An unconventional reading of a bit of Sakurasou episode 4
(There are some small spoilers here for bits of episode 4.)
(By Mashiro's theme I meant her empowerment. See the sidebar for more background.)
In episode 4, the group has a little Tanabata festival of their own and everyone writes up their wishes. The next day, Sorata discovers that Mashiro has not wished for anything involving herself (such as for the success of the manga she's working on) but instead that he succeed at what he's doing. In a conventional show, such a non-self-focused wish would be a sign that Mashiro had fairly strong feelings for Sorata, enough so that she'd use her wish for his happiness instead of her own. The unconventional reading is that Mashiro doesn't wish for herself because it's unnecessary; she knows that she doesn't need the help of a wish to get what she wants or for her manga work to be a success. Instead she wishes for Sorata's success because she thinks he needs the help and she cares enough to give him some. She's not being selfless, she's merely being casually generous.
(All the other people's Tanabata wishes were self-focused ones.)
PS: Mashiro is right; Sorata needs all the help he can get. There are even some signs that the show agrees with this.
(The usual cautions about reading things into shows definitely apply to Sakurasou, especially since it's based on a light novel series. On the other hand the director could have decided to do something interesting with the raw materials to hand.)
Sidebar: two readings of Sakurasou
There's two ways to look at Sakurasou. You can read it as a conventional LN based anime with an otaku-bait premise, or you can read it as a disguised, sharp-edged story about things like the true nature of apparent 'genius talent' (ie that it actually involves a huge amount of work). In the second reading, Mashiro is not a cute helpless idiot savant space case but instead a very focused young woman who knows exactly what she wants and works extremely hard for it.
(Naturally the second reading is popular with much of the section of the anisphere that I follow because it makes the show much more interesting and worthwhile. If you follow the first reading, the show is pretty much exploitative cynicism.)
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Written on 07 December 2012.