Great Feat of Strength (and Dexterity)

Yeah, yeah, you guys are probably sick of people blogging about True Tears. I wouldn’t know because I’ve been taking a minor break from reading blogs (if one can do such a thing) and writing blogs. I do understand that it’s a show that offers some persuasion to both mind and emotion to express just how… moe? it is.

Thankfully I don’t have a weakness against the backside of girls’ knees (or am I confusing it for Aria?). I think. And I’ve long since gotten my meganekko thing under control. I’m pretty good against porn generally. Most other forms of fanservice have the reverse effect on me (save when it’s well-done).

Am I the only one who wanted to have at Jibeta’s feet? I bet it tastes good.

Hm, I thought I already wanted some imagawayaki.

Hiromi’s feet is a wholly different matter. It’s really an inadvertent use of fanservice that turned into awesome.

And here’s why it’s awesome. So awesome that I’m going to spend many hundred words to talk about it.

In episode 11, we see that Hiromi is living on her own and enjoying some freedom. Away from the constraint of her adoptive family and the pressure that has been working into her bones the past 10 episodes (and few years of her life), she’s notably loose and relaxed. Let’s recall that at home and at school Hiromi goes by the picture-perfect model, and she does follow societal obligation for someone in her position–to not burden her host family too much, and at least make them passably proud of their adoptive live-in. Perhaps this is the proper perspective to watch her transformation after getting suspended and having Shin’s mom stick up for her. Hiromi was probably expecting being oppressed further ala Fairy Tale Stepmom style, so it made some sense as a plot trick.

We can never really forget True Tears is a late-night anime aimed for otaku. It’s not to say normal people can’t enjoy True Tears, but it’s not the primary audience for this show. To that end we’ve seen it given a lot of funny eroge-ish nods… HCG unlocked is not too far from the truth. It’s good to compare it to a harem anime just so we can see why this is so different. Anyways, the scene in episode 11 where Hiromi steps out of the shower in her bachelorette’s pad is really just a honest nod to that.

With those two things in mind, it already made it passable fanservice–conveying two things at once. It was done without drawing too much attention to itself, and with that third fact, makes it decent fanservice.

The whole of True Tears, really, is about not drawing too much attention to itself. It required people to be able to draw subtexts and infer from events and body language, and the show invited us to do so. It felt crisp and refreshing from the usual, hackneyed approach. Sharp-looking visuals and art direction helps, too.

But what made that scene awesome fanservice? That is the great feat of strength of dexterity that was demonstrated by our director.

We see a foot extended into the vacuum of an unframed shot, as it gingerly yet clumsily grappled a hanging piece of woman’s apparel hanging to dry between its toes.

What does this do? For the most part True Tears is directed straightforwardly. Suddenly we get this detached image of something curious yet massively suggestive, it make you wonder what the hell is going on. For those of us who don’t pursuit that line of thought very far (for whatever the reason), that’ll be the end of it. We enjoy a little footsy play on woman’s underwear, yay?

But there’s more to it than that. Showing us less is actually giving us more here. Did you wonder why and how was that foot trying to grasp that article of clothing? From the looks of it, it was hanging from the ceiling in the middle of Hiromi’s apartment. The actual height of it is somewhere as low as her shoulders or neck up to above her head. It’s in an elongated shape.

Parallax is the devil!

Do you ever try to grab something with your toes at that height? Why would anyone? How can it be possibly be done out of laziness? We know that she just got out of the shower and she’s holding onto her towel with one hand. Let’s just forget for now that in Japan people use compartmental heating so general areas are cold during winter (and True Tears is set in a snowy, frosty part of the country in late winter) and the proper reaction of Hiromi would be trying to avoid being frozen off.

But it’s still not quite fair to say that the feet bit is chronologically directly after the cut we see above. Let’s look at the actual fetching.

We can estimate the angle in which the undergarment stretches, and guess about how tall Hiromi was standing at the time.

The blue area is approximately where the rest of the garment has to stretch to; the arrow points off the picture.

What’s amazing is that, hey, that actually is a sensible angle for a kick, for approximately the height we imagine Hiromi and her clothes are in relation to each other. If you google for some pictures of high kicks, you’ll see this actually makes some sense. We have to take into account that Hiromi wasn’t really doing a full high kick, as she was extending her right leg up to fetch, and it was suspended for some period.

