Bernard-Jou Iwaku – Episode 12 [Final Impression]
At last, the final episode. This one was rather adorable and made me appreciate Shiori and Sawako’s friendship even more.
Shiori is on the shinkansen (“bullet train”) traveling to see some relatives. She’s brought along a book she’s been wanting to read, but a call from Sawako derails her plans. Sawako tells Shiori that she watched the sci-fi movie directed by Christopher Nolan which Shiori had recommended, and that’s all Shiori needs as she starts to gush about the Dylan Thomas poem included in the movie. The movie’s title is not specifically mentioned, but if you google Christopher Nolan’s name along with the poem’s author, it appears that the movie the girls are referring to might be Interstellar. Anyways, the poem is as follows:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Shiori also makes connections between the movie and the book The Grapes of Wrath.
Sawako’s pretty easy to please; she says she only likes the poem because the “rage, rage” line reminded her of all the times that Shiori’s gotten mad at her.
Shiori is caught off-guard. Does she really get mad all that much? The call gets dropped, and Shiori heads back to her seat stunned. She tries to continue reading her novel, which is revealed to be the young adult dystopian novel Matched by the American author Ally Condie. Shiori considers recommending the book to Sawako because the Dylan Thomas poem is included in it, but while she’s deliberating whether she should, Shiori gets a text message from Sawako. It’s the cutest thing ever – smiling tangerines! Shiori’s pleasantly surprised and she can’t help but giggle out loud just a little.
Shiori decides to recommend Matched to Sawako after all, making sure to mention that the Dylan Thomas poem she likes is also in the book as well.
As the credits roll, we see all of the characters reading their respective books. Later on Sawako tells Shiori that she hasn’t read Matched yet, just that she feels like she has. Shiori, predictably, gets annoyed and tells Sawako to just read it already.
Story: Because this is a short, the series doesn’t have much of a plot. Each episode is rather standalone, though in the last few episodes there are references and flashbacks to events which happened earlier in the season. Rather it feels like this title operates on a series of “themes”, like Sawako not liking to actually read and Shiori getting mad at her for it.
Characters: This series has only four characters, which for me helped keep the storylines focused and to the point. That being said, Sawako’s voice got a little irritating sometimes when she and Shiori would bicker back and forth, and she could be difficult to listen to even in these short episodes.
It’s a little unfortunate that even with the small cast the Sumika-having-a-crush-on-Endou subplot didn’t get more attention. The two were definitely secondary characters next to Sawako and Shiori, which is understandable I guess because this is a short, but Sumika’s crush on Endou was cute and I was hoping it would get some kind of resolution.
I think my biggest bone to pick is that only Sawako and Shiori show any character growth, and even then they don’t change much. Sumika and Endou are definitely static characters, while Shiori and Sawako’s constant bickering got old sometimes.
That being said, the friendship which develops between Shiori and Sawako was perhaps my favourite thing about the series, aside from the tidbits about the books and authors featured within the show.
Music and Animation: The animation’s cute, no complaints from me. The music was alright, though again because this is a short there isn’t much of it. The ending theme is cute and catchy, so I can’t ask for much more than that. Nothing really stands out as being exceptional, but neither the music nor the animation are terrible or lacking in any way.
Overall Thoughts: This is a cute series about characters who really love to read. I loved the focus on the different books and authors each episode, and screencapped each one to save for later reference for myself. Most of the authors I was unfamiliar with, but it was always neat to see one I recognised, such as the novels 1Q84 or Matched. If you’re curious about learning more about Japanese literature, or even just literature in general, then this might be worth watching.
Final Score: 7.5/10