12/14/2007

Twelve Moments in Anime 2007 - #12: Myself;Yourself 11

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The "12 Days of Christmas" series is a
joint feature by some members of the Anime Blogging Collective recognizing twelve moments, twelve series, or just twelve things about anime that we've enjoyed over the past year, that really make us enjoy loving what we do, and that is being an anime fan. Feel free to join in the list-making fun too if you wish. We hope you enjoy this feature.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought of anime, I'd tell you that Cardcaptor Sakura ruled my life and that would be the end of it.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought of Haruhi, of Kanon, of Tsukihime, I'd give you a funny look.

If you had asked me a year ago whether I'd think I'd find myself, in a year, writing almost 50,000 words about anime, I'd ask if you'd come back in time just to ask theoretical questions about anime to me, and why don't you just go win the lottery instead?

Perhaps to call anime life-changing would be a bit of a stretch, especially in the young, impressionable high school years. But I have no regrets about adapting the life style of a self-admitted anime geek, with the blogging and the watching and the Shiori worshipping and a good portion of the full nine yards, and I would like to think that my alleigance will not be wavering any time soon.

And so to close out the month of December, a time for celebration, it's time for me to recgonize some of the moments that really personify why I am glad I made the choice to be here, watching anime, in a 12 Days of Christmas countdown.

And the first moment up is every bit as dramatic as the this intro paragraph is, for better or for worse: Myself;Yourself 11.


12 Moments of Anime 2007
#12: Myself;Yourself - 11
"Asami is bi!"


Upon suggesting the concept for a "12 Days of Christmas" list I managed to come up with eleven different moments from eleven different series fairly handily. Just for kicks, I picked out my singular favorite moment from everything I've watched so far - since I'm a fanboy like that - and then picked the eleven that jumped out.

But having exhausted my list of anime and of eleven-related "ridiculous and not even funny" jokes, I decided to make a stretch for the twelfth one and put the, at the time, most recent, and probably most ridiculous episode of Myself;Yourself - the tenth one, in the final spot on the list.

And then, surprisingly, here comes the next episode to soundly knock itself off the pedestal at the last minute, and this time, I have no doubt in my choice.

Myself;Yourself, to do one comparison, is somehow what I imagine School Days would be like if I had never heard of it before watching it. Maybe not in straight character relations, but in terms of sheer mindblowing revelations, Myself;Yourself has it in spades.

And since - unless you count vague descriptions on the official Japanese site, which I didn't peruse - the game / anime is essentially unspoiled, it made these moments all the more powerful.

Myself;Yourself, at this point, is the ultimate trap show.

The first episode, maybe even the first few episodes, are exceedingly light. Nice, simple, harem-style lightheartedness with a little fanservice courtesy of Aoi. All the plot seemed choreographed enough, with Sana's fear of blood and Nanaka's fear of fire fairly obvious. It seemed to be the kind of show that could be a light watch. Something that took a minimum amount of thinking to provide a high level of entertainment.

Even when the plot started taking a turn for the serious in the second half, the show was there to comfort you, to say "Don't worry, it's still all in the name of fun," with a half-episode dedicated to the amusement park and the largely sideplot (unfortunately) Hinako.

But the last two episodes have done nothing short of turning the entire show upside-down. Siscon - or not - drama, family abuse, cheating wives, violent old ladies - the phrase 'blood, sweat, and tears' is scarily appropriate for the show; the tears coming from both sides of the screen at times.

And it all culminates with what possibly might be the single most impossible-sounding revelation this year in anime.

The title of episode 11 is "Confession". Some of us thought it might be one of love. Maybe Shuu really is serious about his sister, maybe Sana will finally make a move on Nanaka, maybe Asami will figure into the story again. Others thought it was one of guilt - the adults, such as the Wakatsuki 'mom' confessing that they wrote the incriminating letter.

But what really happened - Asami confessing that 1) she liked Shuri and 2) she wrote the 'love hotel' letter - no one should have seriously seen coming.

I'm still lost for words. I don't know if it's good or bad yet. It's one of those revelations that's utterly shocking and captivating - if it doesn't wreck your suspension of disbelief.

And to be honest, it is sort of out in left field. But it's still intriguing in the way Asami lays it all out for Sana in a monologue that never felt like it dragged on or got melodramatic. It seemed very nicely done; strange source material aside, the scene was done excellently.

And it's not like we couldn't see how all the pieces added up. It almost makes sense. Why Asami's silhouette is overlaid on the Wakatsuki part of the OP. The strange reaction Asami had to the letter in episode 10, how she reacted to the ferris wheel incident in 9, even all the way back to all the highly platonic time she spent with Sana in the early parts of the show. It's just one of those reverse-engineering cases, where it's easier to see it backwards, after the fact, than forwards.

Who would have thought she would have so much in common with Grandma Kaji?

But since, of course, we were thinking it forwards, with no prior knowledge, we wrote Asami off as the side character, the 'outsider' to the group. The one for the express purpose of being Nanaka's tsuntsun catalyst. The one who was overshadowed by her arc's adult villain, Grandma Kaji. The nice character that had good intentions, the one that seemed destined for the Nayuki Club.

"Poor Asami," it was said. "It's too bad she didn't really play a role in the story."

Maybe, in the end, she didn't. But there's no doubt that, even if she doesn't affect the final outcome, she left her mark on the story and wasn't just a side characters. She is the epitome of characters that break the mold, that surprise and shock and leave us utterly dumbfounded.

No matter whether in the end I view this scene favorably (as an excellent piece of exposition) or unfavorably (as an excellent example of ridiculous plot twists), this moment will live on as proof that anime can still pull rabbits out of its hat.

As cliched as it looks, as pandering as it can be, sometimes, there are just moments where we, the viewers, get it all totally wrong in judging a character or story. And that's something I can appreciate.

-CCY

3 comments:

Phew, it took me three days to get around to commenting. D: So many posts.

I'd always wondered whose silhouette was in the OP animation after the Wakatsuki twins, and Asami's sudden and unexpected development was really shocking. The monologue didn't really feel out of place, and neither did it get cliched or tiring at any point in time, but I'd have to suppose that's what seiyuu pedigree (Ryuguu Rena's) does for you.

After ep 11 I have the impression that the next few revelations will be no less twist-filled than a good chapter of Death Note or a good episode of Code Geass. It's official that M;Y is post-harem now -- no other harem I've ever seen has such "JUST AS PLANNED" moments, and delivered to great effect, too.

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