[Ascaloth] Trial Run: True Tears, Episode 2

We pick up where we left of from Episode 1, where Noe was talking to Shinichiro about having given away her tears. Here she’s telling him about how she has to get them back, whatever that means. The theme of tears is something that keeps coming up in this series, and while I have absolutely no idea what is going on nor what she means, that’s part of what keeps me watching. As long as no balls are dropped along the way, I’ve got a feeling that a very good story could come of this.

True Tears, Episode 2.

(On another note, much thanks goes to TJ Han for teaching me a faster way to batch-insert images into the editor. Now I can image-whore three times as fast as before! :p )

It’s been made pretty clear by now, as it has been with this scene as well, that there’s a certain gap between Hiromi and the Nakagami folks; particularly Shinichiro’s mother, who talks to Shinichiro as if Hiromi is not there. I’m really left to wonder just what the older woman is thinking, and how things have come to be this way. Hiromi herself can’t be feeling too good about all this.

So apparently when Noe waves, the whole school responds. Hmm.

Once again, I cannot help but gush about the quality of P.A. Works’ background animation. The motions are just so smooth even for background characters, that I reiterate once again what I said earlier; this is kami-sakuga, at the least equal to Kyoto Animation’s standards. However, even if P.A. Works exhibits the same creative execution of budget conservation that KyoAni does, I can’t help but wonder; where do they get all this moolah to produce such art?

Did I mention just how much I love the wacko expressions Shinichiro’s rubber face is apparently capable of? :p

"Hey, pimp."

Classic line. Male leads in VN games and their adaptations really should get this kind of snark more often.

O-ho, the osana-najimi realizes there’s a threat, and finally decides to wake up and smell the coffee. Gee, where have I seen that before….?

(BTW, Hiromi’s friend on the left is named Tomoyo. Not too shabby a character, but nowhere near Our Lady Of The 1000-Hit Combo.)

See, this is the proper way to execute budget conservation; keep the details to a minimum and ensure movement remains smooth, as opposed to $unrise-ing it. It really is quite shocking to discover the high frequency of jaw-droppingly bad animation inconsistency in anime, even in the big studios. Kami-sakuga is defined as much by animation consistency as well as visual beauty, you know. There’s not many studios I know of that can fulfil both requirements, but P.A. Works is making a strong case to be included within that exclusive list.

Get ready, BITCH-OFF!!!

…except, not quite. Despite the seemingly irritated look on Noe’s face, all they exchange are a few lame sentences over the positioning of Raigomaru’s plaque. Not very melodramatic, now are we?

The osana-najimi confrontation, a staple of any such story. There are different ways of handling this standard plot device though; Kei of ef ~a tale of memories~ does the classic "confront the cheating bastard even though we’re not officially a couple", Nayuki of Kanon (2006) just concedes from the start, while Kaede of Shuffle! goes psycho-Kaede/Asakura/nice boat on Asa. Hiromi? She coolly makes an implication with a seemingly innocuous statement, letting Shinichiro know he’s not fooling anybody with his stupid act, before walking off. Now that, is style.

Er…okay. You know, I’m interested in Hiromi because of her awkward situation, and the state of mind she is in about growing up in a family that is not her own. I’m not really so cool with the typical ‘accidental-touching-of-hands’ thing that’s going on here.

Sigh….on the other hand, if that’s what is needed to develop feelings between them. Moving on…

Yes, now this is what I’m talking about when I said I was interested about Hiromi’s situation. As can be seen here, Shinichiro’s mother really seems to treat Hiromi with a cool sense of contempt, and it seems as if Hiromi knows it too. Yet, she just sucks it up like any typical Japanese girl in her situation would, and just deals with it. Also, the typical deal here is that the osana-najimi goes to and fro school and home together with the male lead, sticking to him like glue; not in this case, as we can see that Hiromi actually makes it a point to wake up and have breakfast earlier than Shinichiro, so as to make sure she travels separately from him. I can’t help but think there’s a very good reason behind this, but as to what it is, that’s left for another time.

