Vrai, Mercedez, Chiaki, and special guest Diana dig into Nanako’s love confession, the series’ influence on Class S stories, and what makes the series such a potent depiction of teenage heartbreak.
Date Recorded: March 13th, 2022
Hosts: Vrai, Mercedez, and Chiaki
0:03:23 Content/seizure warnings
0:04:29 Flower language check-in
0:12:01 Everyone is gay and Class S origins
0:15:32 Translation issues
0:23:00 Teen angst and interior lives
0:31:26 Kaoru, Nanako, and Rei
0:35:22 Who is the bisexual inspiration
0:37:06 Fukiko’s whole deal
0:49:11 Dear Brother vs Evangelion
0:54:13 Final thoughts
0:56:40 Next segment content warnings
VRAI: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast, and our third installment of the Dear Brother watchalong. My name is Vrai Kaiser. I am the managing content editor at Anime Feminist. You can find me and my freelancing on Twitter @WriterVrai. I’m on “locked” right now for life reasons, but you can go ahead and do a follow request; I’ll probably approve you. Or you can find the podcast I cohost about trash and failed media @trashpod.
CHIAKI: I’m Chiaki Hirai, one of the editors for AniFem. You can find me at @Chiaki747 or @AnimatedEmpress on Twitter. My main is locked, but more people follow me on there for some reason. By the way, you are welcome to add me on there as well. You just have to pass one “Are you a robot?” question, which is you give me a DM. No one seems to do this to me.
MERCEDEZ: Oh, I failed that question. [Chuckles]
CHIAKI: Oh, you’re fine. I know who you are.
MERCEDEZ: [Laughs] My name is Mercedez, and I am also a staff editor at Anime Feminist, as well as a Japanese-to-English localization and translation editor. Maybe I work too hard, but I love working. And you can find me talking about work on Twitter @pixelatedlenses. I also share a lot of pictures of food.
CHIAKI: I love food.
VRAI: Mm, food.
MERCEDEZ: Food is so good.
DIANA: Hi, I’m Diana. I do not work for Anime Feminist, but I do happen to love old and tragic shoujo, so here I am as the local expert for how this series goes. Oh God, please save me.
DIANA: I’m on Twitter @silencedrowns, and if I happen to be locked at the time, don’t worry; I’ll probably approve you as long as you are not an obvious bigot. [Chuckles]
MERCEDEZ: Oh gosh.
CHIAKI: I love the internet.
VRAI: The internet. So good. Not a mistake at all.
CHIAKI: You know what else I love? This show.
MERCEDEZ: This show slaps.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Me too!
MERCEDEZ: This show slaps!
VRAI: By the way… I will make sure to include it so that it will be in the show notes for this, but if you have sat here during the past two recordings thinking, “Hey. Asuka Rei. Doesn’t that sound familiar?” Yes, that is on purpose. Apparently, Hideaki Anno was a big fan of Dear Brother, passionately, and there is a better than average chance that in fact Asuka and Rei are named after Saint-Just-sama.
MERCEDEZ: That’s really fascinating. Okay, see, now I gotta watch—
DIANA: Somehow I did not know that.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Of all the people, why her?
VRAI: Because she’s extra and I love my daughter!
CHIAKI: I mean, that’s fair.
VRAI: She had so many bad decisions!
MERCEDEZ: [through laughter] She really does! She really does!
VRAI: Top-of-the-order housecleaning stuff. We always like to start these episodes with any additional content warnings. So, this stretch continues the issues with bullying and gaslighting, around mainly Fukiko and everything that she’s involved with. And also, Diana, you wanted to call out another specific moment with flashing lights.
DIANA: Yes, in episode 18, there is a brief scene that has some pretty intense flashing going on when Nanako smokes a cigarette. I think it’s to the level you’ll probably be okay if you’re just kind of half-looking at the screen, but it got pretty intense and I was like, “Whew, that’s not good!”
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I distinctly remember having to look away because it hurts.
DIANA: Yeah, just eye pain.
