One of the more interesting things with seeing an adaptation being made is the choices that are sometimes used based on the source material – choices based on the difference in mediums presenting the material in, yes, but also choices based on the perceived audience or different aspects of the story proper that are felt to be more “relevant” or powerful or important, and so on. And in this episode, as with episode 5 from last season’s Flying Witch, we finally see J.C. Staff pull out the anime original content while shuffling material around and the result. On the whole in and of itself I do not think it bad, necessarily. I know plenty of anime-only viewers who felt everything was fine. But for the source readers it was a surprise, and many were left at the end of the episode not quite knowing what to think of the result.
Regarding the episode proper, there were two halves. The first half of the episode, taken from chapter 14, focuses on Futaba in the process of acquiring a level of certification that will allow her to dive with a buddy in ocean waters, and her grading instructor in this case is Kotori-sensei. The normal sort of practices, like how to fully put on one’s gear both by oneself and in coordination with another person (some of this was shown in episode 4 at the beach, for example, between the twins checking each other’s equipment), actions and habits necessary for calmly responding to events that take place while under the water and such. And one of the ones Kotori-sensei puts repeated emphasis on is mask-clearing, something viewers will remember Futaba has some difficulty with. In any event Futaba is able to do all of these things.
Meanwhile lurking at the other end of the pool unbeknownst to Futaba and Kotori-sensei are Pikari and the twins, and stealthy rejoicing does indeed take place until an unexpected bomb is dropped. After removing all the diving equipment Kotori-sensei in passing suggests that Futaba swim a certain distance (I presume as part of the certification) when Futaba nervously mentions that … she does not know how to swim. Needless to say both Kotori-sensei and the lurkers at the far end of the pool are all shocked, even flabbergasted beyond belief. And when Futaba indeed does try to swim … she proves that not only does she not know how to swim, she does not even know how to float. Unsurprisingly this puts off the certification for a little while and leaves Futaba a bit discouraged once again, but on the other hand we see Futaba consciously struggling with herself NOT to give up.
It is in the framework of this conscious struggle that the second half of the episode takes place, which draws its material from chapter … 7. Yes, from a chapter that took place 7 chapters BEFORE the certification test at the pool where it was discovered Futaba did not know how to swim. The essential content of the second half of the episode is Kotori-sensei, Futaba and Pikari all taking a break and deciding to go somewhere together, and Pikari suggests a seaside driving rest stop she knows. At the rest stop Futaba is encouraged to go forward by both Kotori-sensei and Pikari. And to that extent the material from the source and the adaptation is the same. (And by the way, in the source material in this chapter Pikari and Futaba both looked a bit lovelier than they did as animated here, although they did fine with Kotori-sensei in my opinion.)
What makes everything different here is the context in which everything was framed and the resulting point towards which the scene pointed the characters. One of the biggest reference points that came to mind might be the specific words used on the wish ribbon. In the manga there were none, and the wish was associated with stepping forward out into the “vast expanse”, as it were. It was an overall act of resolve to step forward. (I think the opening moments of the teru teru bozu were also anime original, but am not sure.) For me what they essentially did was take some of the “punch” out of the “size” of chapter 7’s impact and make it “small”. Which is not “wrong” in my opinion necessarily (in terms of adaptation choices, I mean); I just preferred the chronology in the manga in presenting Futaba’s growth on this point.
All of that aside the episode itself was quite lovely and fit in plenty fine in the overall narrative thus far. And it is, of course, true that it is important to set small, practical goals at times in learning new things. Learning to be patient with oneself covers a whole panorama of ways, just as being able to articulate what one wishes for, evaluating one’s desires and if approved learning how to practically go about reaching out towards them. Just as Futaba is doing right now. See you all next week! ^^
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