Kami-sama no Memo-chou 10: It’s not Lupus
…I’m sorry, I meant to say it’s not death.
(I’ve just marathoned seasons 5, 6 and 7 of House MD, if that helps to explain the title.)
So why do I think that Ayaka isn’t dead, despite the four-storey fall and the bleeding from her scalp? I have several reasons.
First, as many viewers have pointed out, Narumi doesn’t refer to Ayaka being dead in the episode preview, only saying that she was “gone” or “not around”. Lying by omission isn’t lying when it’s just manipulating viewers’ fears for the worse.
Second, as stated on the series blurb on ANN and MAL, the case of the Angel Fix gets Narumi and Ayaka into trouble – no death mentioned there either. Which might be an attempt at reducing spoilers. Either way I’m slightly miffed that the Angel Fix case mentioned in the series introductions only begins 80% through the anime.
Third, I seem to remember reading somewhere that Ayaka ended up in a coma and may have lost her memories or something among those lines.
…also I happen to have volumes 1-6 of the light novels in my possession and a brief shuffling through the art pages shows that Ayaka is still alive as of volume 6.
Of course, anime adaptations may not always be entirely accurate, especially when they’re 1-cour and unlikely to have season 2s, and there’s always a chance that Ayaka did die in the recently released volume 7.
Or that the artist is trolling my ability to not read Japanese (for all I know the ‘Ayaka’ that keeps appearing in the text may be reminiscences or the new flavour of ice cream Min-san named in memory of her).
Anyway, I have to admit that death or no, it was quite the poignant scene and J.C. Staff has therefore regained some points in regards to their treatment of the series.
Case in point – I don’t think I’ve seen this frenzied a fan reaction since episode 1. Character deaths and implied deaths are always such attention whores.
This also happens to partly confirm my original character assessment of Ayaka – she did end up being a plot-device after all.
Because once you approach the episode objectively, and in relation to the previous 9 episodes, you’ll realize that her alleged suicide attempt came out of nowhere.
She was never observed to be dwelling on the past, or as depicted as being anything more than a genki girl – whereas Yondaime and Min-san got significant segments of foreshadowing before their respective spotlight episodes.. Even the bit about her older brother was only briefly mentioned once before – in episode 2 – and there was no indication that it was anything near the scale of deadbeat-drug-junkie.
There was certainly no indication at all that Ayaka was troubled enough to jump off a building. Which could either be a result of really good writing, or simply cop-out plot device.
And the reason why viewers tend to think of it as the former is because that 60 second Ayaka segment caused their hypothalami to flood their systems with endorphins and gave them the impression that the whole episode was great just because of a 60 second sugar rush.
Where ‘sugar’ is a metaphor for ‘cute-girl-dives-off-building-holy-crap-pretty-flowers-beautiful-holy-crap-that’s-blood-sob-sob-best-episode-evarrr’.
Also, this episode demonstrates that 60 seconds of emotional manipulation aside, the lack of focus on Narumi is a good thing.
When people are asked about their opinions on this episode, they’re going to remember those 60 seconds. They’re not going to remember the 15+ minutes of more Narumi Numbness.
The episode only became enjoyable when Ayaka started having more dialogue than Narumi. When Ayaka had the spotlight. Prior to that, the bits with Narumi fumbling with the investigation and Ayaka’s brother was more of the same torture that I’d expected.
Remember this, J.C. Staff. If you are ever fortunate enough to be allowed to produce a season 2, make sure that Narumi gets significantly less screentime, spends less than 5% of his screentime staring blandly into the camera, and shuts the hell up.
You might notice that I’ve only been screencapping Ayaka. (Here’s a bit of Alice to mix it up.)
The reason being that in a cast that features a Yakuza, a gambler, a gigolo, a techie, and a prepubescent hacker/detective genius, it’s the ordinary schoolgirl that stands out the most.
And I’m only including Alice because she’s a girl. If she was a guy, only death gods with magical notepads could have saved this anime.
Shinigami-sama no Memo-chou. Hurr hurr.