I don’t like you at all, baka.
What They Say:
Episode #5: “Inescapable Bond”
Arte practices negotiating with a difficult customer and ends up learning more about Leo’s past.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As this episode begins we see Leo arguing with a client, a patron who often commissions Leo to make pieces of art for him. Ubertino is a wealthy patron, one who causes Leo no small trouble in his requests.
That’s because Ubertino is not collecting art because he enjoys the work. He does so to use as bartering chips. A man with an eye for art but no love of it, he claims to have a bond to Leo. Leo claims the same. As Arte eventually learns that simply means that Leo’s former master entrusted Leo’s wellbeing to Ubertino. That friendship has resulted in Ubertino keeping an eye on the former apprentice and patronizing him from time to time.
Arte quickly realizes that Leo and his difficult patron are more similar than either would admit to. Both men are more focused on their business than creature comforts. Both are worried about the selfless habits of each other. It’s less tsundare behavior and more the lack of admitting two grown men might be concerned about the health and well being of the other.
The problems of this episode arise in the way that Ubertino nickels and dimes the cost of the artwork and Arte not knowing how to negotiate with a tough client like that. For Arte’s credit, she recognizes she’s lacking in the manners needed to carefully negotiate. She seeks out her courtesan friend to learn how to calmly explain that when you pay for art you are paying for the artist’s skills, not just the cost of the materials and time.
This is still an important lesson that people who steal or otherwise undervalue art still make. You are paying for the artist’s skills and knowledge when you commission an artist. Not the time, not the supplies, that’s for the artist to deal with. Also, yes, the artist would like to be able to eat. Art isn’t just made for the love of art, it’s made to put food on the table. To undercut the artist is an insult.
Which brings us around to the extremely brief moments of this episode where we get to see what Leo was like as a student and apprentice. His experiences with his master led him to believe, at the time, that his master was going harder on him because of his background. The truth was that his master saw he actually had the talent to succeed and was tough on him because he wanted him to make it as an artist. The little rich boys whose parents paid their way in were lost causes. The master just had to keep them until the flunked out to appease their parents.
Once again, this is one of those episodes that would seemingly go against the usual optimistic and idealistic angle most anime take. Arte’s lesson here is that sometimes you are dealing with clients who don’t care about art at all. It’s a means to an end, but they must be catered to as well.
Arte learns a little about dealing with an exacting client, and a little about her master. Once again I find myself wishing they would go into detail about what making art in the renaissance actually entails. Once again we get Arte learning more interpersonal skills rather than art techniques. I get it, this show is more about the characters than the art itself. The brief glimpse of Leo’s past as an apprentice is not as interesting as I thought it would be, and mostly rehashes the small details we already knew. Ultimately, this episode focuses on the differences in communication between men and women, for better or worse.
Episode Grade: B –
Streamed by: Funimation