Fune wo Amu
(All episodes watched):|
Here's an odd anime: the struggles of a small team at a publishing company to compile a new dictionary. Apparently in Japan dictionaries get a good deal more respect than they do here in the US. They seem to be considered major works of literature, even if publishers wish they were more profitable. The process of assembling a new dictionary seems like about the last topic one would expect a TV show to be about, and there is no violence, no fanservice, and not even much romance. But it just goes to show that if the characters are likeable and fun we can root for them as they attempt to achieve a difficult goal. Majime is sort of a bookworm, and socially anxious, and therefore we can sympathize with him. Early on, him and the much more socially savvy Nishioka talking about their jobs tells us a lot about them and develops their personalities. The two of them are press-ganged into working together, even though they have little in common, and you would think that that would be the basic premise of the show--except one of them leaves the team around halfway through the story. Well then, perhaps a romantic triangle will develop between the two of them and an attractive woman they meet--but it doesn't. Romance plays a small and not insignificant part, but isn't the main topic of the show. Majime is laughably insecure and naïve about romance, and how in the world such a thing might happen we can only wonder. I felt genuinely on the edge of my seat as he asked her for an answer to the strange love letter he had handed her the day before. Surely the entire show can't be about editing a dictionary--but it pretty much is. It's the task as a whole, not any single character, that is the true protagonist. If ever a show deserved the term 'slice-of-life', this is it. One thing which I noticed: there was no mention of the internet or computers (you would think the retiring editor would rail against paper-and-ink books being in decline), so I wonder if this story wasn't written a good while ago. I was pleasantly surprised to have a new character enter the story in episode eight. I guess the story needed to be shaken up in order to stay fresh, and that was the effect that this person appearing had. I was also surprised to learn around halfway through that Hajime is married now--did I miss an episode? The makers weren't joking when they said that completing The Great Passage dictionary was liable to take something like 14 years. Time had been moving much more rapidly than I had thought. You can kind of guess that there's going to be a tragedy of sorts regarding a certain character before it's all over. This thoroughly sentimental, slice-of-life show, with no violence whatsoever and little excitement, certainly isn't for everyone, but I don't regret watching at all. It was nice to have an anime as unusual as this when so many are little more than cheap knock-offs.
Last updated Sunday, February 19 2017. Created Saturday, October 22 2016.