Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bokura ga Ita 04

Before this show started, for some reason people were comparing it to Honey & Clover. I guess because of the art style, and because it is about relationships in school. I dismissed the comparison before, but now I’m beginning to see it. Nothing can compare with the subtle strength of H&C, but Bokura has its own version of H&C's delicate play of feeling. And the art style is similarly washy (and really lovely).

Nana-chan (as opposed to Yano’s dead girlfriend Nana-san) is weirded out by the fact that Yano seems cool to her. After they went to eat steamed buns at the end of ep3, it looked as if they were going start going out together. But even Yano’s friend Takeuchi sees that he is being cool to her, for some reason.

I can always find him the person I love
don't defend me about to cry

Everybody is working hard to prepare for the festival, where the class will put on a play. A boy comes looking for Yano, and Nana-chan goes off to help look for him, saying to herself that she somehow always seems to know how to find him. When she calls to him, he turns to look at her and she says to herself: "The person I love."

After the OP, she is walking back to class with him and says to herself that he’s seemed distant since they went out to eat together. There's a flashback to the time when he asked what happiness is, and she answered that it was things that make you feel all warm and happy, like steamed buns or a hot drink on a cold day, or a certain book or CD or person.

Nana-chan and her two friends are sitting sewing for the festival. Mizu-chin asks about the ring Nana-chan is wearing, and is disappointed that she bought it herself. "That sounds sad," says Mizu-chin. "Really?" replies Nana-chan innocently.

Someone knocks a water bucket over on a big poster some girls have just finished painting. Yano offers to help repaint it. Yamamoto Yuri, his dead girlfriend's little sister, hands him a brush but says he's a slacker who is just showing off. Nana-chan defends him, saying that he has a hard job as lead in the play but he has already memorized his lines. Yuri says she's soft with him. The other girls are angry with Yuri, but Nana-chan wonders if she is really is too easy on him. Mizu-chin says maybe Yuri loves Yano. Yuri’s always putting Yano down and yet Yano never responds. Maybe there's some unspoken reason.

Nana-chan apologizes later to Yano for what Yuri said, but Yano says she shouldn't defend him. She thinks she's been interfering and he doesn't like it. Eventually, tears spring to her eyes and she rushes away. Takeuchi, who is with Yano, says he's being too hard on her, and Yano says then Takleuchi should be kind to her. Takeuchi says he's weird, then Yano says, too low for Takeuchi to hear, that when she's around, his feelings become unstable.

huh? oh, that's my cue -- trip
Yano fixes Nana-chan's ring he looks so cute

At the rehearsal for the play, it turns out that Yano has not memorized his lines and reads them woodenly, without putting any effort into it. Her friends say that Nana-chan should say something as class rep, but Nana is afraid to say too much again. Nana remembers Yano telling her not to defend him, then remembers him being kind to her. As she’s sitting drinking a soft drink, he and Takeuchi go by, and she thinks: "I just don’t understand him." The next day at rehearsal, Yano has all his lines and acts wonderfully. Then Nana-chan remembers she hasn't memorized her own three lines and madly starts trying to.

The next day at the performance, the seats are filled to see Yano. Yano says he has forgotten his lines, sending everyone into a frenzy. Nana-chan stops them from fussing, and says Yano can do it. As he goes on stage, she worries she's said too much again. She dares to say "go for it" to him, and he turns and smiles at her. On stage, Yano changes all the lines, but the audience loves it. Nana-chan wonders which is the real Yano: the one who told her not to speak for him, or the one who leaned on her shoulder and said her concern made him happy. She misses her cue and Yano has to tell her to come on stage. She trips as she does, and the audience loves that, too. At the curtain call, she thinks that all those different aspects of Yano are the real him.

At the evening parade, Mizu-chin says what a success it was. But as they are walking along, the glass stone in Nana-chan’s ring is knocked out and lost. Unknown to Nana, Yano finds it. He bops her on the head with his cardboard megaphone and says what a weird ring she has. She says "die, fool" (which is like "beat it, you idiot"). He says she shouldn’t talk about death so lightly and pretends to be about to tell everyone how insensitive she was. So she changes and says she'll kill him. She has to stop him shouting that out, too. Then he says death must be easy and talks about starting by breaking someone’s fingers, then taking their fingernails.... Then he is gone. She says to herself he is always just where you think you can reach him, but you can’t.

like a wedding I love you

At the big fire at the end of the day, they announce that it’s time for confessions of love, and everyone cheers. A girl friend says girls must be confessing to Yano now, and Nana-chan goes looking for him. Suddenly Yano shows up with some glue to fix her ring. She thinks how cute he looks doing it. As he’s putting the ring on her finger, she thinks it’s like the wedding ceremony. He suddenly says how good the words of the wedding ceremony are: "Do you swear to become his wife and love him forever?" She says: "I’ll swear it." "We’re not getting married here," he laughs. "It just popped out," she says, abashed.

"Just saying it in words isn’t enough," she says. She holds out her hands and says, "Here. Please break my fingers." He jokes about it, but then he says, "Takahashi. Listen carefully, because I’ll only say this once.... I love you.” She is overcome with tearful joy. They kiss. The end.

In the preview, she asks him what he wants for Christmas. He says: "You." She says she wants a serious answer. Later, he says he’s decided, and asks her to promise....

It seems as if they are entering a heaven of love, but the talk of death and sadism is disturbing, both here and in episode one.

It's interesting to see the capable pro Shimizu Kaori as Nana-chan's friend Mizu-chin. Perhaps she's here to be the new, untrained seiyuu's coach, as she was for Shihono Ryou in Lemon Angel Project.