VRAI: Yeah, it is pretty intense. Even if you don’t have to worry about light triggering, it is just kind of a painful scene to look at in general. I also started putting up here in the housekeeping section just “stuff about flower language” because I’ve been trying to keep track of it but I’m just not good at recognizing flowers, especially when they are approximated through animation. I counted at least three different kinds of lilies, which I am now keeping track of just for me.
DIANA: I mean, lilies? Definitely no implications there. It’s not like the Japanese word for lily is a genre or anything! Wink-wonk.
VRAI: It just kills me that this is back when they were still called lez comics, so every time I see a lily in this show, I lol.
MERCEDEZ: There are so many lilies in this show, and maybe the only person who doesn’t like lilies is Tomoko, because I think she might be the only straight person at this school.
VRAI: When you have to be the lone heterosexual, the Larry Butz of Dear Brother.
CHIAKI: Oh, God.
VRAI: Except that Tomoko is good. I regret immediately this comparison.
MERCEDEZ: I was gonna say my sweet daughter, the savior of this show, is so good!
CHIAKI: Yeah, Tomoko is probably more like Dragon Girlfriend’s one straight roommate friend.
MERCEDEZ: Wait, there’s a straight person on Dragon Girlfriend?
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Wait. Am I thinking Dragon Maid?
CHIAKI: No, no, it’s a webcomic.
MERCEDEZ: Whoops! [Chuckles] The wrong series. That’s on me.
VRAI: It’s okay.
CHIAKI: Turns out to be bi anyway. But anyway…
VRAI: It’s okay— See? The lone heterosexual.
VRAI: Let’s see. I also think I counted asters during Kaoru’s dream sequence and water lilies during the park date.
DIANA: And a whole bunch of white roses.
VRAI: So many white roses.
CHIAKI: And red roses.
DIANA: The roses with Fukiko get kind of over the top.
VRAI: [mock-surprised] No!
DIANA: I mean, she’s having a kind of breakdown and she snaps a rose in half. Like, that’s not saying anything!
MERCEDEZ: I think it’s interesting because she snaps a white rose specifically, and that’s pretty poignant, y’all. That’s pretty poignant.
VRAI: Bless them for spending episodes and episodes with all of this secondary flower imagery, and then it decided for several episodes to just do roses, which are easy mode flower language, just for me. They’ve done this for me. It’s good.
So, Henmi shows back up in this batch of episodes. We didn’t actually talk about him in the first episode, and he wasn’t in the second batch, so I guess we should spend some time on him before we get into the other characters that I care about more.
CHIAKI: I mean, I tried to bring him up a little bit, but y’all don’t like him, so we ignored him. I’m curious. He’s reading all of the letters Nanako’s sending him, right? He knows what’s going on, right?
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, that’s… It seems like he does.
DIANA: I feel like he’s trying to not bring things up in real life to her much, just because he’s worried about how awkward it might seem. I’m not going to attribute malice to him. He’s just doing his thing, and I guess he actually does seem like a nice enough guy to not want to make the awkward teenager feel more awkward.
VRAI: He does seem like he’s meant to be the dream of “What if there was an adult man in this world who didn’t suck?”
VRAI: But I think you also get the impression from him that he’s kind of discounting a lot of this as teens being teens—not in an intentionally diminishing way, but, you know, being a teenager is melodramatic a lot of the time, and I think probably some of that he’s accurate about and some of that he’s maybe downplaying more than is called for in this particular set of circumstances.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I do think the reading of him kind of downplaying things is really reflective of how a lot of issues surrounding, in this case, socialized cis women and how fraught a lot of relationships when you are a teenager feel.
I didn’t at all go to a private school, but I remember in public school the social dynamics and the intensity of female friendships kind of felt a lot like this. And it got played off as melodrama, but for Nanako in the world she’s inhabiting, it is very real and there are some things that also maybe an adult should say, “Hm, that’s not pretty great.” [Chuckles] “That’s not good. That’s not good, Nanako.”
DIANA: I have some more thoughts about Henmi and the way he acts that you will find out more about.
VRAI: I mean, he definitely probably is also carrying around his own trauma because his dad was just like, “Good work with that, son. I did get a new family, so, good luck?” And as near as I can tell, he spent the rest of his adolescence hanging out with the Ichinomiya family, which would permanently skew your ability to recognize and do anything about trauma and fucked-up family dynamics.