But that still doesn’t quite solve why Hiromi, as a character, would be motivated for this exercise. I guess we can consider her a serious athelete (we don’t know for sure) so it is not beyond her to do this for fun, at least considering her physical limits. Again, it ought to be cold. And again, she’s probably mostly naked.

So why?

One possiblity is that she’s just liberated. She’s doing something “improper” for a “lady” and certainly she’s enjoying that sense of freedom, as it was a main point in that whole scene from the moment she’s out of the shower to her phone call with Tomoyo.

There’s a feeling of meticulousness in True Tears production. It’s not as sharp as what you would expect out of a Kyoto Animation product, but P.A. Works combined with Junji Nishimura’s tight ship gives us some pretty epic results. In addition to some casual fanservice.

It’s no surprise the more imaginative and babbling bloggers tend to fall victim of True Tear’s less-is-more tricks.

14 Responses to “Great Feat of Strength (and Dexterity)”

  • IcyStorm

    Perhaps the best blog post about true tears I have read so far. So much analysis into one particular scene that seems irrelevant and pointless @_@ but it makes for an entertaining read.

  • IKnight

    If more people wrote entries this incisive about True Tears, I might even be persuaded to watch it.

  • Shin

    Bravo sir, your insights amazed me.

  • Owen S

    It required people to be able to draw subtexts

    I heard that that word is pretentious and evil and should never be used by anyone ever (since people are too simple to understand it apparently, or are jealous that someone is using such a high-strung word for anime when they can’t do the same to describe what they’re watching, but I digress).

    Anyway, well said. IKnight at this point reminds me of all those shounen protagonists who run away from their destiny/fate/reality by putting himself in denial — because people are going to suddenly start writing incisive posts with 2 episodes left! — of convenience. Go watch it already, sheesh.

  • omo

    In retrospect, the word “subtext” is less sinister than “draw.” Generally speaking sophistry do well with nouns but poorly with verbs. Action speaks louder after all.

    FWIW my practical vocabulary and syntax are akin to a World of Warcraft abomination. Pay it little mind, if you would kindly.

    As to subtexts, well, anime is an exaggerated medium so it comes about rarely. It’s a precarious exercise between trying to get all you can out of a show versus avoid reading too deeply. Unraveling the technical end of a production is a safe thing to do in light of “looking too deeply into fanservice.”

    I mean, it’s fanservice. “Looking” “deeply” seems like the right thing to do.

  • TheBigN

    “And I’ve long since gotten my meganekko thing under control. ”

    I thought so too for myself. But this came out of nowhere. :P

  • Basroil

    When I imagine that scene (one leg stretched in the air, just out of the shower, only a towel)…excuse me I have to go take a cold shower.

    It’s a shame someone has to get their heart broke. Noe or Hiromi which will it be?

  • IKnight

    @ Owen: I’m more like a shonen antagonist. Strike me with your sword, and I absorb the power of your attack to fuel my ever-growing curmudgeonhood. And subtext is as far as I’m concerned like most words perfectly acceptable when deployed correctly. My verb of choice to have ‘subtexts’ as an object would be ‘excavate’.

  • omo

    And ‘excavate’ works well not with just ‘subtexts’ but also…well, one can make more than one joke involving the word and “naked anime girl standing with a leg up in the air.”

  • Owen S

    Q: What did the comments here say about the pun level?
    A: It’s OVER NINE THOU- nevermind.

    IKnight: Touché.

    omo: I tend to get annoyed at minority reports, if only because they’re so outrageously obtuse that they rile me way more than they should — interestingly enough, the feedback I got attacked the form of what I said, “subtext”, rather than what I was saying about it specifically. But that’s the death of rational thought and intellectual poseurs for you.

  • omo

    Trolls excavate subtexts from blogs about drawn naked anime girls for the lulz.

  • wolfx

    Goes without saying I’m turned on by dexterous use of legs. Who knows its probably part of Hiromi’s tantric exercise regime. XD

  • Ginga

    I might even give this anime a look. ^^ I’m not opposed to fanservice at all, but I hate it when it’s blatant and tasteless. True Tears seems different, though. ^^

  • omo

    You might like it. It’s, for the most part, fanservice free.

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