Wave, Listen to Me!
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Wave, Listen to Me! ?
I never expected to be just as invested in the Makie/Nakahara side-plot as I am in Minare's story, but Wave, Listen to Me! continues, as ever, to surprise me. I originally thought that Makie was only being brought in to serve as The Other Woman to Minare in a love triangle, and while that is still a possible avenue for the show to go down, I'm very happy to see that Wave is committed to making Makie into just as much of a fully fleshed out character as our heroine. Despite being nearly perfect foils for one another, both Makie and Minare have something in common, too: The men in their life are really freaking weird.
As far as Makie's brother Toru is concerned, that weirdness is both utterly strange and legitimately terrifying. The guy looks ripped right from the pages of a seedy crime novel, for one, and he practically oozes a sketchy and dangerous aura. Also, as he reveals in his first interaction with Makie and Nakahara after he and Takarada are released from the hospital, Toru seems to literally suffer from a condition where worrying for his sister causes him to black out and become consumed with a murderous rage. Apparently, one of these black out sessions ended up with one of Makie's bullies being tied up in a bundle of reeds with his own mother and left to drown in a mountain dam.
So Toru isn't exactly going to provide what any reasonable person would call a safe home to live in, and Nakahara almost screws himself over completely when he reveals that Makie has been living with him the entire time Toru was in the hospital. Thankfully, Nakahara's sister has superhuman levels of gossiping power, and she ends up…nagging Toru into submission? The gag isn't the cleanest, but it gives Makie a place in Nakahara's home for now, which can only be a good thing. A part of me still thinks that Makie's domestic drama, as absurd as it has turned out to be, feels like it almost belongs in its own, separate show. Another part of me appreciates the thematic connections the show is weaving in exploring the sometimes darkly comedic struggles that its women share.
Minare has less to deal with, comparatively, since her primary struggle is that all of the collective anxiety that she has suffered over the past few episodes has kept her from coming up with ideas for this week's broadcast. This leads to Kanetsugu coming up with one of the funniest bits the show's done so far, a segment where Minare calls a family member to argue with them on air, which in this case involves bickering with her dad about her name. His first story about the origin of Minare's apparently strange name — He got distracted looking for baby name books and saw it on the cover of a porno mag — is too stupid for even Minare to fully buy at first, but then we get the “for real” version of the story, which is somehow even worse. As her father tells it, he had three extramarital lovers that he dumped in the wake of Minare's birth, and each of them requested that he name his newborn after them, as a token of their memory. When the time came, the three lovers' names got jumbled together in his head: Michiru, Natsuko, and Reiko. The rest is history.Minare's predictably homicidal reaction is great, but her low-stakes, joke-heavy plot also manages to reinforce the ideas at play in Makie's story. To quote the lovely Mizuho: “See, Miss Minare? Men can bring you great despair, but they can also save your butt, too, at times.” After all, Kanetsugu has Minare's back no matter how stupid things get, Komoto is there to make sure even the sloppiest of rants sounds good on air, and even Kureko can be relied upon to deliver a solid script when Minare needs direction. This week's script is set to be Komoto's last, though, since he's moving on to bigger and better things, though even Minare has to admit that he's been uncharacteristically generous with his work this time around. He's prepared a scene for Minare that involves her trapped alone in the woods, only to meet with a ferocious looking bear…
Aside from recapping the events of Wave's first episode, which we've finally caught up to, there's one more sequence worth discussing in “I Can't Tell You Over the Phone”, a flashback of sorts to a meeting between a young Kanetsugu and the elusive Sissel Komei, who has returned from her overseas work with a passion for working in radio. The scene is decidedly abstract in how it is directed, using post-modern techniques like a sepia tone and dialogue intertitles that establish a much more somber tone than what the rest of Wave usually goes for. She went and saw Monty Python on Kanetsugu's recommendation, and while she got what made them so popular, she's less interested in comedy that makes fun of easy targets; Sissel would much rather establish a brand that draws laughter from jokes reflected back on oneself.
If that philosophy, not to mention her striking resemblance to Minare, wasn't enough to sell the feeling that has drawn Sato Kanetsugu to his new protégé in the present day, Sissel declares that, if she were ever to have a child, she would name them after the word that means “To make laugh”, which is written as 笑わせる. This would normally be romanized as “warawaseru”, though an alternative reading can give you the katakana spelling of ミナレ. “Minare”.
Odds and Ends
• You've Got a Face Made for Radio: The easy prize winner this time goes to Minare's not-so-sly feline face that pops up when Komoto enters the room, though Mizuho seems less than pleased to see him…
• ...which leads me to just now realizing that the pushy date Mizuho went on a whole four episodes back was with Makoto (The guy has had, like, twenty seconds of screen time, so you can maybe forgive me for missing it the first time around). Damn, that makes things extra awkward, now.
• Takarada complains that the worker who was also in the accident with him ended up stealing morphine in an attempt to sell it to a drug dealer at the hospital, which got him super arrested, though Takarada is more sad that he can no longer grope the guy's ass at work. You know, Wave, you really don't have to drop in a homophobic joke at Takarada's expense every single time he's on screen. In fact, if you could just stop doing that altogether, that'd be great.
Wave, Listen to Me! is currently streaming on Funimation.
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