Haruta needs more than just two slaps to his pretty face.
The purpose of these two episodes was pretty clear from the outset: it was to introduce two new characters to the brass band — bespectacled Narushima Miyoko and Chinese-born Maren Sei. Oh, and it was also about Haruta showing off his smarts in the most obnoxious way possible. I actually don’t have a problem if Haruta is a cocky little prick; what I do have a problem with is how incongruous his actions are in comparison to how the show is trying to portray his character.
Haruta’s poor character writing was apparent in both episodes, but it was especially painful in the second episode. Haruta is determined to recruit Miyoko, a skilled oboist who decided to give up band after her younger brother passed away. He invades upon her personal life reaches out to help her find healing and closure by attempting to persuade her to join the brass band. Of course, part of her recovery involved a puzzle left behind by her brother that Haruta easily solved, but also caused a lot of unnecessary grief to Miyoko in the process. This is what drove me crazy; it was clear that Haruta was only helping Miyoko so he could get her to join the band, but the episode kept trying to portray his selfish actions as selfless. Even if the only purpose of a character’s actions is to advance the story, you can’t have a character act a certain way and not face reasonable ramifications.
The poor character writing continued in the third episode, but fortunately there was a lot less melodrama and a little more humor, which Haruchika seems to be better at. Haruta and company go up against the Drama Club in a drama-off to draw saxophonist Maren back to his brass roots. Maren, who was born in China but adopted by American parents, has a predictably dramatic backstory involving his adoption and long-lost biological brother, but never really hit home because his backstory never really seemed in conflict with his musical interests.
Nevertheless, the drama-off and its lead-up was pretty amusing and well-executed, except until the end when it was revealed that the drama-off was all act a set-up to guide Maren back to his long-lost brother — played out in front of a live audience.
Why was such an elaborate set-up necessary? Why did no one say it was not okay to have Maren’s personal issues be brought up in public? How the heck are people okay with Haruta knowing and sharing so much personal information about his peers?
We’ve seen similar set-ups before in Clannad and Little Busters, where the hero goes about trying to rescue random strangers from their despair, all in the name of friendship. The problem is that Haruta’s actions come off as self-serving and showboaty, but most infuriatingly, his drastic actions have no repercussions whatsoever. It just doesn’t make sense, and shows that the writers aren’t terrible concerned with character development as long as the band keeps getting members and the story keeps clipping forward. Haruta’s sexuality was barely mentioned these two episodes, and I almost wish that it’ll get addressed more frequently because it’s the only interesting component of this show right now. It might also be because the show hasn’t had time to mess up with it yet, but I’m trying to remain optimistic here.
- It will indeed ironic indeed if Haruchika ends up like Glasslip, one of P.A. Works most highly anticipated shows that ended up a flaming hot mess, but somehow manages to make a landmark statement about gender and sexuality in anime.
- Haruta, of course, lives alone, and has sisters with whom he apparently doesn’t get along with.
- The most productive and character-revealing thing Chika did these two episodes were those sit-ups in the practice room.
- The drama club president standing up to Haruta was a welcome surprise, until it was revealed that the entire display was a farce.
- Kusakabe-sensei needs to stop acting like an overgrown bishōnen and more like an actual teacher. How he just stood in the same room and did nothing while Haruta emotionally abused Miyoko was preposterous.
- Haruta vehemently suggesting that Chika get external flute lessons instead of private lessons from Kusakabe-sensei was a very small redemption to his character.
- All the better moments of the show involve Chika and Haruta’s back-and-forth banter that are definitely fitting for two childhood friends.