Wish Upon the Pleiades
Episode 8

by Rose Bridges,

Wish Upon the Pleiades finally rounds out its cast, focusing on the most serious member of the gang, Nanako. I said before that I wanted the show to get on with the new curveball in its plot. It doesn't really do that this week, but at least the Nanako focus is something new. Now that Wish Upon the Pleiades has given every main character an episode of her own, hopefully we can move on to the bigger conflict with Minato.

Nanako's episode was pretty solid, although it was nowhere near as good as Hikaru's episode. It was also fairly predictable: Nanako feels alone, and this is all about her learning that she has other people around her who care. It's a common backstory for the "serious" character in the group, and "family drama" is nothing new for this show. Hikaru's parents are absent because they work a lot. Nanako lives with her single dad after her mother and brother took off to see the world. Wash, rinse, repeat. The episode even calls back to Hikaru's episode, when her parents volunteer their telescope to let the club watch Nanako.

Still, it's more interesting than what Wish Upon the Pleiades usually has to offer. There was minimal drive-shaft frippery or bad CGI this week. Most of the episode was spent watching Nanako float alone through the solar system and muse on her situation. Three months is an awfully long time to be alone with your thoughts. We learn about her relationship with her dad, who's hands-off enough that he can't even notice when The President replaces Nanako with a poor imitation who repeats the same phrases. He's learned to be that way because his daughter is so capable of doing things herself, I'm sure. However, he lets her down by making her feel even more like she can't rely on others.

She can rely on the club at least, though Nanako seems reluctant to admit this. As she makes her way toward the Oort Cloud, Nanako muses on how she's become "used to" being around people, and forgot that her way is to be alone. She never considers that maybe this is because she truly isn't alone. Yeah, this episode's focus is repetitive, but at least it's something that real people experience. For all her loneliness, Nanako also seems to think this is the fate of the whole universe: "In the end, everyone is alone."

It's also a fate she shares with her discovery at the end of the solar system. Along with the fragment, Nanako finds a lonely gas giant planet. She names it after Apate, the Greek goddess of deceit. It's interesting that she chooses this goddess to represent herself, too. How does Nanako deceive anyone? Does she mean she deceives herself? She probably believes this by trying to believe she's not alone, but as we see this episode, the opposite is true. Though they're late to do so, the other club members eventually answer her call when she gives it with "her heart," and they help her defeat Minato's plans. (I'm curious how he's getting around like this. Did he actually hitchhike with them somehow?)

Nanako is embraced back into the group, who are happy to see her after so long. Apate has a happier fate too: it becomes a binary star with the Sun, instead of a lonely planet on the edge of the solar system beyond the sunlight's reach. No one has to be alone, the episode says. Even Minato isn't alone, as his friendship with Subaru grows like his plants. Nanako even talks about feeling "po-warm" looking at them, which seems to mean an "extra kind of warm."

In truth, even before the club, Nanako was never alone. The episode also shows how she met The President, in a rock emanating with rainbow light. She'd already predicted its arrival by drawing it, so they had a connection even before she met him. Nanako may have a broken family, but she's never truly been alone in the universe.

There's nothing complex about this episode, and it isn't quite on the level of Hikaru's focus episode. (That's still the series' high point so far.) Nanako's episode is simple and sweet, but that's what Wish Upon the Pleiades is at the best of times. I hope this is the end of diversions from the main conflict. Then again, if they could all be this pleasant, I would complain a lot less.

Rating: B-

Wish Upon the Pleiades is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Rose is a musicologist who studies film music. She writes about anime and many other topics on Autostraddle.com, her blog and her Twitter.

discuss this in the forum (65 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

back to Wish Upon the Pleiades
Episode Review homepage / archives