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JIN'S WAKE

Let's remember: in the very first episode of Ace O Nerae OVAs we witnessed the sowing of the story with the seeds of incoming drama: Jin's expression of his feelings in a letter as he senses Death is near. The harvest will start at Hiromi's arriving home and knowing about her teacher's recent demise, in the episode previous to the one we are commenting here. The usual Animé storytelling route would be to leave her postrate or to make her explode in inmediate pain and hysterical crying, wouldn't it?

Ace O Nerae's gift to its viewers is a truly prodigious episode, intensely focused on letting us know how devastating Jin's death is for the ones left behind, building anxiety and tension up to a veritable earthcuake of sorrow! We see Hiromi, the day after the initial shock. Jin's wake will happen that afternoon. During the morning, she tries valiantly to keep a cool, even indifferent face in front of her parents and friend Maki, and she pulls it off admirably. Small flashes of pain, symbolic imagery of ultimate darkness and freedom of the soul, are needling her constantly, though, and her iron mask of calmness and serenity feels like being slowly metal-fatigued by those visions, via the cinematographers' excellent editing and pacing of the scenes. In the end, when confronted with the reality of Jin having left her silently in the wake of her triumph, she loses it completely: her mask shatters, her courage flees her and her spirit collapses. So great is her pain that we, the viewing audience, feel ourselves as tense as those surrounding her.

There is a something in this animation style that predisposes itself to the representation of violent and furious drama scenes: Hiromi's crying for her teacher and friend, so inconsolable and violent, is quite an achievement, a terrible and beautiful moment in storytelling and animation

Pay attention to Hiromi's change of expression: the anguish, the memory of past tenderness, and the final burst of pain.

















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