Adachi and Shimamura – Episode 3

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time! Today we’re returning to Adachi and Shimamura, where I believe we last left off with our leads acting like hopeless and hopelessly gay weirdoes. Let me just confirm that…

Yep, confirmed, our very last scene was dominated by Adachi thinking about how loud her bones are while she sat in Shimamura’s lap. The girl has got it bad, and while Shimamura is a bit better at playing it cool, I can’t imagine she’s used to this level of intimacy, either. The two are a delightfully mismatched pair of messes, with Adachi clearly struggling from some deeply ingrained social phobias, while Shimamura casts around aimlessly for a “bright future.” Adachi is already beginning to wonder how much of Shimamura’s fascination with her is genuine, so I’m guessing we’ve got some rough seas approaching. Either way, I’m eager to dive back into this wonderfully character-rich production!

Episode 3

At last, the astronaut girl has removed her helmet! In spite of her changed look, every aesthetic element of this opening sequence emphasizes that it’s her; she’s always accompanied by this echoey vocal effect, these lethargic slow motion shots, and these sparkly visual embellishments

Her hair also glows. I still haven’t the foggiest idea what this farcical, fantastical creature is doing in this otherwise mundane character drama

Extremely abrupt transition from her goofiness back to Adachi internally screaming “MY NOISY BONES”

Adachi just straight-up stands up and flees the house entirely. This gay disaster

“She was trying to say something. Could it be… no, it couldn’t be.” Oh come on, Shimamura! She’s normally very emotionally perceptive (so much so that she doesn’t take any offense at Adachi’s flight, since she knows Adachi is just like that), so I’m surprised she can’t parse Adachi’s infatuation. Then again, she’s been consistently misinterpreting Adachi’s aloofness as confidence or independence, rather than insecurity or loneliness. As teenagers, we tend to assume everyone else has it figured out more fully than we do, and thus often assign more flattering motives to their behavior, when frequently they’re struggling just as much as we are

“I keep having regrets like this, and I can’t seem to learn from them.” Shimamura is in that precise, exhausting Hachiman position – smart enough to be aware of her failings, but not mature enough to grow out of them

Also like Hachiman, she has a pretty great relationship with her sister. Adding a sibling is useful when sketching out a character like this; Shimamura generally has her defenses and public affectation up around anyone else, so giving her a sibling allows us to see her true face, as she interacts with someone she’s not worried about impressing

“I can’t help but feel that Adachi is like a cat that got all worked up, climbed a tree, and now can’t back down.” Vaguely insulting, but also entirely correct. Shimamura has such a leg up on Adachi in terms of emotional intelligence that she can pretty easily hypothesize Adachi’s reasoning; her only blind spot is Adachi’s feelings for her, which are likely clouded by Shimamura’s feelings of self-loathing. If we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it!

Shimamura only realizes how close she’s become to Adachi once her friends mention it. She’s also entirely forgotten about eating lunch, too preoccupied by Adachi’s absence

Very organic dialogue between her friends. They actually roast each other, and their lines bounce off each other naturally, progressing the conversation. You’d think that’s a low bar, but a fair percentage of anime just feature people reciting archetype-appropriate canned lines at each other, barely conducting a real conversation. I got ten whole episodes into a certain hit show on my latest watch attempt, before that tendency finally killed my stamina

Yeah, Shimamura genuinely thinks she’s a pretty bad person. She recognizes that she’d probably get over Adachi ghosting her in about three days, but also recognizes most people would respond to such a declaration with “how can you be so callous!?” So she just bottles up her antisocial instincts, and assumes there’s something fundamentally wrong with her

Shimamura meets our astronaut friend. “My face is complete now, so I thought I’d come find you.” What the hell

The astronaut assumed all humans dressed like astronauts. I suppose if you’re coming from the moon, that’s a fairly sensible deduction

Space girl attempting to leap at Shimamura’s ear to whisper something is terrific. The animators are clearly playing favorites here

This show’s focus on legs is dubious at the best of times, but doubly so when they’re lingering over this tiny girl. Why must anime be so inexhaustibly horny

“I believe that you were born to meet me.” Interesting. That seems like a charged line

Adachi answers the door in her pajamas. Seems like she actually might have been sick for real

