Kuragehime – 02: the next best thing
I don’t think anything will beat Tatami Galaxy for me this year. It has become THE favorite anime series of mine, and with good reason (elucidated over thirty posts).
Kuragehime is shaping up to be the next best thing. To prove that the first episode was no fluke, the show delivered with its second episode once again. While this doesn’t rival Tatami Galaxy in terms of depth and analytical openness, it presents an interpretation of the otaku life without resorting to cheap jokes or sensuality. It paints a portrait of the irrational phobias pervading each withdrawn otaku female, and their need for isolation, as well as their defense mechanisms against reality. The second episode presented sophisticated methods in avoiding reality and beauty, and while not very pleasant to watch, is at least something that tries to be verisimilar to reality. I was amazed with the ability that Kana Hanazawa showed in her portrayal of Tsukimi this episode, especially with that funny ‘Ole’ song of hers.
Because of the early passage of her mother Tsukimi grew up to be a reserved and highly withdrawn girl. While the Amars are kindly people, they only offer her a unidimensional friendship: an intraspecies friendship, in other words. They only help her accept that being withdrawn from society is all right because she has a few companions. On the other hand, however, Kuranosuke brings a different weltanschauung into the table. He brings the other side of the world to Tsukimi, and she recoils from it because of her fears. His sincerity shines through as the episode progresses, however, and he also merely seeks an endearing friendship and acceptance that he could not get from his family: Kuranosuke sees that Tsukimi is a great girl trapped in her own fears, and slowly tries to pry her out of that xenophobia.
It’s the anime to watch this fall. Nothing else compares.