A picture-entry – Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei 05 (The Tatami Galaxy): no ordinary reset

The background is bright and cheery, and the girl is smiling.

The background is bright and cheery, and the girl is smiling.

Mr. Yuasa is great with his synchronization between the stream-of-consciousness of Watashi and the visual field that the viewer perceives: he paints the kind and nice nature of the Honwaka’s members with a light palette and a cute addition with the bee antennae. More of Watashi’s cynicism and negativity is underlined in this episode as he is placed in contrast with more good-natured people.

Faceless Kohinata

Faceless Kohinata

Kohinata-san, introduced initially during the first episode, is made familiar with us once more in this episode. Her reappearance suggests a more pastiche-like intertwining among the episodes we have seen: imagery from the tragedy-laden third episode were revisited, and both were due to expensive and unimportant items for the sake of love and recognition (by raven-haired women). Both also ended in the same way, with the same misguided effort and undesired fruits of Watashi’s labor.

Doesn't this look familiar?

Doesn't this look familiar?

Kohinata-san just appeared very briefly: it was what his two years of blind living produced. It is very telling of Watashi’s character (chalk this one up to Yuasa’s skill as a director) that the raven-haired women he likes are faceless ideals, in contrast to the physicality and palpability of Akashi’s appearance. She has a very notable mole in her appearance, and her beauty is not the conventional one found in most anime series.

Akashi as bookseller.

Akashi as bookseller.

There is also Ozu dressing up as a woman, and both have occurred temporally close to one another: it appeared in the end of episodes one;

One.

One.

two;

Two.

Two.

and five.

Five.

Five.

It also suggests a relation of the parallel universes of Watashi’s resets. In addition, the final scenes also suggest a linkage among the episodes: Watashi saw an eaten Castella in his room during the final scenes of the second episode;

There was also a similar image in episode one, but there were no plates.

There was also a similar image in episode one, but there were no plates.

Ozu was thrown into the Kamo-oohashi wearing his transvestite clothing in the first episode; and he was also thrown into the river during this episode.

There is just too much evidence to dispute this: Akashi was also a disciple of Higuchi during the fourth episode; it was also known that Higuchi played with an atlas using pins that was eerily similar to the atlas in the fifth episode.

The same atlas. [Disciples Wanted]

The same atlas.

Higuchi was also noted to be someone who did not return his books to the library in the fourth episode, reading the same Jules Verne novel.

The same book.

The same book.

One must also recall that Akashi was a book-seller with the same dress in the first episode (Cupid),

[Cupid] Akashi as bookseller.

Akashi as bookseller.

and that was also alluded to in this one. Her dislike of moths was also referenced; another side of her personality was also seen with her kindness to Watashi.

In contrast to the other episodes, I think it must be noted that it was the fortune-teller that grabbed him this time around, and not him walking to her.

Where did that hand come from?

Where did that hand come from?

Ozu is also painted in a highly different image in contrast to the previous three episodes: his personality is like the one found in the first episode. Ozu remains to be still devilish and mischievous, but in this avatar he treasures Watashi as a friend despite everything. This is akin to him planning to put Akashi and Watashi together in the first episode, even joking to Watashi about this.

An older Watashi?!

An older Watashi?!

Most importantly, a spectre of a fallen Watashi showed itself in the swansong of the episode and triggered a catharsis in the Watashi of the Honwaka universe: ‘No, I had thrown away these past two years. I must face this reality head on, with conviction!’ All the endings of the previous episodes have fizzled with failure and regret; while this episode remained generally the same, the major fact that he shifted his paradigm into comprehending that he was in large part to blame makes all the difference. While time may have turned back once again, one knows that there will be change for the better in the succeeding episodes.

I’ve also only realized how apt the title of the show was. 😉

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6 Responses to “A picture-entry – Yojo-han Shinwa Taikei 05 (The Tatami Galaxy): no ordinary reset”

  1. Vendredi Says:

    The bees are indeed an excellent metaphor that helps to underscore the double-sided nature of Honkawa – industrious, cute, and fluff, but also stuck in a rut of groupthink.

    I agree there’s a shift at the end of the episode, but I am more unsure myself whether this represents a catharsis or simply another way of running away. I do agree though that the prologue makes it clear that Watashi has come to realize he is at least in part at fault – it is not his associations with Ozu that has led him astray this time.

  2. Michael Says:

    It is the first episode that he squarely puts the blame on his shoulders, and while he still does not approve of Ozu’s physical appearance Ozu did a lot to help him in this universe: Ozu practically saved his life and covered for him while the people were pursuing them both. Both are actions of a true friend. Perhaps the lenses change in the different episodes, but Ozu has been a decent friend for four out of the five times (him being truly antagonistic only on Soleil). Sure, he may have left him at his times of need, but in two parallel universes he has served as a quirky, but true friend; in two other universes he seems distant and treacherous, but still friendly; finally, it is only in Soleil that he serves really antagonistic to Watashi’s desires. More will be revealed in time. I can only hope this series will become better and better.

  3. ahr Says:

    Just a few thoughts here on this post. In the image titled “An older Watashi?!” above, that backpack was the very backpack that contained the money from the proxy war! Possibly he ran away with the money? (Like he imagined?)

    The Castella that was eaten should be because of Higuchi, Akashi and Watashi in episode 5. This supports what you say about the continuity (I’d call it say invariance) of the centre mat in your latest post. You see, the boxes are present in episode 5 when they deliver the Castella, but the boxes aren’t on the centre mat! Do you see what I’m getting at? It’s just a guess, however.

  4. Michael Says:

    ahr:

    Ah, yes!

    It maybe another incarnation that ran away with the money, and yet he does not seem any happier for it. Quite telling, if it is ever proven true. I can also see that the fifth mat connects all the other continuities together, and thus the invariance is necessary. 🙂

  5. kosze świąteczne warszawa Says:

    Hey, nice art i add your blog to my rss!

  6. Pozycjonowanie Says:

    This is a truly fabulous read for me, a lot of thanks to the writer

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