Saturday 15 May 2010

The Tatami Galaxy - Episode 4

With the clock rewound once again, episode four of The Tatami Galaxy sees Watashi join yet another different circle, although this one seems to be the most pointless yet.

In fact, at the outset the club in question appears to be completely pointless, with Watashi being dragged into a circle looking for "disciples", and headed by Higuchi (he of the massive chin... no, not Bruce Forsyth) who is joined inevitably by Ozu, Akashi and another girl named Hanuki who likes to drink like a fish and lick people's faces. Doesn't every university group have a girl like that?

Anyhow, the sole purpose of Higuchi's band appears to be to tailor to his whims while keeping him from getting caught for the huge library fines he's built up over the years, coupled with fighting some kind of nonsensical "masochistic proxy" war with Jougasaki (who of course we last saw in episode two). It's this war that becomes the focus of the story as time goes on, with Watashi finding himself doomed to become the heir of this nonsensical war while, as always, Ozu plays the role of devil's advocate... or just plain devil, I suppose you could say.

Having enjoyed The Tatami Galaxy thus far, I can't say I particularly liked this episode if I'm quite honest - While the previous instalments at least managed to echo student life in some admittedly overblown but amusing ways, this episode seemed hell-bent simply on being a bit weird and surreal between its mystical scrubbing brush and musical interludes. Okay, so it had a few mildly amusing moments, and the subtle links between this episode and previous ones works in a kooky kind of way, with even Watashi's feeling of loss and missing opportunity with Arashi not really coming out to any great degree in the story. I really hope this isn't a sign of this series running out of steam, so with any luck The Tatami Galaxy still has stories to tell, but this certainly wasn't a tale to grab me with.

1 comment:

vendredi said...

I think (well, hope) that this episode is more of a reconfiguration - I get the sense that episode 4 is more of a turning point in the repetition we've had until now. It's perhaps the most meta episode so far, with allusions to events from all the previous episodes, and indeed, in the premise itself (inheriting the mantle of a proxy-proxy...etc. war)

For one thing, it's notable that the circle this time was not so much chosen by Watashi as it was thrust upon him. Perhaps this is Kamotake/Higuchi and Ozu attempting to meddle or stage their own intervention in a twisted sort of way?