I hate recap episodes. They just feel like a cheap way of adding in another episode number and are entirely unnecessary. Viewers tend not to lose track of things to the point where they need more than a moment of reminder or flashback. No matter how much I enjoy the original events, having them fed back to be in a straight highlghts episode is always aggavating. But if one wasn’t bad enough, here there are almost two episodes of recap without any new footage during that time and barely even any new narration. However, we do get a small but rich reward for not just skipping the episodes, as tempting as that might be, at the second half of episode 15.
Thankfully half way through the second episode this week there was actually some new material. It didn’t make up for the time wasted with one and a half episodes of recap, but at least it was new and relevant. As summer vacation and Arima’s absence continues we get to see some more of how he and Yukino are dealing with it, focusing on their phone calls to each other. The only interaction with Arima is over the phone from Yukino’s perspective, and we don’t actually see him except in her and Asaba’s memories. Yukino goes through the full, believable range of emotions of a long distance relationship, even if this state will only continue for a short time. She has the high of hearing his voice and thinking how good it sounds, then starts feeling down because she can’t see him. Her confidence goes down for a bit thinking about her situation, and she starts to wonder how well she knows him. But after anothher phone call and some laughs about Arima growing taller again, the humor and warm memories bring her back to her feeling of upbeat love, even if it’s tinged with a bit of loneliness.
Oh so shy one moment…
…then bow chicka wow wow.
The many faces and emotions of the phone call. All so different, all so Yukino.
The other part of the half episode turns to Asaba, who is at the Miyazawa’s impressing Yukino’s sisters and enraging her father after the latter wouldn’t let them go to the pool together with him. Asaba’s time with the Miyazawas brings up the fact that he’s living on his own on account of not getting along with his father. He says that it’s not a huge deal to him, though he has a bit of resentment to his voice at times. Similar to how Arima feels about the Miyazawas, he tells Yukino that she AND Arima are lucky to have such close families that get along with each other. Yukino again starts thinking about how much she knows Arima, this time through the lens of his friendship with Asaba.
In your house, getting kyaaa’d over by your daughters.
Asaba is going for the harem end, pokemon style (gotta catch em all!)
Asaba’s dreams denied. I was hoping that Kare Kano was too high class for a beach/pool episode, glad they got out of it creatively.
Missing Arima already? Maybe he was going for a Hikaru/Kaoru dynamic to create his Mary Land.
Final Thoughts: -Recap episodes can be fun if a new spin or perspective is put on the events. Sometimes this can be done using some of the old footage with some new added in, or it can be arranged according to one character’s point of view to give the old footage new life. Gundam SEED Destiny managed to make an early recap episode into something different by having Shin relate things from his perspective with the scenes of the past arranged in a way that formed his personal narrative, for example. Unfortunately this was not an example of how to be creative with a recap episode. It was actually one of the blandest approaches to one I’ve ever seen.
-While it was all too short since it was attached to a half episode of recap, the way that Yukino felt about her temporarily long distance relationship was very realistic. If you’ve ever been in one, you’ll know right from the first phone call how spot on it was. With the exception of wondering how well she knows Arima, I could personally identify with all the emotions she displayed (and those communicated by Arima in his voice too.) Taking realism the whole nine yards, it was a great choice not to show Arima on the other end of the line, just zooming in on the phone chord and numberpad when he and Yukino had their conversations. I can’t say enough about how true to life those scenes were; the loving but yearning verbal conversations, but the lack of actually seeing the other person made it feel very very real.
- Several of the characters, most frequently Yukino, have tended to look at and explore other characters though the lenses of a third character. Arima has looked at Yukino in the context of her family, Tsubasa at Arima through Yukino, and the latest example is how Yukino is starting to look at Arima through his friendship with Asaba. The lenses approach to character development is a good one to use when a show is taking a limited individual perspective approach to another character. Even though we often get Arima point of view scenes, he’s seen in a more complete way by having his personal relationships analyzed. More than wah Yukino would glean from her direct relationship with him, and more than he would bring up in his own internal dialogue, viewing him (or the other characters) this way was a very effective technique.