Adachi and Shimamura – Episode 4

5 months ago 62

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. You all ready to enjoy some Adachi and Shimamura? Well, “enjoy” might not be the appropriate word for this show. After all, the bulk of its running time is frequently comprised of Adachi and Shimamura coexisting in uncomfortable silence, while Shimamura reflects on how this relationship might be reshaping her self-image, and Adachi screams GIRL HOT GIRL HOT internally at the highest possible volume.

They make for an interesting pairing; Adachi’s understanding of her emotions is so limited that she’s basically running on feral instincts, while Shimamura is deeply self-reflective, but not so mature that she can actually reach healthy, productive conclusions from her personal reflections. Ultimately, each of them are fascinated by the other, but possibly more afraid of getting hurt than they are enticed by the idea of being loved. It’s precisely the kind of messy, honest emotional disconnect I love to dig into, and it’s been too long regardless since we last checked in with these anxious kids. Let’s dive back into Adachi and Shimamura!

Episode 4

We return to Shimamura’s fantasies of sinking beneath a deep sea, or under a heavy snowfall. As Shimamura grows closer to Adachi, she feels herself compromising on her natural instincts, shifting her behavior to accommodate the needs of another. Like many adolescents, she sees this process as a loss of her fundamental self – like she’s being “forced to lie” in order to get along in society, instead of maintaining her own purity of perspective, a sharpness she clearly values. In truth, this friction is the natural result of necessity preceding understanding

Right now, all she knows is that if she wants to keep hanging around with Adachi, she must temper her instincts, which feels like a lie. Eventually, she’ll hopefully come to understand that all engagement with society requires some internal mediation of her feelings – that in fact, her ability to recognize this necessity puts her ahead of many others in terms of understanding social interactions, and that learning to coexist with others need not diminish your own individual humanity. And even beyond that, a person like Shimamura, if she commits herself to growth and self-improvement, will eventually realize that changing because of others is not a bad thing. Jaded, self-absorbed teenager Shimamura does not truly have it all figured out, and is not compromising on any iron-clad values by moderating her own behavior. Through compromising for others, we frequently learn our initial perspective was actually wrong, or limited in its understanding – but until you’ve reached that recognition, it feels a lot like playing nice for people who lack your level of insight

Incidentally, there is also the possibility of not moderating your behavior, not attempting to coexist with others, and not learning from their distinct experiences. You see those folks all the time online, still certain they are absolutely correct in their every belief, still convinced the reason no one likes them is there’s some massive conspiracy

She dreams of being “freed from her body.” In spite of her worries about Adachi, it’s clear that she’s equally uncertain of her identity in the abstract. Part of her fascination with Adachi stems from her toying with the possibility that a life with Adachi is one potential “future her”

Meanwhile, her sister is being harassed by the astronaut

Maybe this space girl felt more appropriate in the original novel? I dunno, she always feels like such a strange addition here. If anything, I suppose she kinda pokes holes in the self-seriousness of the main two, emphasizing the ephemeral, adolescent nature of this whole conflict

Oh my god Shimamura, you’re as bad at this as Adachi. She “subtly” tries to invite Adachi over by saying “I can’t do sit ups unless someone is holding my feet.” Extremely smooth moves, Shimamura

Shimamura’s idea of exercise is half a sit up and five minutes of walking. I can relate

And her response to being asked if she goes to school is “you see me leave every day, right?” What a smartass

“I’ve always taught you not to be a burden to those around you, right?” A lesson Shimamura might have learned too well, given her current inability to unload her feelings on anyone

Shimamura’s feelings as she describes them actually verge pretty closely on depression. A feeling of emptiness, non-being, and the sense that you’re purely an inconvenience to those around you. Many people don’t necessarily want to actively die, but do think it might be better if they didn’t exist

Then she runs into an actual pedophile at the pool, which is played as awkward comedy. Great

And then she runs into Adachi’s mom, who says she doesn’t like her because she “likes being the youngest one here.” Real one-two punch of ugly anime tropes

Shimamura’s closeness to Adachi seems clear in how she immediately orients herself relative to Adachi’s mother, reflecting on how Adachi is never willing to talk about her parents

They use that classic style of lowering a character’s head and fully shading their eyes into invisibility for Shimamura, emphasizing her overcast feelings as Adachi’s mother continues to put down her own daughter. Shimamura holds so much of herself in reserve, but actually can’t stand to hear Adachi demeaned like this