DIANA: Entire family needs therapy! Dear Brother, but the cast got sent to therapy.
VRAI: It’s that book meme. I will say… This is the part of the episode where I make oblique references to Utena and try my best not to be spoilery. I don’t trust Takeshi [sic] as far as I can throw him. He drives a top-down car too fast.
[Editor’s Note: The character’s name is Takashi, but sometimes the hosts call him Takeshi by mistake. This has been preserved in the transcript.]
DIANA: Oh, I get what you’re implying there! [Chuckles]
VRAI: I’m going to go ahead and make my call now that this man has been sexually abusing his sister and Fukiko is, while also being horrible, trying to protect Rei from him. That is my shot in the dark.
DIANA: I hear you saying this. I will say nothing.
VRAI: Very well. It is acknowledged.
CHIAKI: Honestly, when Takeshi was coming down to talk about Nanako to Fukiko, I was like, “Is he gaslighting her? Is this a thing? Is this a gaslighting?” That was my first thought.
VRAI: [Chuckles] Something is not right there. And I do actually find the scenes with Henmi and Takeshi kind of interesting because they are so comparatively quiet to the school melodrama and yet they’re also kind of ominous, maybe just by contrast.
DIANA: Yeah, I get what you mean. The fact, also, that they are tied to the rest of this cast kind of leaves you wondering what on earth is going to be coming up next.
VRAI: There’s something so nonchalant but also deeply not right about Takeshi lying about visiting Rei that I keep sticking on. I don’t know why. It’s probably nothing, but I keep sticking on it.
MERCEDEZ: I think it would be easy to say it’s probably nothing, but Dear Brother thus far has not been the kind of show that lays something down without picking it back up. And I don’t think it’s probably nothing. I think it’s going to be Something—Something, with a capital S.
VRAI: Mm. Speaking of Rei, I’m so proud of my daughter! And she makes me so sad!
MERCEDEZ: Oh my God, when Rei laughed, anytime during this arc, I was like, “Oh! Sweet baby! You’re happy! You’re happy, yay!”
DIANA: [crosstalk] I love Rei. I love Rei so much. I want Rei to be happy.
VRAI: And I still very much want her and Kaoru to do a smooch. Wah!
DIANA: Although, speaking of Kaoru, that whole thing with Mariko crushing on her… Oh, that was…
MERCEDEZ: It’s so good! It’s so good!
VRAI: They’re so cute.
MERCEDEZ: It’s so good.
DIANA: I was just screaming inside the entire time when Mariko’s getting teased for having a crush on her, and instead of doing what you would expect from anime at the time and going, “Ugh! I could never have a crush on another girl,” Mariko just goes straight for “Ugh! But she’s so unfeminine! You think I’d have a crush on that?” And I’m just like, “Oh, my God!”
VRAI: “I am strictly a femme-for-femme lesbian!”
CHIAKI: “She looks like a dude! No!”
DIANA: I was, like, cry-laughing.
CHIAKI: Ah, yes. Everyone is so gay.
VRAI: [fondly] Oh, Mariko’s so…
MERCEDEZ: Everyone is just straight-up wanting to smooch. Seiran Girls Academy is really putting the girl into lesbianism. It is just femmes loving femmes. And honestly, we stan.
DIANA: It’s great.
VRAI: Now, now, there’s also a butch and a dandy here, and they’re good and I support them.
MERCEDEZ: I do apologize because that is erasure of some very good spectrum representation of all the beautiful forms of lesbianism.
VRAI: Does Nanako count as a futch?
MERCEDEZ: Oh, absolutely!
MERCEDEZ: [Laughs] I didn’t mean to get so defensive about that, but yes.
VRAI: [Laughs] Her looks are all good, and I love them.
MERCEDEZ: They’re so good.
VRAI: We did touch on in episode 1 that this show—or maybe the manga more so and then the show in addition to that—was very much a predecessor to the Class S genre. And boy, is that all over the place in this one with, on the one hand, the love confessions between Kaoru and Mariko and even between Rei and Nanako, although, boy, there’s stuff to dig into there.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Fraught. It’s so fraught.
