Archive for September 29th, 2008

Xam’d: Lost Memories: Haru Is Still Far Away

A Haru screenshot! This isn’t something that happens every day! I have no character favoritism going on at all! Also isn’t my cross-language title pun humorous? That’s exactly what I thought!

Episodes 10 and 11 seem to be a kind of turning point for the series (arguably the entire series could be described as one big huge turning point that never ends and turns in random directions at unexpected times, but I digress). 10 was mostly the turning point for Haru, who, essentially, now has the added problem of being unable to actually live up to her own desires without having the arbitrary structure of the military get in her way. As Toujirou points out to her, she is doing the “right thing” as far as he’s concerned, but the “right thing” is not for the military, and if her performance and reliability continue to degrade, then the looming threat of a court-martial will have to be exercised.

This, of course, sets her off down memory lane, back to the last major (plot-relevant) event of her life: her mother’s death. Almost casually, in the flashback sequence, she mentions that she was upset with Akiyuki, who’d beaten her earlier that day in a race (and, presumably, took great pleasure in informing her that he had, in fact, beaten her, as elementary school children trying to hide affection are wont to do). The race and its aftermath are swiftly forgotten when the news of her mother’s death via military vehicle hits, and off she dashes–and, without realizing it, beating the concerned Akiyuki in the race to get to the hospital (and also forgetting that one of her shoes had fallen off, which must have made the run terribly difficult).

Whether consciously or unconsciously, throughout the series proper, Haru and Akiyuki have, in essence, been in a race of sorts–not a race against each other, but a race for each other. While Haru struggles to deal with the potential reality that Akiyuki might be dead (and making a decision to join the military in the meantime), Akiyuki is trying his best to do what he can to send word to her (and, through her, his estranged father and mother) that he is, in fact, alive, and trying to return home. After the letter is sent and arrives in Haru’s hands, she then tries to find a place to meet up with Akiyuki–which happens to be in direct contradiction to her military orders.

This is where it gets difficult for Haru. Paradoxically, to chase after Akiyuki, she now has to abandon that as a goal in order to acheive it through the military. Part of me wonders how much is an actual shift in her own mentality, and how much is her forcibly supressing her own emotions and feelings–like a good soldier should– by shearing herself of her hair. The hair hasn’t actually been said to mean anything in particular as a plot point, yet undoubtedly taking up the shears in the shower was highly symbolic of her presumably forced abandonment of the past, of Akiyuki, of, well, everything that she holds dear.

[insert a reference to the story of Samson here]

This wound up being more about 10 than 11, but, in an effort to level the, uh, not-favoritism going on here, there will be a lot more about 11 when I get the time to do something on Nakiami, who, herself, is as interesting and nuanced as Haru is, except that I don’t have an inexplicable love affair literary fondness for her as I do Haru. Akiyuki, unfortunately, is just kind of…there…at the moment, but surely things will perk up soon for him, right?



I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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September 2008