Shimamura ends this flash of sincerity and maturity with some profoundly immature flair, as she suggests the two of them engage in a sauna survival battle

Shimamura is rightfully trying to defend her friend, but she’s out of her depth in asking Adachi’s mom to “start being a good mother.” At the moment, Shimamura has difficulty expanding her perspective to acknowledge the disparate interiority of someone else. Every time she tries, she feels like she’s “losing part of herself” – but truly perceptive people don’t just hide within their own mental fortress, they try their best to honestly imagine the internal lives of others

“Yesterday, my mom had dinner with me. It was weird and nostalgic, but also kind of suffocating. I was too anxious to taste any of the food.” An awkward result for Shimamura’s efforts, but also a necessary first step. Families can rarely be repaired through one gesture like that – if anything, a shared dinner only aggravates their mutual feelings of discomfort. Unlike in stories, in reality, relationships you’re dedicated to repairing demand time – you will not be comfortable with each other the first time, or even the fifth time, but exposure is the only way to regain familiarity, and eventually comfort. I wouldn’t expect this show to be so simplistic in its characterization as to “fix” Adachi’s family situation with this one act, but I’m nonetheless happy to see it respecting the complexity of her conflict

Oh my god these two. In spite of their anxieties, they just can’t help getting physically intimate

Shimamura resets the increasingly fraught situation by returning to the sit up issue, a shift in tone visually conveyed by her sitting up from Adachi’s lap, thus creating a separation between them in the bars of the gym

Oh my god, this response to Shimamura seeing Adachi’s panties is so, so painful. Adachi is embarrassed precisely because it’s the person she likes, but she can’t actually articulate that, so she ends up having to awkwardly defend her unintended earnest words, and then just change the subject. This girl is a mess

“I guess nothing can ever change in just a day.” Shimamura with the thematic tether here, connecting her sit up issues and Adachi’s family ones

Yashiro the space girl is now plying Shimamura and her sister with snacks

Shimamura tells her sister not to believe that Yashiro is an alien, but Yashiro is literally glowing. It doesn’t seem all that improbable at this point

Shimamura strong-arms Adachi into another social event with her other friends. She’s gotten pretty good at using Adachi’s insecurity to get what she wants, for better or for worse

Adachi gets so excited about asking to sing together with Shimamura that she leaps up from her seat, banging her head against the window. She is a very relatable disaster

Shimamura’s friends do their best, but there’s an inherent note of tension in the air. Adachi makes a crucial insight about this – in spite of them being differently competent in social environments, she and Shimamura ultimately feel the same way about them. In an extroverts’ world, most loners must figure out how to confidently negotiate social situations eventually, even if they’re uncomfortable, and would much rather be elsewhere

Even their plan to sing together is framed like a love confession. These two are incorrigible

They both jump into perfect singing poses when the song begins though, which feels… wrong? It feels like an artifact inherited from idol anime, where in truth, they’d both probably look self-conscious while singing, and not actually hit the notes all that well

Perhaps an inevitable consequence of anime’s media mix funding process. You can’t really sell a song that sounds “convincingly amateurish,” even if that’s what’s right for the narrative

Some beautiful shots for their ride back. This show’s colors always nail the golden hour, that period where the sun is hanging low over your surroundings, and casting everything in a blaze of orange and purple

“They didn’t have your favorite mineral water.” Adachi smiles as she realizes Shimamura remembered her usual drink

“I’m not suffering or anything, so please invite me again.” What an encouraging way to phrase that

Adachi’s internal perspective here is precisely what you’d expect – Shimamura keeps asking her to state what she’s feeling, but what she’s feeling is so intense and specific that she’s sure it would scare Shimamura away, so she’s just sitting there like a boiling tea kettle, bubbling over with emotions

And Done

Mustering up her courage, Adachi at last voiced her heart’s desire, and received the headpats of destiny! At least for Adachi, it seems like this episode clarified some things: she truly does like Shimamura, and wants to pursue an “intimate” relationship with her, even if she’s not necessarily certain what form that relationship will take. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless – and at the same time, Shimamura is clearly becoming attached to Adachi as well, given she got offended for Adachi’s sake and ended up fighting her dang mom about it. After three episodes of uneasy bonding, this was the most comfortable and most earnest either of our heroes have been, as they slowly map out a mutual comfort zone. Ah, the perils of young love.

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