VRAI: [Chuckles] It’s all really normalized that obviously they would have crushes on these very cool upperclassman girls, because of course. But at the same time, there’s that “walled garden” mentality where there’s the quiet assumption that—I don’t even think Tomoko is meant to be even unconsciously malicious here in how she’s framed that “Obviously, if you could be around men, you would want to date one of them,” and that’s always going to take precedence. Like with Mariko being very threatened by Henmi existing, even when Tomoko tries to say that, no, no, he’s like her brother.
MERCEDEZ: It has a very LUG vibe about it, and it made me think of my own high school experience of, you know, it’s all right to experience this within this certain period of time, but you know you’re going to have to grow up and that this is just not something you can do in society. And there’s this heightened effect because you do have these two young women who confess and are like, “I have this crush. I have these feelings.” But also, I’m just like, oh, will these feelings get to carry on outside of Seiran or…? Who knows?
DIANA: I thought it was really interesting in the scene where Nanako is meeting Kaoru at the end of the hospital that the word Nanako chooses to use to describe the kind of love is “koi,” and that was just like, “Oh, okay! We’re going there.”
CHIAKI: Which is actually pointed out in that whole English lesson, as well. It’s like “I would use ‘love’ rather than ‘affection.’”
VRAI: Yeah, that translation scene is so interesting and how it deliberately plays with ambiguity of language and poeticism and connects it back to the feels.
DIANA: This series is so good.
MERCEDEZ: It is, it is.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Good, actually
MERCEDEZ: Though I have to take a moment to take a small dig at the subs on RetroCrush, because that scene in question was ruined for me because at some point the sub said “Who was him?” and I was like…
CHIAKI: Who was who?
MERCEDEZ: “Who was him?” I think it was continuing into another scene, and I was just like, “These subs keep throwing me off. Y’all taking away from the romance.”
DIANA: [crosstalk] There definitely are some typos on there.
VRAI: I have to wonder if the Dear Brother subs on RetroCrush were like a dry run, because they are slightly different from the Blu-ray subs.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Okay, that’s good to know. That’s good to know.
DIANA: They are. They seem to have fixed some of the issues from when it first went up with the truly catastrophic timing issues. They seem to have fixed that a little bit, but around episode 8 originally, the sub timing was so messed up that you would have subs firing off while no one was speaking.
VRAI: Oh, it’s like trying to watch The Untamed on Netflix. Aw…
VRAI: Sorry, keep going.
DIANA: Or I was thinking trying to watch the JoJo OVA DVDs subtitled.
VRAI: [inhales sharply]
CHIAKI: Sorry, I never have these problems.
VRAI: You do not relate. [Chuckles] Poor Mariko I feel so bad for, because she is now the trope that will go on to exist after her in perpetuity of the quote-unquote “real lesbian,” in that she’s very frightened of and disgusted by men in a way that suggests we’re definitely going to hear some trauma about that later.
MERCEDEZ: It is interesting because I did have the very… [Chuckles] And maybe this was a sleep-deprived thought. At one point while watching I was like, “Dang, if Mariko existed in modern anime today, someone would be like Mariko’s a bit of a TERF and a bit of a man-hater,” because I was like, “Aw, no. Oh no, Mariko, you’re playing into a really hazardous trope.”
But I have to imagine at the time Mariko was probably a really refreshing take on a character who… She’s fully on board with being okay with liking women or people who present as women, and it’s… The man-hating was a little like, “Oh no, Mariko, oh no. I know there’s some trauma there, sweetie, but we gotta get you to a doctor to work that out. We gotta get you moving through that because…”
DIANA: She’s just so Turbo Gay Teenager that she’s just like, “I cannot even handle the thought of someone being attracted to a man.” And I’m like, “Okay, you’re a teenager. You’re very gay. I understand.”
CHIAKI: Yeah, that’s kind of how I was approaching it. Like, you obviously just have that moment where all men are evil. That can happen. I understand. But gosh! Just chill out!
VRAI: There was some kind of line she dropped there in reference to the “All men are wolves,” which gave me Pink Lady flashbacks of that, just as an expected, if we take this to still be set in the 1970s, saying of, you know, the… She’s also not entirely wrong vis-à-vis the rape culture of the 1970s.
