The Tatami Galaxy 4-6

4 Disciple Wanted

Once again the Protagonist finds himself facing the endless possibilities of campus life before him. This time around, he does something different and decides to not chose any of the groups. Instead, he ends up in the discipleship of Higuchi, who now seems to be an ordinary, older student. Another fellow disciple of Higuchi is, of course, Ozu. The two disciples team up to wage the proxy war on another student that Higuchi is locked in deadly battle with.

On the one hand, it’s nice the show is finally diverging somewhat from the repetitious structure. On the other hand, this might be the weakest episode so far. It’s fun insofar as it mocks the pettiness and futility of fraternity wars. The war is fought through proxies to the point that no one remembers why the two groups are fighting. It’s also interesting that for the first time at the conclusion of this episode, the protagonist doesn’t accept the notion that his life would have been better if he had made a choice back in his freshman year, but the show ends up taking us back to an alternate timeline anyway.

5 Softball Circle

After the conclusion of the last episode, I was extremely disappointed that we were going back to the protagonist hopping to an alternate life in another club. However, his time in the softball club might be the most insightful episode so far. He quickly learns that the group is caught up in this false positivism and hooked on good living through natural foods. The protagonist only remains in the group because of the prospect of meeting the daughter of the CEO of the natural foods company that sponsors the group.

As the episode develops, it’s a fascinating critique at a sort of new-age school of thought about the power of positive thinking and rejuvenation through diet. The episode in particular attacks how the positivism is a thinly veiled mask for a lot of ugliness that people stuff inside and when it comes out there’s a hilarious meltdown as the illusion breaks. This is the strongest episode of the batch so far because it’s an elegant intersection of plot and theme.

6 English Conversation Circle

Faced with the plethora of choices, the protagonist decides that choosing one group will not do. Instead, he dedicates himself to three separate groups. Unlike his alternate campus lives where making contact with females proves near impossible, he is faced with the prospect of three different women. One is Hanuki (Yuki Kaida), a fellow member of the English conversation circle. The other is Keiko, a woman he corresponds with through letters. The third is his love-doll, Kaori.

It’s nice to now see the protagonist faced with a different problem: one of too many choices instead of one where he is not even able to make meaningful contact with the opposite sex. This also results in plenty of hilarity as the three relationships end up conflicting with each other. In one of the most brilliant moments of the show, there is the personification of the protagonist’s sex drive, Johnny, a cowboy brimming with energy. The protagonist and Johnny have to have a heart to heart when faced with the prospect of sex, one that explores the tensions between dignity and drive.

© 2014 James Blake Ewing