It’s that old gap between wishes and reality, ain’t it? It’s a real shame Watanabe hasn’t produced more series but, at the same time, I know that his work probably wouldn’t seem as special if were coming out too frequently. He probably wouldn’t get enough to time to put in enough of the care that makes his anime so memorable either, would he? He has been directing all of these episodes, right? That'd certainly make the whole production take longer.
Seriously, you watch a Watanabe anime, and it’s a little tougher to move on to the next regular anime show because there hasn’t been nearly as much thought, creativity and craft put into it.
Even a simple moment like the one I took a screencap from here - - it’s so much denser than a mere animation cel. In another show, this would’ve been some ridiculous chibi freak-out. Here, simple gestures of line convey such powerful and emotions through poor Fuu’s face. This show’s had the reason to let its characters act unreasonably (and more realistically).
Of course a 15-year-old going to play some silly games trying to hide her feelings and test those of her crush instead of just being direct about it. Mugen’s flummoxed reaction is such a stitch, and so spot-on, and it’s hard to properly describe the mix of shake-your-head hilarity and wipe-your-eye heartbreak conveyed in that one image alone.
Actually, that’s the beauty of this episode - - the diabolically crafty tricks it plays on your emotions. Like devoting 20 or so minutes to making you feel all this pity for a supposedly blind and abandoned balladeer… only to reveal in the last two minutes that she’s actually an assassin with highly-convincing acting skills! Again, it would’ve felt jarring in another show, but it’s an absolutely brilliant stroke here.
Watanabe is just the puppet master, and we’re all his puppets.
Watch this episode, "Elegy of Entrapment, Verse 1” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.