“Is she fixing her bedhead, or changing? That seems like a bit much just to talk to me.” Once again, one of Shimamura’s major blind spots is her inability to believe other people would like her, based in her insecurities regarding how much of her personality she has to conceal from society

While we hear Shimamura’s thoughts, Adachi’s feelings are conveyed visually, through how she fusses with her hands and averts her eyes while talking. I feel like Naoko Yamada may have permanently upgraded anime’s approach to character acting; shows like this and Wonder Egg Priority are demonstrating that we’ve entered a post-Yamada age, where her innovations are now assumed tools of character-focused animation

Shimamura begins to leave, and Adachi follows her. The camera shifts to capture them in profile, emphasizing how the allure of Shimamura draws Adachi out of the shell of her home

“I’m sure you’d feel awful if I caught your cold, so I’ll head home.” In spite of being preoccupied with Adachi all day, Shimamura can’t help but toy with her, and force Adachi to admit she actually wants to hang out. She definitely has a bit of a sadistic streak; then again, it is both easy and hilarious to make Adachi uncomfortable

Adachi can’t quite manage “go on a date with me,” but she does at least ask to hang out. Having watched airing anime for almost a decade now, it’s wonderful seeing the medium embrace more casual, overtly gay relationships in real time

Also seems like the show is making a motif of that bright orange sunset. This scene visually echoes the end of the astronaut scene, and that strange “you were born to meet me” line

Oh interesting, now we’re jumping to Nagafuji and Hino, Shimamura’s friends. We’re even hearing Nagafuji’s internal voice!

Huh. An extremely brief interlude, ending in them reaffirming their childhood friendship. I wonder if this might have been a pair of 4koma epilogues in the original manga, as it seems like a weirdly disjointed inclusion here. One of the many quirks of adapting between the two mediums; manga can deflate the tension of a chapter through a 4koma epilogue, but there’s no equivalent mechanism in animation

Aw, Adachi’s smile as she sees Shimamura is heartwarming

“Shimamura in her normal clothes… she’s so insanely cute.” Adachi has got it SO BAD

“To put it simply, I am an alien from the future.” “I just think of her as that one weird kid in the neighborhood.” Shimamura always feeling stranded between her actual desires and her strong instinct to troll everyone makes her extremely relatable

And Adachi is quite relatable in her own way; as someone who also suffers from major social anxiety, learning someone I don’t know will be joining some event always prompts that flight-or-flight reflex

Adachi’s getting quite annoyed, which is understandable; she went outside her comfort zone to invite Shimamura on this date, and now this annoying space gremlin is monopolizing Shimamura’s attention

Space Girl is actually sorta pushing them together though, by creating a bit of a rival dynamic

“Adachi… could you not grab at my pudge?” Heroic translation choice there

“Am I your little sister, too?” Adachi keeps accidentally stumbling over extremely flirty lines. She’s too romantically oblivious to recognize when she’s being romantic

“I figured it out. It’s only difficult because the pins are so far away.” At last, bowling has been solved

Space Girl says she likes Shimamura, and Adachi immediately ascends into a celestial oneness with the universe

Adachi is such a kid! She gets so jealous about Shimamura doting over this tiny child

Shimamura sees spending time with Adachi as “wearing away” at her fundamental nature. It’s similar to how Araragi framed his own isolation at the start of Monogatari; any changes they make in their behavior for the sake of others is a sacrifice of their fundamental self. But only the young have the privilege of believing they possess some Platonian “perfect self” that they must compromise for the sake of others; if you live long enough, you realize you will be a variety of different people over the course of your life, and that’s actually a healthy thing

And Done

Well, that was certainly some meaty character drama! This episode offered all sorts of material to dig into, fleshing out Adachi and Shimamura’s individual personalities, as well as complicating their dynamic as a pair. Shimamura’s worries aren’t misplaced; her personality as it exists now can’t really gel with society as a whole, and learning to be considerate of Adachi will undoubtedly change her. Meanwhile, it’s clear Adachi is just plain under-socialized, and utterly unequipped to handle her current infatuation. They’re each complicated and distinctive messes, and I’m eager to see how they continue to make life difficult for each other.

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