Every once in a while with a well done adaptation the differences between the mediums really bring elements in the franchise’s “core story”, if you will, really bring out points of the narrative that you had either not noticed before, or had taken in while being “enchanted” by the medium itself. This also came out with the Flying Witch adaptation of last season (which was one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much) and is coming out in spades this season as well with Amanchu.
The narrative itself is pretty straightforward – episode four showed Futaba getting her first introduction to some very pragmatic and hands on instruction in scuba diving – partly by being with Pikari at her grandmother’s shoreline shop and observing, and partly through hands on experience together with Pikari and Kotori-sensei at the high school club. At the former amidst the instruction and observations she finds parts in herself beginning to stir again, and at the latter the rubber meets the road. In the previous episode she said that she was cowardly, and in this episode we saw her old habits “in action” and confronted in “real time” – with the help of Kotori-sensei and Pikari, of course.
And while we are on the topic of Futaba confronting her fears, one of the aspects of the story that leaped off the pages the strongest while watching the episode was precisely this confrontation. While I (and some others) were watching the latter half of the episode where Futaba tries to immerse herself again in her scuba gear at the high school pool we see her uneasiness with the fact that water is making its way into her mask when she tries to submerge (still in the shallowest part of the pool). She has a hard time expelling the water as she was taught and shown and becomes … discouraged.
Her mind panicks and runs off into “what if” possibilities and she gives up … apparently “out of the blue” to Pikari and Kotori-sensei, who are quite surprised when Futaba (almost on the verge of tears, it seemed to me) says that she is done for the day. Pikari immediately goes to her side to try and encourage her and assure her that it is not all that bad, and Futaba sadly admits that she is frightened, plain and simple.
While I was watching this scene I suddenly became aware of something – that the entire context or ambience of that scene carried with it a feeling that Futaba and Pikari might actually get into a fight over what was happening. Something like Pikari saying “You can do it if you try!” and Futaba angrily replying “But I HAVE been trying!” Now in the manga from what I remember the tone would never have hinted at such a possibility … but here in the anime the possibility was “hanging in the air” in those scenes.
It is possible that aspect of things were part of the adaptation. Maybe partly due to the objective defaults of the medium and maybe also choices of the studio? This definitely got me to thinking of the differences of the mediums, but also in the thoughts and interpretations that went into creating the source material, into creating the adaptation and that I myself brought to the material each time. How the events played out totally fit given what we have seen of their personalities up until now, but the path the adaptation took to the conclusion felt as if it … was at a different time of year? and reflecting a different season, I guess? Same path, but … well … hopefully the idea gets across.
Then there was another aspect of the scene as well that came to mind … a feeling of another possibility that never came up from my reading of the source material … and that was that there could have been a contrast between the actual fear response she had had in the past and the actual struggle she was undergoing at the moment due to her being pushed forward into it all too quickly? For me this also never came out as a possibility. For me she had allowed that pattern of fear-based behavior to be so all invasive that it was sure to pop up no matter what she tried anew … which would make anything (whether objectively assessed as too much or otherwise) as feeling like it would in fact be “too much”.
So while in the manga I never felt as if the narrative turned its attention to the possibility that she was being pushed into too quickly, I could feel the possibility in the overall effect the adaptation created at that moment. Even so … whatever the intents or experiences I or other viewers experienced in the adaptation or in the source material, the end result was the same – Futaba was able to experience her first scuba diving lesson, move about (even do somersaults underwater) and go into the deeper portions of the pool (presumably into the section below a high diving board).
All this being said, this episode was one in which we got to get more of the underwater visuals the manga is so famous for portraying, and J.C. Staff totally nailed them … especially their depiction of the sun shining from above and it’s rays filtering through the water was particularly beautiful. Also I must add that the series is doing an excellent job conveying the beauty of Futaba – in some ways for me she is coming across as even lovelier than she is shown in the manga. (I thought the beauty with which she was drawn in the first parts of this episode really conveyed a quality of her inner beauty just beginning to bud as well.)
Looking forward to next week, it looks like the two who popped up in this episode to go deep sea diving (wearing the kappa and monkey warmth head mask thingamabobs) will show up in next episode as well, seeing as they go to the same school – so we will likely see more of them interacting with Pikari and Futabu and enriching Futabu’s new group of friends as well! Before I forget, special thanks to passerby from random c dot net for the screenshots I used in this post – I have been wrestling with a nasty summer cold for much of the week and have been at “half mast” much of the time. See you all next week!
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