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"Kodocha" Vol. 11: The Seventy-Seven Pitfalls of a Writer

Sana Kurada is not your typical sixth grader. She is busier than any adult, managing school and a blossoming acting career, and in this volume she takes a stab at becoming a published writer. All of this, and her family just went bankrupt! But, despite all of her hardships, Sana remains a pillar of goofy optimism.

This volume, much like the previous ones, is filled with drama. Sana begins a battle with Dreaming Productions, a big-name talent agency, who will stop at nothing to sign her on. Sounds like a good thing, but Sana will have nothing of their sleazy tactics. They even go so far as to blacklist her, making it impossible for her to find work. Sana, however, won’t give up on her manager (and ex-boyfriend) Rei, who eventually finds her a small part in a late-night murder mystery mini-series. Watching Sana is a breath of fresh air, due to her infinite optimism. She is not without her moments of sadness, but she inevitably pulls through, finding the silver lining in each situation.

This volume also introduces us to Takeshi Gojo, Sana’s stage dad for the late night mini-series. It is hilarious to see them interact, as Take seems every bit Sana’s equal in terms of silly randomness. However, things turn creepy during the opening scene of Episode 43, “Age Difference, Smage Difference,” where Sana wakes in Mr. Gojo’s bed, wearing Mr. Gojo’s shirt. This seems like a weird throwback to when Sana considered Rei her boyfriend, but in the Kodocha world, all these seemingly pervy relationships are completely innocent. Though when Sana exclaims, “You mean I haven’t been deflowered in the bloom of my youth?” I began to wonder how it is that she seems to attract this sort of attention from significantly older men. There is also an interesting connection to Sana’s lack of a father figure and this recently appearing Takeshi Gojo. At one point the media even refer to him as her “real father.” Reading too deeply into Kodocha may be a mistake, however, as Sana announces that she and Take are “lovers.” This part of Kodocha is the main reason I keep watching, as it has a unique ability to juxtapose a deep, introspective look into Sana’s life and her talent of making light of any situation.

My favorite episode in the bunch is #42 “The Deadline’s Here,” which highlights Sana’s first foray into the world of publishing. In classic Kodocha-fashion, Sana has to finish her manuscript in only one week. As the deadline approaches, Sana becomes more and more frantic. As her writer mother explains, Sana is experiencing the “seventy-seven pitfalls of a writer.” Anyone who has had any sort of written work due will sympathize with Sana, as she becomes distracted by the dirt on her pencil, deals with the agony of writer’s block, and at one point even dreams that she finished the essay. “The Deadline’s Here” reminds me of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Procrastination.” Spongebob and Sana’s plights are the same—a looming deadline—and Sana and Spongebob even share the same go-getting, optimistic attitude.

The dub is up to its usual standards. Always impressive is Sana’s voice actor, doing her usual magic with the song interludes. The animation in Kodocha is never anything spectacular or unusual, but with such a great plot and great characters, anything too flashy would overshadow the story. I am, overall, pleased with this volume, and am glad to see some good character development and plot movement. It is still not up to the high standards that the series started with, but hopefully as it progresses they will continue to look for inspiration in the early episodes.

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