Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
The ‘ship’ that our characters are trying to build in Fune wo Amu is more than just a dictionary. Even if the 200,000 words behemoth is the intended end product, the Great Passage promised by the editing process is not just a book, it’s the promise of a life changed and a purpose fulfilled. Nishioka finds his place on the ship threatened by outside factors that could never possibly understand how he feels. I’m not even sure Nishioka knows how he really feels. But he is certainly getting there.
Japanese Title: 揺蕩う
— ゼクシズ公式 (@zexcs_animation) November 10, 2016
Majime is not the protagonist of this episode, but he is the one that sets the pace and, like an ever-watching narrator, fulfills the cycle of this episode’s story. By giving Nishioka his fifteen-page long confession of love that he wants to give to Kaguya and asking for his advice, Majime passes the focus torch to Nishioka, who has to go on his own journey of self-exploration.
As we expected, Nishioka’s actions to save the dictionary didn’t go unnoticed. He is called by the president, a seemingly kind but ruthless man, who announces to Nishioka that he has to pay the price for forcing the company not to cancel the dictionary. First, they have to revise an existing and popular dictionary and actually work on their own funding. Then, he is being transferred to the PR department. Ironically enough, it’s the place he had first applied to when he joined the company and the department where his girlfriend and former university classmate, Miyoshi Remi, works at.
I was impressed with Nishioka’s integrity of character. He is a considerate and trusting young man who has just started finding all the right hints that could lead him to a path of purpose. He used to think of dictionary work as a tiresome burden, but after Majime joined the department, his passion showed him a new way to look at things that made him feel alive. And that’s why when he sees Matsumoto-sensei, Araki-san, and Majime playing like boys in love with their toys over the sample pages, he decides to keep his transfer a secret. When the rumors of a potential cancelation reach the ears of the famous university teacher they have recruited to work on the dictionary, Nishioka battles against the rumors and brings Majime’s recruitment as proof that the dictionary is in the best of hands. When his girlfriend checks on him, he calmly announces his transfer and rejects her risky invitation to dinner. And last, when he returns home drunk and falls into Miyoshi’s arms, he declares his determination to do everything he can about the dictionary until the day of his transfer.
His feelings toward his new friend and the department he has come to love give place to the final scene that concludes the cycle of Nishioka’s wavering. Sometimes, even a little revising could potentially harm the honesty if a first draft, and while publishing a first draft is unheard of in publishing, in love letters it’s not.
Love Letter: It’s not easy to translate feelings into words. Actually, it must be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I laughed so hard when Nishioka started reading Majime’s letter and the first words were ‘Dear Madam’. I was expecting nothing less from the introverted Majime. The rest of his letter is both poetic and stiff, a contrast that we can observe in Majime’s character as well.
Even corporate public apologies aren’t this ceremonial
— アニメ『舟を編む』放送中！ (@funewoamu_anime) November 10, 2016
Word of the Episode: waver (揺蕩う)
to weave or sway unsteadily to and fro
E. g. My heart wavered like a boat lost at sea
Editing: Most publishing works go through many round of proofreading and editing before them being published. Even after publishing, and that is especially true for dictionaries, popular titles may be revised to follow modern rules of style and punctuation or to replace anecdotes and idioms that have fallen out of use.
Finding Purpose: What an important and heavily used theme. Nishioka used to be what Altucher calls a civilian, a person hypnotized by the banalities of everyday life who was contempt with just being. After meeting Majime, he slowly started to explore sides of him he never knew he had. He found meaning where there was none, a purpose and a reason to fight. That’s more than most of us will ever experience. And yet, the president, an impersonation of his former way of life, will take it all away from him. You can see the despair in his eyes when he hears the decision. His eyes scream ‘why’ but he knows that there’s nothing he can do about it. Not now at least.
Nishioka and Majime are two parts of the same coin, and I was so glad that this episode focused on his feelings about the dictionary and the department he is working in. I always get so emotional with Fune wo Amu because the themes it explores can be found all around us, every single day. It’s true that we can’t possibly know what a person thinks and feels unless he either tells us, or our empathy is so well tuned and our experiences so wide that we can tell by the way he behaves. No matter which of the two it is, being able to tell is being able to care.
Also, Nishioka’s girlfriend is both cute and considerate. He is a lucky guy.
While other anime heroes are battling evil spirits and malevolent dragons, Nishioka battles to win the chance to change his life. I, for one, am so enthralled by this department’s determination to complete their dictionary that I wish I could enter the screen and help them succeed.
Did you like this episode? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews!
— アニメ『舟を編む』放送中！ (@funewoamu_anime) November 10, 2016
NEXT TIME: Resonance (共振)
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