Fune wo Amu returns somewhat improved: incredibly flat as it may be, the lack of pretentious concepts devoid of any interest in favor of simple emotional exploration and comedy makes the whole more bearable.
Majime wakes up, relieved that his encounter with Kaguya was a mere dream… but falls back into a state of general panic when he finds her at the front of his door. He can’t drag the first word out of his mouth while she politely introduces herself as Hayashi’s granddaughter and a Japanese chief in training at Apricot… who’ll be staying in this very apartment complex for a while. To live under the same roof as the object of one’s love! How blissful!
Except when one’s name is Majime, that is. Nishioka catches him on way to work, but can’t approach someone who would fit in perfectly during a zombie apocalypse. He’s fine and productive at work, however, even forcing his coworker to help him out – the collective effort is the first time we see Nishioka having fun finding the subtle distinctions between words and expressions.
Yet this all stops when Majime runs headfirst into a word which reminds him of this tragic morning. He’s statuesque, can barely put two words together, but says more than enough: he’s in love… and is a virgin! Would you believe it? Someone like Majime! A virgin!
Having gotten past the shock of this stunning obviousness, we find the crew gathered for their monthly meeting. Matsumoto-sensei speaks of the field named IT, and how given their vision for a dictionary bold about its word inclusion, they should strive to look into IT-related words. This is what creating a dictionary means: to always be curious, and to do away with one’s biases. At least there’s a good lesson here, making this one of the show’s better passages so far.
But then Nishioka drives the discussion into the subject of Majime’s virginity. Araki is reluctant at first, but Matsumoto says these topics of daily life are important, especially for people like him who haven’t had much experience with family and love life due to the amount of money and time they’ve invested in The Great Passage. And soon they decide to have dinner at Apricot; Majime is on the brink of collapsing, but doesn’t have the time to retort.
Seeing her working, everyone is stunned: she’s beautiful, and speaking with her only raises their appreciation. She’s serious and hardworking, determined to take as many years as needed to become a full-fleshed Japanese chef; her endeavor is not dissimilar to theirs, as people ready to give the dictionary’s completion all the time it requires. At least Majime is on board with that mindset: surely he’ll work hard to convey Kaguya his feelings.
On the way back, he compliments Nishioka, presenting him as the man he wants to become. He wants to depend on him in order to better express these feelings; and in spite of his usual attitude, says this with a sudden dash of enthusiasm which makes Nishioka reflect on the time spent helping him today. He genuinely felt it fun (perhaps because it was a collective effort with someone who loves this work to an infectious extent?); and when Majime walks up to him, looking up to the beautiful full moon (a totally subtle Kaguya reference), he tells himself things may just get fun from here on out.
We’re sorry Nishioka, you’re a great man, but we’re inclined to disagree.
This episode’s essential quality lies in how it mixes mocking Majime’s character (because frankly such a flat person deserves nothing but mockery) and straightforward character moments. While it was surprising to see someone like him accept his love so easily (generally those of his kind try to deny their feelings, mostly because they have no idea what love is like at first), prolonging the feeling that the pacing is strange as it oscillates between fairly easy-going and bursts in speed, seeing him in love wasn’t entirely displeasing; it’s a most simple thing, but the lighthearted approach and Kaguya’s charm made it bearable. Furthermore, the whole dictionary aspect was still present, but generally rid of the shallow pretentiousness and sentimentalism which defined it earlier. As a result, this was Fune wo Amu’s most acceptable entry; but let’s not get our hopes up, this is shallow no matter which angle we take, and Majime probably can’t carry any sort of serious character-based drama.
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