February 10, 2008

Tracing True Tears: Part VI

Filed under: True Tears, Anime — jroxas @ 9:47 pm
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So, yeah, I’ve been swamped with various real-life things, and there weren’t a whole lot of non-obvious things to say about episodes two through five, so I’ll just pick up this series for episode six. I guess I can go back and cover those episodes like this if you guys REALLY want me to, though :)

In any case, as always (though I can’t really expect anyone to remember this considering the unfortunate infrequency of my posts), this writing is meant to be a discussion for those who have already seen the episode. This means that this post contains spoilers abound, there won’t be a summary, and events will not necessarily be discussed in the order in which they occurred in the episode. Also, again as usual, I advise liberal use of your browser’s “open link in new tab” feature for the image links.

This episode more or less cemented the directions of the affections and the relationships that had been building up and being hinted towards over the past several. Here’s a diagram of my understanding of the situation, because diagrams are, you know, awesome.

The quality of this show’s visuals has consistently been among the foremost praises, and this episode certainly lives up to that praise. Of particular note are the facial expressions, which are often so well-executed that some of the scenes almost didn’t require dialogue to get the desired emotions across. Take as an example the Aiko-centric scene that kicks off the episode. First, we have a shadowing of the upper half of the face and cutting off of the eyes as Shinichiro gets up to answer the door– a common sign of some sort of intense negative feeling, in this case emphasizing that she really doesn’t want to open the door. Then, as Miyokichi walks in, she makes this face that strongly implies that she really doesn’t want to be talked to; the context of the scene tells us that she specifically doesn’t want Miyokichi’s attention. Then there’s this pouty, “GET OUT RIGHT NOW!” face. Again, just look at the picture– no dialogue or context is necessary to get a sense for what’s going on there, and yet with those things, it fits absolutely perfectly. A bit afterwards, she looks like this– is it regret? Indecision? Both? Later on, at what seems to be the conclusion of their date, we get this obviously awkward, nervous, and shocked “…wtf?” look out of Miyokichi.

We also are finally treated to some intense emotion out of Hiromi this time around. She snaps at Shinichiro here, and then really snaps at his mother. “Quiet and boring,” my ass. (More like, “sad girl in snow.”)

Facial features can tell a lot more than just emotions too. I’m somewhat aware of a sense of “wide eyes = honesty/innocence” in Japanese culture, and, conversely, that narrower eyes are often representative of cunning, the holding of secrets, and/or malicious intent. This certainly seems to be the case all along with Shinichiro’s mother, whose motivation for malice is finally confirmed at the end of the episode after the numerous heavy hints that have been popping up all along. Jun Isurugi’s eyes are an interesting case– they’re narrow when he’s with Hiromi, suggesting that he’s plotting something concerning her, but they’re subtly wider in the presence of his sister.

(Speaking of Noe: what’s the deal with strange girls and taking guys’ belts? Nodame did this towards the beginning of Nodame Cantabile, and now we have Noe guilty of belt theft and the resulting misunderstandings.)

Of course, the crux of this episode was the dramatic revelation that explains so much about what’s happened so far in the series. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that just about everything about the scene was extremely well-executed, and I mean everything, from the music, to the voice acting, to the visuals.

Let’s talk about these visuals. My personal favorite is probably this shot. Shinichiro is in the middle ground, yelling what basically amounts to “TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON!” while Hiromi sits is right up front with that somewhat disturbing, yandere-esque grin along with the shadowed upper face and cut-off eyes technique described previously. That’s followed by this shot of Hiromi, with that sad, hollow look in her eyes that the viewer is surely quite familiar with at this point. Then, as the punchline is delivered, the “camera” is masterfully zoomed out with little focus or detail, giving the viewer little to focus on visually in order to emphasize attention to the dialogue. Since the actual shock was most likely of no surprise to the viewer after all of the hints, though, we are instead given time to sympathize with Shinichiro’s shock, with a “wtf” face followed by a from-behind shot that lets his shocked “did that actually just happen?” reaction sink in. Of course, that is then followed by some true tears accompanied by another powerful line: “I’m a terrible person.”

The episode concludes by masterfully breaking the tension of the previous scene with Noe singing about Shinichiro while cooking and cutely swaying her hips back and forth. This was the best way the episode could possibly have ended– not on a direct cliffhanger, but what is shown to the viewer after the climactic scene has no “content” to it to meaningfully distract the viewer’s mind away from the important events that had just occurred.

9 Comments »

  1. aww, you beat me to the diagram idea! xD
    the relationships in True Tears is so complicated I actually thought this would be real nifty :) (like the complicated relationships of Marmalade Buy (only on the surface)… ugh)

    Comment by usagijen — February 11, 2008 @ 1:00 am

  2. *Boy… silly typo .__.;;

    Comment by usagijen — February 11, 2008 @ 1:01 am

  3. Yes! This is the post I’ve been waiting for :)

    Comment by AOforever1 (Justin) — February 11, 2008 @ 1:02 am

  4. I think Noe’s taking Shinichiro’s belt is that, she’s grabbing on his belt (at the lunch scene) and won’t let go. The only way Shinichiro could get away was to let loose the belt.

    Comment by FortMan — February 11, 2008 @ 1:44 am

  5. I’d place a question mark after the “siblings” designation between Shinichiro and Hiromi, as it’s still only just a possibility, and not a certainty.

    And I’m surprised that you didn’t post a picture of Hiromi’s face after she showed the big reveal. Tears + smile = wow.

    Comment by TheBigN — February 12, 2008 @ 8:50 am

  6. The last scene looks like it had some meaning… haha.. coz it proves that Noe likes Shinichiro although she doesn’t admit it..

    Comment by Liezl — February 12, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  7. TheBigN: Yeah, you’re probably right, there probably should be a question mark there. You’re also right about the powerful tears + smile scene, and that I should probably have included it in my analysis.

    Comment by jroxas — February 13, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  8. […] what does the web of deceit look like now? JRoxas provided a graphical view of this entangled relationships in the show, and just to expound on this […]

    Pingback by The Tangled Web of Deceit and Melodrama of True Tears | The Scrumptious Anime Blog — February 15, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

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