Friday, 21 January 2011

Wandering Son - Episode 2

The opening episode of Wandering Son left us with quite a lot to take in, throwing us as it did right into the heart of the manga from which it was adapted much as the series itself threw all of its characters into a brand new school regardless of any baggage they were carrying along with them.

With that "in at the deep end" beginning working surprisingly effectively, episode two finds itself with the opportunity to be a little more focused, and this comes courtesy of the diminutive but straight-talking to the point of arrogance Saori Chiba.  Chiba is a former friend of both Nitori and Takatsuki, but something has clearly soured that relationship - a change which has left Saori looking increasingly isolated, which is quite the problem for a girl such as she who thinks nothing of offended people out of habit.

Between this and Chiba's staunch refusal to make up with her former friends, it seems as though there's no way forward as we glance back at what caused this entire scenario, which as expected is a love triangle involving herself and her two friends which Chiba foolishly blames on Takatsuki even though it isn't really her fault.  Eventually however, common sense wins the day, and come the end of the episode relative normality has been restored and friendships repaired - indeed, our initial group of friends seems to have grown somewhat with the addition of the out-going oddball Chi Sarashina and her rather clingy best friend.

Although I didn't really mention much in my last entry on this series, I do have to point out (especially now I've grown accustomed to its art style) just how beautiful Wandering Son is to look at, and someone this second episode looked even more fabulous than the first to make for one of the season's more visually striking shows.  Away from that, the series continues to do great work in its subtle yet still suitably dramatic take on a group of friends hitting adolescence - a time where everything anyone does is a threat to you in some way and most emotions tend to be downright confusing.  All of this is portrayed with a compelling honesty, helped along by paying attention to every character in every scene rather than leaving any of them hanging around like paintings on a wall, with this episode thinking nothing of cutting away from the mainstay of the story just to note another character's reaction and more importantly, how that is viewed by someone else.  It's these little touches and attention to detail which really brings Wandering Son into a league of its own, away from the world of overblown drama yet steered away from slice of life territory.  Never mind the visuals alone, thus far Wandering Son has simply been a beautiful piece of work outright.

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