Welcome everyone, to the halfway point of Yofukashi no Uta! I’m a bit late for this one, sorry about that. Busy week plus I have that Welcome to the NHK review to write. Enough excuses though, lets dive into the episode!
Starting off, this week was a mixed bag visually. Yofukashi had some really, really high highs, don’t get me wrong. Ko’s face reflecting in the lake, or his complete change in art style and heavy linework while dealing with Shirakawa were fantastic. I love those kind of striking scenes and hope we get more of it. But there’s also such as thing as “to much” and that’s what happened with the neon this week. The entire pool scene in the 2nd half was just that. To much blue, to pink, etc. It drowned out any other color and shading work done on the scene and made it a pain to look at any of the finer details. It matches Yofukashi’s aesthetic sure, but at the detriment of everything else. Hopefully this is a one off and they stick to more restrained amounts of color in the future.
As for the episode content itself, this week took a more adult turn and I really appreciated that. Not adult as in sexual though. More in regards to responsibility and what the night means to adults vs kids. This idea that while the night is a refuge away from the world for Ko, Shirakawa can’t escape her responsibilities so easily. Work, family, bills, unlike Ko she has things that need to get done. So no matter how alluring the night and its freedom is, she always has to go back to the day. I really like this new angle from Yofukashi. Ko’s nightly experiences were starting to get a bit stale to me, and this new perspective really helped liven things up. I can only hope more adults characters, and their thoughts on the night, get introduced as Yofukashi continues.
More than that though, this focus on adult hood also made me change how I look at Nazuna’s vampirism. Initially I saw it as only an escape from society, freedom from burden and responsibility. But now I wonder if it’s also more of childlike naivete. Like Ko and Nazuna are trying to remain forever children, holding onto their youth rather than grow up like everyone else. It’s an interesting perspective if you ask me. Nazuna may be very lewd, but she’s still very naïve and childlike when it comes to stuff like romance and love. She is, as I said before, emotionally inexperienced. So she still fits this idea of vampirism that Shirakawa introduces. Again, I’m really hoping for more adult characters, or characters in general. I think they bring so much to the themes, perspectives and narrative of the show. Really spicing things up, so to speak.
The 2nd half of the episode dealt with a similarly adult subject, though this time more focused on relationships. A lot of flirting, sexy outfits, late night pool, etc. It’s not much new what’s there is alright. The big thing I think Yofukashi gave us here was simply Ko being the jealous one this time. Seeing Nazuna interacting with other people, teasing him into standing up and openly going after her. It might be a game on Nazuna’s part but Ko sure seemed to take it seriously. What I’m really glad about though is how open the two were communicating about it. No full episode about them overcoming some drama, just them talking about how it made Ko upset and Nazuna apologizing for it. It sounds so simple but its something most anime romances never seem to do.
So yeah, all in all it was a decent episode. Yofukashi continues to sort of… float along for me. It has these moments of intense exploration of it’s themes that then get replaced by half-baked romance. These two separate sides of the show just aren’t managing to work together very well anymore. And it’s all because of the romance trap. Romance series can’t meaningfully progress their romance because the “will they won’t they” is 90% of the story. This lack of romantic progression is then holding back Yofukashi’s themes around the night, freedom and emotional connection. It’s why the show is at its best when a new character shows up, because they are allowed to have meaningful progression where our leads feel like they are not. Hopefully this changes as we near the finale, but for now I fear Yofukashi has stagnated in a lot of ways.