Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Tatami Galaxy - Episode 8

Having explored Kaori and Hanuki's sides to this current triangular story arc, episode eight of The Tatami Galaxy brings us to what we assume to be the final face of this section of the series as we explore the exact origins and conclusion to Watashi's relationship with pen-pal Keiko.

As with all such relationships, everything starts innocently enough (although slightly oddly, admittedly), with Watashi finding Keiko's details in a book lent to him by Ozu. Being the kind of soppy romantic that he is, our protagonist writes to said address to discuss the book in question, and soon finds himself greeted with a response. So, a regular exchanging of letters between the two becomes the order of the day - Of course, the trouble with letter writing as an art form between people who have never met is that it tends to promote embellishment, and in no time at all Watashi is some kind of man of the world with a penchant for fast cars and skiing. Not entirely accurate, I'm sure you'd agree....

As the story unfolds, so Watashi eventually eschews the other girls within his grasp and races off to find Keiko. But who is Keiko exactly? Of course, it's none other than another of Ozu's "little" practical jokes, except this particular bit of tom-foolery has a twist in the tale - The author of the letters is none other than Akashi. With Watashi and Akashi having met previously when the former saved the latter from harrassment while dressed as Mochiguman, the two actually hit it off despite their two years of lies and untruths to one another in letter format. This seems like an ideal opportunity, but our protagonist is nothing if not a bundle of missed opportunities, so as the clock rolls back once again we close with Watashi stuffing his face with cake while very much alone. Again.

While I saw the twist surrounding Ozu being Keiko's true origin coming pretty early on, Akashi's involvement slipped past me right until its revelation, which made for a fascinating ending to proceedings which once again leaves us cursing Watashi's inability to see the good thing right before his eyes, much like the toy mascot which dangles above his head every episode. Personally, it still fascinates me how this show's happiest ending for our "hero" so far has been one where he pushes all the women in his life away and embraces his life alone - Does this mean that we'll never see the "happy ending" we've all been expecting and hoping for with Akashi? Indeed, what is it that makes Akashi the girl we're rooting for throughout when relatively speaking she's commanded so little screen time across the series so far? It's these little curiosities, coupled with some decidedly sharp delivery and solid story-telling, that makes The Tatami Galaxy such a fascinating slice of anime viewing.

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