Archive for the ‘Touch’ Category

Bathos avoidance: Touch 92-101

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I guess they have resolved my pending questions in episode 92: Minami clearly states that she’s liked Tatsuya for a long while, and it won’t change even with Kazuya around. I think this was a smart move by Adachi, because it did not make the series sappy with romance. It didn’t deal with a girl vacillating between two exemplary men, and thus did not waste time on that unnecessary matter. The series instead focused on building up the extant hero and heroine and progressing their characters. I still believe that it’s taken them a long while to arrive at that point, however, although the hints were already scattered throughout the series: 48 episodes is a long while.

Touch's spiritual brother

I have never liked bathos, however, and I think that as a compromise it’s better than drenching the series with tears and with broken hearts. I think of Touch as a good series because it avoids such cliches. I only like romance when it’s well-made: Honey and Clover, for example, while essentially a slice-of-life series, is a great romance because while it has its share of tears it doesn’t denigrate itself with fulfilled love. It even shows that life can make one suffer with unrequited loves, but people move on.

Touch is merely a story of enduring love. Unlike Cross Game, however, it focuses a lot more on the game itself than the subtleties of relationships among its characters. After 83 episodes, the main duo kiss once more and Tatsuya finally overcomes his selfless tendencies to confess to Minami that he’s loved her all this time. While the games themselves were intense and highly watchable, I feel that the character department of this show was lacking, even with its exemplary story. Its diffuse nature allowed for more of the series’s characters being fleshed out, but also loosened the story’s focus. I recognize the series as a great series, although I have some doubts as to whether to peg it as great or as a masterpiece primarily because I liked Cross Game more, personally.

How would you guys rank Touch, anyway?

The romantic aspect of Touch: episodes 12-89

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Of all the things that can be seen in Touch (there’s a lot, obviously, as it’s 101 episodes), it has been the relationship between Minami and Tatsuya that has affected me the most. Although the first few episodes have been red herrings with regard to the complex relationship among Kazuya, Tatsuya and Minami, I could never forget that even when Kazuya was still alive Minami was already partial towards Tatsuya: she rejected Kazuya’s advances and confessions, but kissed Tatsuya full on the lips after his loss from a boxing match. It was also obvious that Tatsuya was merely playing the clown so as not to overshadow his younger brother who has poured so much time and effort trying to be perfect.

Not many people saw it as such, however, with the majority (even Tatsuya’s parents) thinking of Tatsuya as a failure. It was only Minami who saw through the legerdemain and still thought highly of Tatsuya. Their history, after all, simply suggested that it was due to Tatsuya’s altruism that Kazuya was able to prosper and propel himself forward. If left to his own devices, Tatsuya’s past reflected someone who had more talent than Kazuya. Tatsuya just didn’t want to dampen his brother’s dreams, and welcomed the forging of a relationship between Kazuya and Minami.

Minami, however, wanted otherwise. It was quite obvious that she liked Tatsuya romantically after the kiss, and it’s kept on proving itself in the course of the series. In a much later episode (episode 89), their mother commented on the neediness of Kazuya, and she recognized, perhaps belatedly, that Tatsuya was just letting his brother flourish. My only problem was the lack of focus on the romantic development between Tatsuya and Minami, although I understand that it was for the sake of their own individual progress: the last scenes of them physically reaffirming their love for one another was in episode 44. Episode 46 was an episode full of subtle romantic banter, but there was nothing physical in their interactions.

For the next forty or so episodes, little focus was placed on the romance aspect between the protagonists: instead, Minami was slowly trying to excel as a gymnast, and Tatsuya was trying his best to be unbeatable as a pitcher and a baseball player in general. It was only with the mirror of the Kashiwaba brothers with one woman they both love that the rivalry between them as brothers and as lovers was tackled once more: in this case, the older brother also triumphed over the younger brother, with bitterness being the only passion fueling the younger brother’s life. The situation was very different, as both brothers were achievers, and the altruistic one was the younger instead of the elder. Still, one can’t help but wonder what would happen to Kazuya in the future had he lived, especially because even with his achievements Minami’s heart was always with Tatsuya, and Minami seems to be the one person Tatsuya will never give up to Kazuya despite his efforts.

I just wish there was something more visible between Minami and Tatsuya in those forty episodes. I’m not complaining, however: when an anime series forces me to stay awake until the wee hours of the morning, I really think it’s good. I still have about 11 episodes to go, but at this point I prefer Cross Game more because it was able to progress simultaneously the plot, Kou’s progress, and the subtle evolution of Aoba’s affections towards Kou. Tatsuya is a more likable character, however, and I can empathize with him more. Both series are great.

Touched by Touch – episodes 1-11

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

I’ve always wanted to watch Touch. It started back in 2006, when I watched the few Hiatari Ryoukou episodes released by MJN. Back then, however, I didn’t have the Internet speed or the hard drive space to tackle the huge requirement of Touch. I promised myself, however, that I would eventually watch it.

It’s been four years since that time. I now have a computer that’s competent enough, and an Internet connection that’s very good with respect to the service our country’s Internet providers can give. It took me some time to start watching the series because I wanted to wait for the entire series to be released on DVD. Currently, there are only 54 episodes. I’m not whining, mind you, but I have arrived at a point where I want to watch the entire series even if the rest of the episodes are LD rips. I have already archived the 54 released on DVD anyway.

I must admit that I can totally empathize with Tatsuya. I recognize that I have done wrong and that I can do better, but I fall into apathy as there are times where I’ve attempted to right the ship only to be shot down, whether by circumstance or by people themselves. It’s something frustrating, and I try to cope with it by living with insouciance as Tatsuya does even if like him I recognize that I have innate talent in me, and that I believe I can be better.

Let me share something that actually happened to me last year: I was actually in top of the class during the first three months of medical school, excelling in the first three blocks. While I rested for the musculoskeletal modules, I picked myself up once again in the neuroanatomy modules and believed I did well in the exams. However, when the grades came out I was just average. It was a major blow to me primarily because I knew I topped the class in the exams. I may have gone wrong in some respects but not enough to be average. Nevertheless, that became my grade. I wasn’t honestly devastated, but it just took the fight out of me, just when I was starting to strive for what I believed to be something I could excel at.

I thus really felt the pain that Tatsuya felt during the eleventh episode: after he fought with himself and the fact that he was overshadowed by his brother through sheer assiduity, he ultimately decided to join the baseball club until Minami decided to join the baseball club to be its manager. It was a slap in the face, especially because he knew how people were pairing Minami and Kazuya together. He had enough delicacy not to interfere in the pairing of two popular and excellent individuals, even though he also had invested feelings in Minami for quite some time. He may have just walked it off and lazed it away with his antics, although I bet it was also hurting him inside. He didn’t want to upstage his brother even though he could, judging from their past, and he didn’t want to interfere with the match made in heaven with Kazuya and Minami. It’s sad. He simply deals with it through mediocrity, just like I do with my medical classes. I will be all right, as long as I can pass. That is my success. I know that it is detestable for the achievers reading this post, but it’s really how I deal with my failures in life: I try to move on as best as I can – something that shows in Touch.

That’s why I’ll keep on downloading and keep on watching. Maybe I’ll also find some answers.