I guess it’s time for the percussion section to come to the fore of this orchestra piece as it’s all about the triangle.
What They Say:
Episode 4: LETTER 04
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In a reverse of how we’ve had things the past couple episodes, we start this time in the Future Present, as the entire gang goes to visit Kakeru’s grandmother. After his mother’s death, he apparently lived with his grandmother until the accident that claimed his life. She greats them all warmly and recalls all of their names well, as Kakeru often spoke of them. Among everything else, Naho continues to voice her regrets about Kakeru, who is no longer there with them. We also get explicit acknowledgement that the young child Naho has with her is hers with Suwa as the father (not that it was hard to guess at all before this point).
Back to the Present Past, where we are treated to a sharp contrast: the gang hanging out and goofing off while Kakeru is on a date with Ueda-sempai. After this, we learn both from Naho’s letter and by seeing that a space is opening up between Kakeru and Naho, largely on Naho’s side. She does not want to interfere with Kakeru’s relationship. Ueda, on the other hand, seems to take pride in showing off her new boyfriend to the entire school. A cliche love triangle rears its head.
In what is a fairly frustrating sequence of events, Naho lacks the courage to do what her letter advises her to do, which is to speak to Kakeru when he asks her to and to listen to what he has to say. The letter notes that Naho had avoided Kakeru several times and that they would grow apart. History just repeats itself, including an incident where Naho innocently sparks a fight between Kakeru and Ueda. Instead of listening to Kakeru yet again, Naho run away in tears. The only thing that prevents affairs from continuing on this negative course is the intervention of Suwa, who had been asked by Takako and Azusa to see if her could get to the bottom of what was bothering Naho.
Naho finally has a heart-to-heart chat with Kakeru, the one her future self regretted never having.
While the story continues to unfold at its own leisurely pace, there is just a hint of tedium creeping in. It’s largely caused by events starting to feel a touch formulaic. Each episode so far seems to consist of: Naho reading her letter, with advice as to what will happen and what can be done to avoid it happening; Naho working up the courage to do something about it; Naho chickening out and events continuing in the “wrong” direction; a deus ex machina appears to convince Naho that the flow of events are changing from what her future self has told her; Naho finally takes some action which seems to give hope that Kakeru’s fate might be avoided. At this point, I’m pretty much at my maximum tolerance for this chain of events, no matter how realistic it might be in terms of a typical teenaged girl’s (or boy’s) behavior. I hope the author can at least vary things up a bit. I’m not expecting a bold and confident Naho to suddenly appear, but maybe the Fates could be a touch kinder to her?
Changing the future is a risky thing, though. We’ve already seen another person’s life might be at stake.
Naho tries to distance herself from Kakeru now that he has a girlfriend. While this follows events as Future Naho recalls them, she was dissatisfied at how things turned out, so she advises her Past Self to talk to Kakeru. Naho, however, follows her previous pattern of behavior and lacks the courage to carry out her Future Self’s directives until someone else intervenes. It appears that Kakeru was troubled about something and when the two finally talk, he feels relieved.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Apple iMac with 12GB RAM, Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite