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.
We are one episode away from concluding the 12-episode cour of Girlish Number, and to be honest, I felt like this could have been the final episode. Once again, the writers of the seiyuu anime outdid themselves and delivered an episode that slowly built up to a fantastic monologue that made the whole series worth watching.
Japanese Title: 揺れる千歳と決意の悟浄
I was so engrossed in the events of this episode that I forgot to write down any comments or make notes about highlights or themes or trivia. The reason was the amazing narrative flow of the episode that, with the exception of a few scenes that had no other purpose but to drive forward the plot, made it possible to deliver the final scene between Chitose and her brother.
In fact, the whole episode was indirectly focused on Chitose. By losing her arrogant confidence, Chitose set the mood of both the episode and of the rest of the characters. Her silence during the recording made the dialogues between the rest of the characters feel plain and boring. Her absence from Nanami’s welcoming dinner reminded the rest of the seiyuus how important she was to the group. ‘Karasuma-san’ is the one who sets the mood’ says Nanami-chan, ‘and that’s why she is a great actor.’ Karasuma is dearly missed.
Even if you’ve got the ability, things don’t always go the way you want them to.
A concerned Yae talks to Gojou about her feelings for Chitose but insists that he is the one to tell them to Chitose, implying of course that Gojou is the one that should support his sister because his words are not ‘cheap.’ But before Gojou could make his sister realize her potential, he needed that realization for himself. Koto, his former classmate, becomes his guardian angel and reminds him that he really was a great actor. She admired him. But when things were going bleak for her, when the agency restructured and younger and more talented girls started swarming in, it was a great manager that managed to keep her career afloat. Maybe Gojou is just where he needs to be. And maybe that’s what Chitose needs right now. Her manager, her friend, her brother.
In the span of 2/3 of an episode, everyone that Chitose has interacted with expresses their support. Even the boss, for whom I had the worst opinion until now, is at least a clever businessman that knows how to recognize the way to advance his seiyuu business. ‘We should focus on Chitose’ he says, ‘because she is stupid enough to make it.’ That ‘stupid’ is repeated by her friends and her brother. It is not ‘that kind of stupid’ as Yae herself insists during the dinner, but the kind of stupid that makes an actor.
And then comes the moment that the whole series were building upon, and the opening scene hinted. ‘The reasons for giving up are different for everyone’ says Gojou in front of the mirror, and we are not sure if he talks about Chitose or about himself. He identifies the following reasons that we more or less were referenced throughout the series:
Or perhaps, all of the above.
I’m not sure I can give justice to probably the best scene in the series so far, so I am just going to transcribe the words and let the characters speak for themselves. I’m sure that you won’t mind reading again what Chitose and Gojou said in what was the most well written segment of Fall 2016. After receiving some gifts from her fans she starts wondering if there’s an expiry date to their support. As the first tear begins to fall, so do her walls. The walls that prevented her from realizing the truth begin to crumble under the weight of 10 episodes full of moments of failure and self-doubt.
Chitose: ‘I can’t work hard for everyone. I get it. It’s just for me. I’m arrogant and I have a horrible personality. I just want to show off and feel superior. But what can I do? I want to like myself. I want people to like me. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to lose to anyone. I want everyone’s attention. Nobody but me can become number one.’
The truth of those words is undeniable. And so is the truth of the words that Gojou is finally able to speak, continuing a unified soliloquy that was divided among siblings:
Gojou: ‘… and that’s acting. Because that’s the only thing a stupid person like you can do. You are foolish and selfish. You are easily depressed, but you can turn cocky in an instant. You are a show-off and a massive liar. You have poor technique. You have naïve thinking, no awareness. You are a sloth coasting by a half-assed natural talent. And you are confident. So confident that you can succeed where I failed. That’s what I lacked, and the same thing is what makes you amazing. You are amazing.’
Chitose: ‘Say that again’
The episode ends with a reborn Chitose who is finally able to admit the truth:
I want to do my best for my own sake
Chitose: After admitting her own mistakes, after describing in detail what everyone thought of her until now, after shedding the skin of lies she was indulging in, Chitose transformed from an arrogant caterpillar to a confident butterfly. This is the moment she’d been waiting for. The moment to embrace what she is and try to become the best she can, but this time she will do it for her.
Gojou: Koto-san was the first to realize that the siblings are more similar than they think. Gojou and Chitose need each other, not because they need someone to rely on (or rather not only for that) but because they are each other’s mirror.
Nanami: The reason Kuzu uses the English words ‘seventh sea’ to refer to Nanami is because her name is written with the kanji for 7 (七) and sea (海).
I think I am out of comments for this particular episode. Chitose has come a long way since the first episode. Seiyuu etiquette, recording seasons, event tricks, production schemes, fancy dinners, friendly competition, and not-so-friendly competition: the anime focused more on the people in the industry than it focused on the industry itself. And Chitose managed to become the heroine we all hopes she’ll become.
I really felt that the last episode was really unnecessary. Episode 11 of Girlish Number was so emotionally loaded and the dialogues so well written that it will be very difficult for the finale to impress me. I don’t expect much, but then Girlish Number has always managed to surprise me with its incredible character development.
Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our Fall 2016 anime episodic reviews.
NEXT TIME: Final Episode!