That was the Koda Minare’s life of anime episodes.
What a weird and often vexing series Nami yo Kiite Kure is. It’s obvious that Samura Hiroaki’s default style leverages chaos pretty heavily – we see it not just here but in Immortal too. But somehow I seem to find the more grounded moments in his series more appealing. That’s not to say the lunacy doesn’t have its appeal – there’s an irresistible energy to these sequences that sucks you in. But I just don’t think Samura is as good at it as, say, Noda Satoru. Especially the comic side of the chaos.
This episode was, frankly, all over the map. It seemed to cover about 20 different plot twists. Parts of it really worked, parts of it clunked. It ranged from slapstick to extremely dark. Mostly, all this darting around the script left me wishing the interesting sequences had lasted longer and been explored more deeply. Maybe this is where we start to see the realities of the adaptation length really wreak havoc (a common Samura theme).
We start off with Minare talking about becoming a nun to repent her sins is creating chaos for others. The nun thing is a bit of an overreaction, but frankly I wasn’t so glad Mizuho talked her off the ledge – Minare was finally about to confront reality, and she got a “get out of jail free” card. Then it’s off to the station, where Mado-san (because Minare can’t come up with any ideas of her own) assigns her the fallback option of fighting with a family member on the air and having the audience adjudicate. The conversation with her dad about her name (a repeating theme in this ep) was one of the funnier and more effective sequences of the episode.
That bit gets back-burnered when Kureko-san shows up and Mado asks him to write a script on the spot. Meanwhile, we have the return of Takarada-san, accompanied by the notorious older brother of Makie – Toru (Ito Kentaro, sliding over from Golden Kamuy). He’s every bit the nutjob Makie had made him out to be, and while Makie didn’t exactly make a good first impression there’s no question where one’s sympathies should lie here. After Toru almost strangles Chuuya-san (who’s irritatingly forgiving) he enlists his sister to be the sand in Toru’s vaseline and keep Makie safely at his place for the moment. As for the new part-timer who was in the accident with him, Takarada says he was arrested in the hospital for stealing and selling morphine (because, Samura).
Just as that begins to be interesting we’re back at the station, where Kureko-san’s script has turned out to be the bear bit from the premiere. We also formally meet Koumoto-san (Ishikawa Kaitou), who may be Kureko’s assistant or protege (it’s never explained) and appears to have a past with Mizuho (it’s never explained). Kureko-san is leaving, apparently – having been nominated for some sort of literary award. While it’s not clear what the exact deal with him is, he’s obviously some sort of genius writer (if he can toss off a script in 20 minutes he’s clearly talented), and he and Mado seem to have a pretty close friendship.
Again, just as I’d like to dig a little deeper into that angle we’re whipsawed away again, this time to Mado’s past with Komei Sissei. We learn that she liked Ainu humor, and planned to name her first child “Minare” (“to laugh”) – which helps explain Mado-san’s obsession with Koda Minare. And for good measure, Mitsuo-san sends Minare a text suggesting they get together – which in a sense is the ultimate Minare reset button. Because things weren’t random and disjointed enough, right?
In the end, my take on this episode is that I can’t even really say whether I liked it or not – it was simply too much to process. With only four eps to go, I don’t know how much clarity Nami yo Kiite Kure is going to deliver – especially with the manga ongoing – but it does continue to be interesting if nothing else. There have been a few really excellent episodes and even the off weeks have managed to keep me engaged, but at this point the series is more about potential than realization for me.