matters really.  To watch this group of friends just let loose after the tension of their play had begun to build up was a joy to watch, a friendly reminder of a more innocent time when children are children, and didn’t have to worry all the time about school or exams or (for some people) gender identity.  At least for that moment they could just forget about their problems and their hassles and just have fun without the baggage.  I haven’t had something put such a big smile on my face since Tamayura.  Scenes of plain innocent happiness without a hidden agenda are a rarity these days in shows riddles with angst.

She was that girl Yuki. Really.

While you could consider the play itself to be the centerpiece of the episode, it was the preparations to the play itself that really built everything up, including the characters.  We get to see just how different each of the characters go about in their routines for the play, and how each young man and women deals with the stress and the anxiety of playing the role of the opposite sex.  Saorin would naturally be pretty straight and confident since she did write the play, that and she has a very straightforward conviction with what she wants to do and what she wants to achieve.  Others like Sarashina are probably too insane to have stage fright register in her mind.  Despite her usual moody and angry disposition, she’s a very caring and earnest person who does try to help those around her, even if her methods are bit difficult to grasp.  Her giving of the bouquet of flowers to Mako at the end is probably the first real physically kind act she had done for anyone outside of Nitorin.  You could argue that she did it because she didn’t want the flowers she got from that blockhead acquaintance of hers, but for me it really looked like a genuine act from a often misunderstood and outspoken person.

A star is born.

Mako-chan is, of course, the star of the episode and the star of the play.  Majority of the time we see him playing second fiddle to the rest of the cast and being Nitorin’s wingman (or wing-girl, depending on how you see him).  This time however he gets thrust into the spotlight, and we get to see how someone who shares a lot of things in common with Nitorin could also be so different.  Unlike Nitorin, who is comfortable looking like a girl in front of the general public, Mako has no confidence to do something like that.  We’ve seen previously how much he compliments Nitorin for looking mighty fine in drag, and at the same time now how he tells himself he can never be Juliet.  It’s safe to say that while he too has feelings of wanting to be a girl, he has no confidence in actually carrying it out, and likely believes that his own body isn’t exactly suited to look like a girl’s.  He compliments Nitorin’s pretty boy good looks that could easily pass off as a girl.

Now thrust into the stage playing the part of the story’s beautiful leading female, his little confidence almost breaks apart if not for the support of his friends who cheer him on to do his best.  A cliched approach to be sure, but hey what are friends for?  They were there to push him on to have confidence to play the part he had, in his own dreams, wanted to play: the part of the beautiful girl.  If he couldn’t do it now, if he couldn’t muster the confidence to do now that which he’s always wanted to do, then he may not be able to do it at all when the real time comes for him to choose what he wants to become.  With that he apologizes to the crew and the audience, takes a deep breath, and plays his own personal Juliet.

See! She can be nice too!

If memory serves me correct, the preview for the next episode indicates some pretty heavy stuff from a character point of view.  To be expected of course, since this show is in the end, all about growing up.


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