So How Was Fune wo Amu’s (The Great Passage) Premiere?

I have a lot of things I want to do this weekend, so I’m going to have make this quick.

The Adult Characters

I know this show has gotten some pre-hype because of its adult characters and how they were designed by the guy who did Rakugo’s cast, but there’s a difference between characters who are of legal age to be adult and those who are actually adult, and anime has generally leaned towards the former throughout its lifetime. Having said that, the characters are definitely adult. I’m not really sold on any of them yet as individuals since we haven’t really gotten to know anybody but the lead (and even he’s not that developed as of yet), but they have adult problems and handle events in their life without going all chibi or uguu or drag-racing or “happy happy joy joy”, just relying on natural dialogue that us normal human beings use to go about their lives. More importantly, their problems (or at least the lead’s) are a major factor in the story, so there’s enough to them that I can take seriously. We’ll just have to see as the show goes on.

The Visual Style

The animation isn’t exactly great, but there are quite a few moments in this episode where the art direction was allowed to really shine in a way that makes me go “yeah, this is why I like anime”. That image I’m using above indicates a no-dialogue scene near the end where one of the characters sees everything in words, which is used to indicate how much language encompasses our world and everyday actions, and it should be obvious that I thought that was pretty cool. There’s some other stuff like a sea of words to express the main character’s emotions regarding how he has no direction with his talent along with this weird edutainment section that reminds of Moyashimon if you replace bacteria trivia with dictionary trivia, but I don’t have the time to really analyze that sort of stuff now. So let’s just say that I like how at its best, this show gets that animation isn’t just an aesthetic. It’s something that can be used to accomplish cool things that you can’t do with live-action.

The Overall Plot

The plot of this show is basically what you see in the premise. Some ordinary office worker named Mitsuya is roped into writing a dictionary for his company when his superiors notice his great word skill. I’m not familiar enough with the world of dictionary-writing to really analyze it, but I know enough about the fundamentals to understand that if it was easy to do, a lot more people would be doing it. And if it wasn’t such a big deal, there wouldn’t be so many different editions in your local library. As such, whilst the issue he’s faced with isn’t high-stakes, there’s enough going on to make what’s happening feel important so far. No one cracks jokes at the overall goal beyond maybe the occasional light jab and the show does not go for the easy shots in regards to what dictionary-writing entails. As such, I think Fune wo Amu has built up a good grounding for what’s to come with its premiere.

Conclusion

Like Rakugo before it, Fune wo Amu is not going to be to everyone’s taste as the concept of writing a dictionary is very niche and there’s no anime-isms to draw in the nerd crowd. However, I think the idea of writing in general is relatable enough for me to give this a shot, and while I’m not expecting anything on the level of Adaptation or Run Melos!, I have hopes that the show will get more dramatic over time. It’s fine for now, but I’m not really into the current slice-of-life mode this show is using to handle Mitsuya’s desire to write a dictionary. Stories without tension will never not be boring to me, and right now, the only tension I’m getting is for him to succeed in life due to the occasional hints that it’s not quite ideal, thus the opportunity to utilize his unique talents is the escape he needs. It fixes that and I can see this being a pretty solid show.

I guess I could watch the live-action movie and see if my desire comes true, but A) the anime is not the live-action film (duh) B) I can’t find subs for it.

Minor Quips

  • I’ll stop using illegal subs when Amazon Prime stops cocking things up with their releases.
  • Incidentally, I’ve been rewatching Aoi Bungaku lately, and man it’s even better than before. Especially the Run Melos! section.

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