Fune wo Amu returns with all the stunning qualities that made its first episode such a success: slow pacing, shallow sentimentalism, and one hell of a lively protagonist. Join us on this exciting ride!
It all starts with a party to welcome Majime to the dictionary department. Nishioka shines for his laidback, almost irreverential personality; but the scene always reminds us that Majime is unfortunately this show’s protagonist: he’s the genius they need to make their dictionary! Look, he loves watching people on escalators, that proves it!
Matsumoto-sensei explains to him the purpose of their “The Great Passage” dictionary project. They want a dictionary like a boat, one that allows people to safely navigate the great sea and pick up the words that are like lights afloat. Without dictionaries, people will drown, unable to express their feelings and understand that of others. The Great Passage is meant to be bold about adding new words, thus always helping people as they navigate this sea and its ever-changing currents.
This speech moves Majime. He loves words, after all. And watching people on escalators. That’s why he’s absolutely not fazed when asked to note down all words he encounters and use other mid-size dictionaries as reference, or even when Araki tells him their project may take a whole decade. He too wants to make a steady boat for everyone to board. As Araki says, words are living things, and dictionaries aren’t absolute: what Majime must do is bring his love of words to The Great Passage, and use this passion for the orderly that his observations on escalators show, to make this the most reliable ship possible (a certain show is currently proving ships tend to sink, after all).
Then there’s the pseudo-funny passage with the cute dictionaries doing cute things (which is clearly what this show should have been); unfortunately, we must go back to The Life of Majime – A Serious Comedy for Trivial People.
He goes back home, worried about his capability to get along with everyone at work; but the old woman reassures him, says he should just be honest about everything because “the world is made so people will accommodate you if you work hard to express your feelings”. Because we all know that’s how it is. People will most definitely always reward honesty and goodwill. Can someone take me to the world of Fune wo Amu?
He goes to sleep still worried about what he can do for The Great Passage… but then is woken up by the sounds of Tora-san, that cute (read: fat) cat we saw in the first episode. He embarks on a fascinating adventure (because they really detail his steps as if we needed to see) through the apartment complex until he finally finds the cat… in the arms of Kaguya-hime. How romantic! Does this mark the beginning of the part where Fune wo Amu forgets about dictionaries to focus on how Majime tries to deal with his romantic feelings? Because Majime and romance would probably make for a fascinating mixture, the kind only literature’s scariest witches can produce.
And, come on, look at this girl saying “Oh, you came to get me? How nice of you” like she’s a mysterious princess from outer space or something. That line alone makes it obvious she’ll be utterly dull come daytime.
So… Fune wo Amu still excels at being boring. Once again the dictionary concept isn’t necessarily bad, but the way the concept is only developed through banalities about expressing your feelings honestly and words being the only means to do so kills any interest it may have. Oh, and did we mention the pacing is as slow as Majime’s mind when dealing with day-to-day things? Only Nishioka is colorful, but we follow the grayest protagonist imaginable instead. What’s worse, the show actually accommodates him, allowing to do things his way. The result? A hopelessly slow series without an ounce of depth or interest to it. And it doesn’t look like it’ll be getting any better, seeing the ending.
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