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 latest episode of Girlish Number focused on two things: It centered its attention to Shibasaki-san and her family problems while at the same time indirectly commented on the role our parents play on the decisions we make as we grow up.
Episode 7 was all about family.
Japanese Title: やじうま千歳と授業参観
If her mother’s traditional outfit wasn’t evidence enough, Shibasaki is not from Tokyo. She left her home to pursue her dreams of becoming an actor, and as most young people with similar dreams, the only place to achieve that is the big city, most probably Tokyo. But, as all young people who leave home know very well, parents will come at least once where you live to check on you and make sure that you’re doing well for yourself. Shibasaki mom’s visit gave the show a hint of extra realism. Coming from a more conservative family, her father was worried that there was something wrong with his daughter’s vocation. After all, they saw her on television wearing a bikini for the world to see.
Shibasaki’s mom visits the studio on an occasion that will provide her with all the necessary proof that her daughter is in fact doing something that is not lewd at all. During a radio talk show, our favorite fictional cast gets to answer mail from people with weird nicknames and questions about how to pursue their love interests or their dreams. For a moment, the two professionals, Chibasaki and Momoka, take it a little too serious and honestly express their feelings. The production of the show is enthralled and keeps showing sign boards praising the seiyuu and Shibasaki’s mom is pleased to know that through her job she can help people achieve their dreams. Shibasaki tries to counter the praise, knowing that the industry is not what it seems. But in a moment of truthfulness, what came across to the audience was hope.
But, Kuzu is always somewhere close, ready to destroy everything in his path. He takes upon himself to talk to Shibasaki’s dad on the phone, after she refuses to talk to him. He tells all the wrong things to the conservative father: that his daughter is admired by male fans everywhere and that she is a dream sex symbol. Towada, as always, has to quench the fire lit by the trash for a producer, and he ends up doing a dogeza in front of the phone. Kuzu’s actions make Towada promise to the mother that the production will visit the family to apologize properly.
After a short interruption to witness how Momoka interacts with her mother, professionally and stiffly, the production is ready to visit Shibasaki’s home town.
Talk show: The moment where Shibasaki admits that her dream was to become an actor was illuminating. In an industry where acting is extended to outside the studio, this was a moment of truthfulness that made me wonder what would happen to the world if we only were a bit more frank with ourselves.
Dogeza: Towada is my favorite male character in the show. He has to put up with all of Kuzu’s kuzu, and I am perplexed by his superhuman ability in resisting murder. The moment he falls down on his knees to apologize to Shibasaki’s father was hilarious.
No one lives forever: Most of us live like we are never gonna die. But people do die, and we should always consider the possibility before holding any grudges, especially within our family. Leaving loose ends might result to future regrets. Moral of this episode: make up with your family if you aren’t in good terms. If you are away, try and keep in touch. If you have something to say, go ahead and say it. No one lives forever.
Doing what you love: Anime is a peculiar industry. Most of the people associated with anime and manga were drawn to the industry because of their love for the medium. The same is true for voice actors. It’s difficult to voice an anime character if you are not a fan. Anime voice acting is unique.
Dogeza: The word means ‘sitting right on the ground’ and it’s an extreme way of showing a deep apology and the desire to be forgiven. To do a dogeza you kneel directly on the groung and prostrate all the way to the front until your head touches the floor. In contemporary Japan, dogeza is an uncommon deference that is used only when someone is deviating greatly from what is considered accepted in normal social behavior.
Episode 7 advanced the development of all main heroines. Chitose remains the spoiled brat she is, hiding behind duty to fulfil her selfish desires. Katakura defended the title of the calm senpai that knows how to make someone feel just a tiny bit better. Yae is young, inexperienced and a bit too caught inside her fan-loving world. Momoka wishes that her relationship with her mother was less professional and more family-like. And last, Shibasaki is a human. She has feelings, no friends, and a family that loves her more than anything in the world.
If the next couple of episodes don’t include a festival-plus-fireworks scene I will be greatly disappointed. Shibasaki returns home after five long years, and to be honest, I am most curious to meet her father. He must be the sweetest man.
Did you like the latest episode of Girlish Number? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews!