HaruChika – 05

HaruChika - impromptu songs are fun

This show does impromptu songs well

winter15-highw An unusually heavy subject in this week’s HaruChika.

Time Moves On

HaruChika - held off by a little girl

That’s embarrassing, you can’t catch a little girl

They’re not making a huge deal of it explicitly, but it’s interesting how the show has time passing, after obviously showing us at the beginning of the series how long the series is going to cover. Since it’s likely we are going to get to the competition in the second year, they’ve been moving quickly through the first year for Haruta and Chika. After Christmas last episode, we’re now to the end of the school year in March. And that means there will be new students coming in after the spring break.

HaruChika - Maybe her arms will grow a little longer in high school

Maybe Akari’s arm will get longer in high school

But one of them can’t wait, so Akari Goto comes to the school before she’s actually a student to enlist Haruta’s help in figuring out what the person who calls himself her grandfather is talking about when he refers to “Elephant’s Breath”. How does Haruta have a reputation? Who knows. But somehow he’s someone that other middle school band members have talked about, this mystery-solving senpai from the high school. So in order to help Little Miss High Nervous Energy who will be a future bass trombone player in the band, they head off to the hospital to talk to the grandfather.

All is Not as It Seems

HaruChika - paff!

I don’t know if I can blame him, Chika does have some nice legs

So the grandfather seems to be kind of out of it, talking in riddles and not really saying anything, and at the same time enraging Akari, who repeatedly attacks him with a pillow. But it’s pretty clear from the beginning, at least to me, that his confusion and misdirection is mostly an act. And even if Akari is a bit of a pain about it, her character felt pretty authentic to me, the girl who doesn’t really think through things, just goes with what appearances show. That’s pretty normal for a 14-15 year old girl, I think, even if her attacks are a bit of an overreaction. And I think it’s pretty clear that no matter how much Akari doesn’t like him, that her grandmother seems pretty on top of everything that’s going on, and still cares for this person who has finally come back into her life.

HaruChika - arrows and double dates

A double date? And why the arrows? Seems a little much…

The kids fall into a little bit of a perspective problem when looking back at history. Things that seem like they happen one right after the other, like the Watts Riots and then riots in Chicago, really don’t. Even traumatic events have normal days in between them. But it makes for a convenient excuse for Haruta to pull his punches when finally confronting the grandfather. As such, he is able to satisfy Akari’s worry about the sincerity of her grandfather without exposing her to the reality of his situation. In reality, the picture of the elephant that was passed off as being at a zoo in Chicago was from memory of the time he spent in the Vietnam War. But Akari learns anyway.

The Elephant in the Room

HaruChika - the mystery paintings

The meaning is something more than they really want to know

I have to say that I think that we in the US, and even outside of Japan, probably can’t get too good of a read on what the true feelings of this situation are. The Vietnam War is something that was extremely polarizing, and much much different from the way that more modern wars are thought of. The draft, the fact that ordinary people were forced to go into the army against their will, and then in many cases forced to endure the opprobrium of those who didn’t go, ridiculed and ostracized upon their return. To be honest, Vietnam has kind of been stuffed down the memory hole, and veterans of Vietnam still tend to be quiet about it, proud but relatively silent, not heroic and revered like veterans of the Gulf Wars in the US, even as popular opinion turns against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as not achieving as much as hoped.

HaruChika - learning the truth

Akari learns more than they want her to

But if that’s the way it is in the US, I really have to wonder what the opinion of the Vietnam War in Japan is, a country that was fair stuck in the middle of that war. And despite the rah-rah nature of shows like Gate, most Japanese are very averse to war. Add to that that in this situation, Grandfather was drafted, even without being a citizen of the US, to be sent to a war that most Japanese opposed. I think that it’s probably a lot more than any of these children want to think about. And in the end, Akari is convinced that the pain her grandfather is feeling, his worry, is not for reasons that are dishonorable, even if he was in the war, even if he killed someone.


The one thing that bothered me quite a bit in this episode from a story standpoint, and it’s something that’s come up in the show before, is that Mr. Kusakabe seems to be able to immediately solve every single one of these issues. He looked at those pictures for all of 2 seconds before telling Haruta to not investigate them. And in the first episode, he knew what the musical message was from the very beginning. Now, maybe he can understand it with the music, but what is a recent college graduate going to know about Vietnam and defoliants? It feels like there’s a little too much know-it-all in there, and even if he’s not the one solving things, you start wondering why he’s letting the kids bother with this stuff.

HaruChika - Thanks Haruta

Thanks, Haruta…


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

One Response to “HaruChika – 05”

  1. skylion says:

    Mr. Kusakabe seems to be able to immediately solve every single one of these issues

    Yeah, it’s a pattern by now, so that means it’s probably on purpose. But for now I do wonder as you do, what they are tying to the audience. That the show is about how the kids will eventually get on the same page as the adults.

    Or something, cause it’s not like they need to be overt with that….

Leave a Reply