CHIAKI: And also, just going back to Mariko’s story, that we got at least a little bit of a hint about, her dad is apparently kind of a piece of shit from what it looks like. So I can understand that her perspective is informed in a way.
MERCEDEZ: And I suppose there is the fact that as a teenager I don’t think you have the nuance that you just do as an adult. That’s a natural thing, right? So maybe I should actually cut Mariko some slack.
VRAI: I have to confess that I actually really related to Mariko in that scene of me at 16, because I think when you’re queer and have crushes on your straight friends there is that—where you get annoyingly overdefensive because you suddenly feel very vulnerable and transient, as though your affections are always going to lose out, even if it’s on a friendship level, with the prospect of a heterosexual relationship, even if it’s one that doesn’t have the effort put into it. So I really felt for her, even if #NotAllMen.
And again, I trust Takeshi as far as I can throw him, but also, I’m very nervous because I feel like… I don’t know, some of the setup for those scenes, where at the end of that thing, he was like, “I like her actually.” I was like, “Please don’t let them end up together. Please, I’ll die. I’ll die and I’ll kill something.”
CHIAKI: I just took that as he wants to be stepped on.
VRAI: [Groans in a laughing way]
DIANA: Oh my God.
CHIAKI: You’re welcome.
CHIAKI: By the way, speaking of that episode, can I just have a shout out to Spyro Gyra? Yeah, I’m just saying, Spyro Gyra, great ‘90s easy listening funk rock band. Took me back. [Chuckles] It wasn’t Spyro Gyra playing, by the way. It just felt very Spyro Gyra.
VRAI: It had the mood of. Nice.
Poor Nanako’s having a bad time.
MERCEDEZ: She’s having it rough. Nanako’s gonna be afraid of closets, storerooms, water.
MERCEDEZ: This is not a nice school for this poor, sweet child.
CHIAKI: You know, with luck she’ll actually get therapy rather than anyone else in this show.
DIANA: Everyone needs therapy.
MERCEDEZ: Especially Fukiko.
VRAI: Mm-hm. Yeah, I’m cashing in… My second oblique Utena reference is to say that the train crossing phone call scene with Fukiko and Nanako has big episode 33 vibes.
Anyway. [Chuckles] They really ramped up the doll imagery with Nanako in this set of episodes, and it did break my heart.
DIANA: Yeah. As you go through the whole show, you’re going to start to see more and more what the imagery in the opening that at first looks entirely unrelated is actually about, and I think we’re all at the point where we can start to notice that.
VRAI: There was always the doll imagery with Rei having one, and now we know that she probably got it from Fukiko. And we have Nanako’s growing insecurity where at first that was a nice thing where Rei sort of singled her out and had a special nickname for her, but now she feels discardable as the quote-unquote “doll.” She’s not somebody that Rei considers worth her time and attention or worth fighting to hold on to. And the scene where she just sits there in that white dress that she gets after… I call the date scene “And Now She Is a Woman.”
MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] Yeah, that’s a good way to call it.
VRAI: I was watching this with my partner. While we were watching that scene where she finally sits down and cries—because of course she did, she’s having a horrible time—my partner chimed, “If this were a European art movie, she would get her first period now in that white dress.”
MERCEDEZ: Oh my God.
DIANA: Oh no.
MERCEDEZ: So true. Yeah, Nanako is just not… Thank God that didn’t happen because Nanako would really be having a bad time.
VRAI: It’s just so sad because she is trying to grow up and the situation is not healthy for it in many ways, and also her parents are still treating her like a little girl and have no… I think what’s so authentically teenage is that sense of… “Adults don’t understand the emotional turmoil of teenagers” can seem so trite and petty, but this does it so well.
MERCEDEZ: It really does.
DIANA: I am still just constantly shocked that an adult man was the director of this. How did that even happen? How did he figure out this so well?
VRAI: Mm-hm. An adult man who mostly worked on masculine-type anime like Ashita no Joe and Astro Boy and… I think he did some shoujo, but he was not a shoujo guy.
DIANA: Yeah, he did a little more than half of Rose of Versailles, but…
CHIAKI: I think it’s just a penchant for empathy, I guess.