Apart from the "I throw a tantrum because you guys dare to even talk about my competition!" stunt she throws, there’s still not very much on Aiko at the moment. I wonder when she’ll start getting into the meat of the plot for real.

Eh-to…who’s that?

Another thing about this series is that for some reason, Shinichiro tends to go off on his own tangent at times, and has strange mental images to go along with his aimless philosophizing, some of which sometimes don’t even make very much sense. Same thing goes for Noe, although it’s more what she actually does say rather than any daydreaming she does. This is where the theme of tears is particularly strong, so I’m intrigued as to how these tie in with the overall story.

Part of Hiromi’s flashback to the past, which seemingly will explain the events that led up to her current situation of living with the Nakagamis. At this point though, it has yet to tell us very much (as par for the course), so let’s move on for now, and wait for the next episodes for this flashback to be fleshed out more fully.b

Round 2, BITCH-OFF!!!

…except, once again, not quite. They just start off with the same polite conversation, and then Noe gets to the point and calls Hiromi out on her deception. However, she does it in such a matter-of-fact manner, without any of the usual hysterics that accompany these female-to-female face-offs in this genre. Quite a sharp lass, that Noe, able to tell what’s on Hiromi’s mind almost immediately.

And the most interesting thing is, Noe professes that she is not even mad by it, as if she totally understands the motivations that led Hiromi to do the things she does, motivations that perhaps even Hiromi herself isn’t entirely aware of. I would have to admit, bitch-offs are entertaining events (I would dearly love to see a Hinano-sama vs Karura-sama bitch-off someday :p), but it’s a fresh breath of air to see two females behave with courtesy instead of feline spite towards each other.

And really, I’m just as impressed as Hiromi was with Noe, not only for her sharpness, but also for the relatively mature way she handled Hiromi’s budding jealousy. That’s like, wow….now that you’re impressed that your rival knows exactly what you’re thinking and is not even bitchy about it, what are you going to do from here on, Hiromi? I am really interested in how this supposed contest of wills between Noe and Hiromi is going to go without the usual bitch-fests that are par for the course in any lower-grade "harem" situations, if indeed there is ever going to be a contest to begin with.

I have a feeling that True Tears is going to turn out to be something quite different than the usual stuff…..and while there’s one more episode to go before the end of the Trial Run, this series is really heavily leaning towards the "positive" judgement. With a storyline that deviated from the common-grade norm and kami-sakuga to match Kyoto Animation’s by P.A. Works, there’s a lot going for True Tears.

I’m eager to see what transpires next. Until then, Ascaloth, out.

6 Responses to “[Ascaloth] Trial Run: True Tears, Episode 2”

  • Enjoyed the post. Perhaps P.A. Works can afford this level of animation because it has developed good animators and animation-management systems off-shore. All the animators for episode two, as well as the director and the animation director, had Chinese names (or perhaps Korean, although they were all in kanji).

  • me and karura like too much of the same thing to have a bitch off lulz

  • lol, forget bitch-offs- according to my blog stats there are actually people searching for “animeblogger girl wrestling”;p

  • Phew. I was not too sure whether I understood certain parts of the episode when things were a bit too ambiguous for me. I feel more at ease since you made the same observations.

    Thanks a lot!

  • @Hashihime:

    All Korean. The studio that assisted P.A. Works in this episode is Union-Cho, a Korean firm.

    Madhouse has been outsourcing entire episodes to Korea anyway (D.R.Movie) for the last few years, like Tenjou Tenge, Akagi, Kaiji, some episodes of Death Note, etc.

    However, this rate of outsourcing has gone more extreme, with the enshutsu (unit director) post being handled by Koreans these days. I guess with the prolonged outsourcing, many have developed the talents and skills to direct an anime episode.

  • Interesting it is… Chicken graves are lame though.

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