Wave, Listen to Me!
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Wave, Listen to Me! ?
This was a weird episode of Wave, Listen to Me! to be sure. Everything I mentioned last week about the show's tiptoeing around different toes and flavors of genre holds true here, and the lines have somehow gotten even blurrier. In “There's No Such Thing”, we have some family comedy coming from Minare's strange parents, the surprisingly dark tale of Makie's life with her brother, and then there is Minare and Mizuho's project for the second episode of the new Wave radio show. This, naturally, involves Kanetsugo sending the pair to investigate a very suspicious letter that was sent to MRS by Minare's former neighbor Shinji Oki, of all people, who claims he is being haunted by his “dead” girlfriend and might have an actual rotting corpse somewhere in his apartment.All of this in the span of just twenty-two minutes, to boot. To call whatever this direction Wave has decided to take its story in a “balancing act” would be generous; as an audience, we're being asked to entertain a story that is attempting to somehow and all-at-once be a workplace comedy about a small-time radio host, a blackly comic domestic drama about familial abuse, and a supernatural mystery that may or may not involve actual murder. Now, I'm aware that Wave probably isn't going to go all-in on an actual murder plotline, and that the end result of Minare's misadventure with Mizuho and Shinji will likely have more to do with shenanigans and misunderstandings…that being said, I just got done reviewing the astoundingly violent adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's other famous manga, so I can't entirely rule out some kind of bizarre twist.
Even when you put Minare and Mizuho's Bogus Journey aside for now, there's still the sequence with Makie to reckon with, which outlines a personal history that is even weirder and sadder than I might have guessed. Based on her previously shady behavior, I assumed that she was maybe homeless, and projecting some attachment issues onto her new job at Voyager. She opens up, though, while she crashes at Nakahara's place and chats with his very endearing sister Meiko, and explains that her brother was apparently visited by their dead parents in a vision that commanded him to protect her at all costs. His idea of “protection” apparently extended to completely banning Makie from going to school and socializing. If Makie's story is to be completely believed, she was even locked up inside and denied phone access unless specifically monitored. When Takarada was hospitalized, she seized the opportunity to leverage her brother's culpability to find some work and independence by helping out at Voyager and escape what essentially amounted to life as a hostage.
This is, obviously, a completely fucked situation for Makie to be in. I'll give Nakahara and his sister credit for taking Makie's story seriously and giving her a place to stay, but am I alone in thinking that they're a little too calm about what sounds like a scenario right out of a horror movie? I just don't quite see, yet, what Makie's storyline has to do with the larger fabric of the show, and it makes Wave's already strange sense of tone feel even more abstract. I should make it clear that I don't think any of this is bad, per se. It's just really, really weird.
Outside of Minare's dalliance into the world of murderghosts, we get to learn a bit more about her own family history, which certainly explains some things. Her mother is a very headstrong and blunt woman that is in no way afraid to call a spade a spade – or, in the case of Minare's father, to call a drunken loser a drunken loser. Minare's dad apparently has a propensity for spinning miles of bullshit out of random anecdotes and aimless ramblings, which is another trait Minare obviously inherited, and he tries to connect with her after learning about the MRS gig by purchasing an overly-fancy radio unit…and a pair of stinking salmon. Again, this is a weird episode.
Wave, Listen to Me! has yet to steer me wrong, however, and my experience with Blade of the Immortal tells me that Samura's stories are likely to have some kind of point, by the end of things. This might be the kind of chapter that is too scattershot to play well in isolation, but my hope is that the full picture of the season will make these disparate pieces fit together. At the very least, I am curious as hell to know what kind of disgusting weirdness Minare and Mizuho will find in Shinji's apartment.
Odds and Ends
• You've Got a Face Made for Radio: A surprise steal for this category this week from Minare's mom, whose disdain for Minare's father couldn't possibly have been made more clear than in this shot.
• I'm putting money down now that, by the end of next episode, we'll find out that this whole excursion to Shinji's home is actually the script that Minare came up with, based on her real interaction with the guy and some of Nakahara's notes.
• I know that Wave is never actually going to let Minare and Mizuho be a couple, but I can't help but find Minare's obsession with her new roomie's cuteness to be rather charming.
Wave, Listen to Me! is currently streaming on Funimation.
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