MERCEDEZ: That’s exactly what I was thinking. It just feels like someone who listened and paid attention to the very real interior lives that people experience when they are socialized feminine, and just translated that into the show and, you know, heightened parts of it, because I don’t know about anyone else feminine, but I did not go through half of what Nanako did in high school. But it also…
CHIAKI: You didn’t?
MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] You know, I guess I was absent the day when a tall blonde with corkscrew hair decided to mess up my entire life. But it feels relatable, though. That’s the thing.
And I like that. I like that there’s this timelessness—though, y’all, I did have a moment where when Nanako got into some mess with the lake, I was like, “Oh God, Nanako, take out your smartphone.” And I was like, “Huh. Weren’t invented yet.” There’s this kind of timelessness, though, to what she’s going through that’s really nice.
DIANA: God, the whole scene with her getting locked in the room would have been so much easier if she had a smartphone.
CHIAKI: That’s what I was thinking.
MERCEDEZ: I was like, “Nanako, open up the phone app! Text somebody!”
CHIAKI: But also, I get that if you really don’t know who the heck has it out for you, you don’t know who is… Nanako does not realize that Fukiko is doing this to her. But I feel like, gosh, just notice! She’s not a good person. Just please notice, like, “Oh, I got locked in! I don’t know why, but I got called to this random tea party on a Sunday. Oh, and I was asked to do this weird errand that no one else apparently had to. And now I’m locked in a closet. What the heck? I wonder who could have been so cruel to do this to me?” I’m like, Nanako!
DIANA: [crosstalk] And it’s not like she hasn’t seen Fukiko do something horrible before. Like, are we forgetting the whole ikebana spiky accident?
MERCEDEZ: Awnaw, the spiky frog!
CHIAKI: The spiky frog!
VRAI: [Chuckles] It is definitely the closest part where the series has come to pushing credibility. So far, mostly I think it’s been pretty good about Nanako being too naive. And she clearly is very nervous of Fukiko and specifically of making Fukiko angry.
MERCEDEZ: I’d be anxious too!
CHIAKI: I mean, everyone would be.
DIANA: It makes me anxious just watching this show sometimes.
MERCEDEZ: Though I do think about the line where Fukiko said, “I love your innocence and purity.” She mentions that specifically. Fukiko knows exactly that Nanako is this very genuinely sweet, not-still-a-girl, not-yet-a-woman kind of child.
Fukiko knows Nanako’s kind of oblivious to the machinations and the way that the world is working within Seiran, so I think that’s why she can kind of get away with “Oh, Nanako. Come to the storeroom with this time, alone, and go get this teacup at the back of the storeroom. And just grab the key, but just take it with you, take it with you inside, and don’t look back. Don’t look back, Nanako. Just get the teacup and don’t look back.”
CHIAKI: Yeah, leave the padlock half on the door.
MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] Nanako, you silly, silly, foolish child!
VRAI: At this point, I am just so detective-hat-on because I have watched anime that were made after Dear Brother, that at this point I am just looking for what is Fuji—Fukiko’s… I keep trying to call her Fujiko.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Oh, dear.
VRAI: [Chuckles] … what is Fukiko’s damage, that I was watching that scene like, “All right, well, she was only planning to lock her in there for a couple of hours, and then she’d probably have discovered her and let her out, so she’d be fine!” Because clearly she doesn’t want her to go to that fair where her brother is. But also, Fukiko, no! Stop it!
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, that’s not how we handle our feelings, Fukiko. [Chuckles]
VRAI: Oh, it’s not okay! But I’m fascinated by the way my brain is desperately trying to engineer what has to be a deeply tragic backstory for this human monster we’ve been presented! Because, my God! She’s horrible, especially to Rei. I die!
MERCEDEZ: Y’all, when Fukiko was like, “You’re invited to my birthday party,” like “Oh, thanks, eldest sister. How gracious of you to allow me to come to an event”? It was so… Ah, God, and the whole party it’s just like, oh geez! Oh no! [Chuckles] Do you think she cut those violin strings and everyone stayed for extra hors d’oeuvres?
