When it comes to Manga, or any form of literature, it is important how one uses the genres and themes in their work to tell a story and can determine if the story is good or bad. Unfortunately, the latter proved true for Haruchika Episode 10 as both its music and mystery didn’t work too well.
Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen this episode, I suggest you stop here. If you haven’t watched the series, please have a look at my first impression of the show (Spoiler Free).
The first chunk of the episode is mainly setup for the music plot HaruChika has been clumsily building on, as well as comedy bits that were amusing, but not amusing enough to sell me on what the episode tried to do. Since HaruChika‘s music plot is pretty weak to begin with, the music setup doesn’t work out well, but we do experience some slight tension based on how the brass band is feeling for the competition. Despite that, the episode moves toward the mystery of the week, which involves Takuya Watanabe, a dog, and two people who claim they are the dog’s owner. You see, Watanabe is a freelance writer who wants to know more about Kusakabe’s reasons on why he chose to retire from the music world, and then suddenly came out of retirement to conduct for a small school. His curiosity makes sense, right? Actually, I feel like his character was put there in an attempt to ask and answer the questions we all have been wondering for the past few episodes regarding Kusakabe. However, Haruta and Chika find his methods to be rude and offensive, causing him to back off slightly. It’s ironic, really.
With all of that underway, Haruta appears with a lost dog he encountered before two people claiming to be the owner of the dog show up; an adult male and a little girl, which sparks confusion among the scene. The male comes off as too suspicious for someone trying to claim ownership. Actually, he tries way too hard to prove he is the owner, which raises major red flags. Even so, Haruta is having trouble finding out who the real owner is and just as he is about to give up, Kusakabe comes along and helps solve the mystery. It turns out, by Haruta using a mirror on the words “Pie Shimata” that are inscribed on the dog’s collar, he finds out that dog’s name is Jabberwock, which helps him realize that “Pie Shimata” has a different meaning when mirrored. The meaning is meant for the little girl, who is also claiming ownership of Jabberwock. Her parents are divorced, so she is staying with her dad, who is not allowing her to see her mother. With such a harsh restriction on the mother, she left a clue on how to find her on the dog’s collar, thus solving the mystery of who the owner is.
Although the mystery was standard, it felt like it was filler or used to pad the runtime of the episode. The mystery wasn’t too complex and even the owners of the dog were not fleshed out in the same way as previous characters were from the past mysteries. It is proven in this episode that mixing the mystery genre with a theme of music has hurt the story the most. In all honesty, even though damage has been done to the story by the theme of music, I do think it can recover this late in the series, but even if it does recover, it can only help out so much. Since HaruChika has only two episodes left, I am very worried for how it will end. I’m sure there will be some major plot twist involving Kusakabe, which can only help smooth the damage this episode has caused. P.A. Works had delivered many great Anime in the industry, but HaruChika, although not as bad as Glasslip, is starting to become a disappointment. Let’s just hope that the finale will save it from being a train wreck.
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