HaruChika – 08

HaruChika - Naoko outweirds Chika

Naoko can certainly be a weird one, can’t she?

winter15-highw I may get no comments, or just comments from skylion, but I still think this is an interesting show, and the angle of interest actually changed for me rather significantly this episode. How so? Well…

Was Your First Love True Love?

HaruChika - There's a special closeness for these two

There’s a closeness with these two that’s very interesting to me, from their first meeting.

“First love” is a rather fraught subject, as is just about anything involving teenagers, I’d say. Before anyone actually knows what love is, they’re all of a sudden a bundle of twangy nerves and a container for raging hormones. So the ideas of “puppy love” and “crushes” and all sorts of ways of handwaving these feelings around are invented. But as we learned from Sixteen Candles (well, at least my generation did), crushes can still hurt: “That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.” To bring us around to this week’s episode, where Naoko’s aunt is trying to find out if her First Love was really love. There’s quite a bit more going on, including a metaphorical story about Bejant feeding the Forest Animals, and Purestal feeding the birds, onigiri. Given the circumstances we learn at the end, there was a good reason for Bejant to ostracize Purestal from the group, although I am really not sure if I want to find out the reason that Bejant was trying to exact vengeance on the others, or would be in a position to do so. Much like the earlier story about Vietnam, there was an extremely serious story hiding underneath the surface of the metaphorical telling.

HaruChika - Hatsukoi Sommelier

Apart from the corny outfit, not a bad gig. Who has cuffs like that?

It’s also understandable how Naoko is worried about this situation, since her ticket out of her house, her aunt, seems to be having second thoughts, although that’s mostly a non-factor in the end. But it’s also understandable that her aunt wants to try to divine Bejant’s true feelings for her. It’s mostly an intellectual exercise, since she’s already learned that he is dead, but things like that still matter to us humans.

HaruChika - life with Bejant

Bejant and Purestal

The Real Angle of the Show

HaruChika - A nice friendship

Reflecting on the direction of their lives

I’ve mentioned before in these posts about how it seems that the ‘mysteries’ that Haruta and Chika (and various others) are figuring out are already known by adults like Kusakabe-sensei. And I’ve finally realized that that’s the point of the show. It’s not about unearthing some great truths. The real point of the show is to show us these children growing up, learning about the (not-so) ‘secret’ world of adults. Learning about responsibility and tact and privacy and shame and forgiveness, not in the bright primary colors of childhood but in the nuanced pastels of adulthood. And it’s not one of those things that they clang you over the head with. It’s just like adulthood itself: it sneaks up on you, and you only realize it in hindsight that “Oh, I’ve been an adult for a while.”

HaruChika - Learning all the truths

Obstacles removed. Plus, I want one of those cheapy clear umbrellas

The other thing that HaruChika is doing is showing the ways that history is passed on from generation to generation. When we ‘know’ something, we know the story of it. We know the plot points of history, we know the reactions, we know the actors. But internally, that understanding is very different from being able to pass it on. And this show is giving us a look at that process: the unpacking of the story elements to pass them on, the consideration of them, the deliberation about their meanings, and then finally the repackaging by the next generation into the story they understand. And rather than showing us one story or the other story, HaruChika is showing us a little bit of the process of learning those things.


I think that my enjoyment of the show went up quite a lot when I realized what it really seems like it’s doing. I think that showing the process of growing up is one of those difficult things to attempt, and difficult things to pull off, especially in a manner that’s as subtle as this, and I really want to applaud PA Works for trying it. Although, you have to say that it’s not exactly a new theme for them, since most of their shows have a significant ‘coming of age’ angle. And quite a few of them are critical “misses”, although in my mind that speaks much more to the quality of the critics than to the quality of the shows. Rewarding the viewer for seeing the reason for the story is advanced storytelling to my mind, and something that almost nobody in the anime space ever tries besides PA Works, and it makes me very glad there is a studio that will do this. And maybe now I’ll go watch some of my Blu-Ray of Glasslip. And thanks to skylion for the pre-post discussion of the themes of the show.


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!
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4 Responses to “HaruChika – 08”

  1. skylion says:

    …I just respect how much that song is AMHs’ jam. He really does own it don’t he?

    Storytellers don’t pack 22 minutes worth of animation with mistakes…not typically. So when they go out on such an oblique angle, such as portraying the creatures of the forest as characterizations, then something is up. Faerie tales are more than just something for Disney to rip off and repackage to the wan complacency of a middle-class. It’s passing the story on. This one even had the danger element to it.

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    I myself had already figured what haruchika was trying to do with its “mysteries”. My main issue with the series is that it doesnt execute it well enough; Either it’s overwrought or too bland to back any punch. Hyouka, a decently good show that im sure many are tired of having this show be compared to did the whole “mystery as an expansion of character analysis” thing better.

    On a side note, i at least appreciate the interpersonal dynamic between haru and chika however i dont like how the show plays with their roles within the plot; it never feels like chika is relevant enough in the solving of these mysteries. Chika should be the watson to Haru’s sherlock but it almost never feels that way and i think that’s a missed opportunity because there’s potential in chika (and sarah emi birdcut’s voice acting is a plus) and what she could be for the story.

    • Highway says:

      Pretty much the point of what I was trying to get across was that this show *isn’t* like Hyouka at all. What I’m saying is that HaruChika isn’t about learning about Haruta, or Chika, or Naoko, or Miyoko, or even Kusakabe. It’s about finding out that there’s an adult world that is far more meaningful than the world of children, and how children grow up into that world and learn about it.

      I think it’s not about the mysteries at all. There’s no sleuthing, there’s no uncovering, there’s none of that at all. There’s not even any mystery. What it is is being able to finally put connections to all the things that the adults already know, building the pathways that will allow them to be adults. But even then, I think it’s not trying to tell us anything about the characters in this show, other than they are growing up, and that each one of those times they do, there’s a bit of a melancholy reaction.

      The only kind of character growth I think we’re seeing is that Chika is starting to understand those connections on her own, even as she continues to lag behind the others. She realizes Naoko is losing her hearing by putting together the threads. Chika knows herself, she needs to learn the rest of the world. In contrast, Hyouka looked the other direction: Houtarou could see the connections between others, but was unable to see his own place in the world. That’s why that show was about the character growth of Houtarou, and showed the others at the same time.

      • sonicsenryaku says:

        I get what your point is but i still see the whole portraying the adult world through these mysteries as a sub category of character expansion; except in this case the character is adolescence. This show isnt like hyouka, but it still attempts to use its mysteries as a vehicle to provide meaning to what growing up entails and its there that i think the shows writing kinda falls flat at. Im also aware that the show isnt really about the mysteries; Ive never looked at the mysteries in this show in a traditional sense; heck i never even expected the mysteries to be complex. However, i did expect them to represent the themes of the series in a meaningful way, and if not that, then at least paint this adult world that the children are exploring in a way that we see how these adolescents grow and learn from what they’ve seen and apply those lessons to their day to day life.

        For the most part, these eps just come and go. Im not engrossed by what is being portrayed here; slightly interested due to the potential, but not engrossed. I watch hoping that i do find something that makes me go “ahhh, now that was worthwhile” because yea, there is potential for some neat stuff and i see it

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