CHIAKI: I mean, they tried, they tried for a quick hot second, and then they were like, “Nah. Nah, the vibe’s off. The vibe’s off.”
VRAI: Was there cake? Can I get that to go?
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] I mean, can someone get me, like, a fancy saucer of cake and some of those snacks, please? I’ll eat them on the train ride home.
CHIAKI: They all drove and they were all drinking.
MERCEDEZ: Oh, that’s true. That’s true.
CHIAKI: Not that that would actually have stopped anyone from driving home back in the ‘90s in Japan, but, you know…
DIANA: Yet again, this whole series just makes me wish that Rei were lucky enough to have more people who actually cared.
VRAI: She is so tall and yet so small.
MERCEDEZ: But she’s laughing now. That’s good. Rei’s laughing a lot more.
CHIAKI: I’m glad that sports is fulfilling her.
VRAI: Kaoru’s gonna yoga her out of her depression and to not doing drugs.
MERCEDEZ: Kaoru’s gotta be careful with that yoga, though, because one more hit to the chest and it is over! It is over!
VRAI: When they said, “Live like you are dying,” this is not what they meant!
MERCEDEZ: Kaoru took YOLO to be very serious.
VRAI: [Chuckles] It does hurt my heart that both Kaoru and Nanako are trying so hard to take care of Rei and they are each just a little bit unsuited in a disastrous way. Nanako has no idea about the history there that would be very helpful to her, and Kaoru has her own baggage such that she is just trying to force what she has decided works for her onto Rei and “if you would just do this then you would be fine!” And it hurts.
MERCEDEZ: It does feel very much so like teenagers, though, trying to help other teenagers and their peers.
VRAI: Oh, it’s deeply real.
MERCEDEZ: This was high school.
VRAI: It’s just so sad because they really care about her. But she’s not better! She’s a little better, but…
MERCEDEZ: She’s a little better, up until that scene where she gave Nanako a cigarette.
DIANA: Oh my God!
MERCEDEZ: That Lucky Strike, unfiltered, messed Nanako up.
DIANA: I want a cigarette that does that! [Chuckles]
VRAI: Just one puff!
MERCEDEZ: I was like, “Did Nanako do a weed?” Because Nanako starts floating. And I was like, “Or did Nanako inhale too deeply, like she’s lightheaded now?”
CHIAKI: I mean, I don’t think cigarettes do even that.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, I’ve never smoked, so it’s still got this mysticism around it. But I agree: I don’t think cigarettes do that.
CHIAKI: And even if it was laced with pot, it wouldn’t be that immediate.
DIANA: No, I can’t think of pretty much anything that you would easily smoke that would make you suddenly have hallucinations of the person who gave it to you playing piano with a devil mask on. Like, my God.
MERCEDEZ: That was so good and dramatic. So good.
VRAI: She can be your angle or your devil.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Imagine that letter to her brother: “Dear brother, today I smoked a cigarette that really got me lit.”
MERCEDEZ: Like, Jesus!
CHIAKI: “Dear brother, have you ever done drugs?”
VRAI: [Laughs] Okay, that scene is so heartbreaking, though, because it’s like cycle-of-abuse shit where Rei also decides to just peace out without responding to anything, just like her sister, and also she has decided Nanako is not allowed to change because she liked the feeling that their relationship had and it was comforting to her, but also she doesn’t have to commit anything, just like her sister.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, it’s not good. It’s not good. It is not healthy.
CHIAKI: And then Nanako’s just kinda like, “I trust this person.” I’m like, no! What makes you…?
VRAI: Listen, if I had known a girl like Rei in high school, I also would have been just lethally foolish.
DIANA: [crosstalk] Oh, for sure.
CHIAKI: Look, I was smitten with the school goth, completely, and even I knew I should not trust a single thing she said.
MERCEDEZ: Look, we all have weaknesses, and 16-year-old me would have been like, “Rei shattered my heart. Yes!”
MERCEDEZ: I’m just gonna keep it real.
VRAI: And now I’m even sadder that Rei is definitely not going to live to the end of the series.
MERCEDEZ: Oh, we don’t know that.
VRAI: No, she’s going to die. Look at her!
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] There’s gonna be at least a couple of deaths.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, okay, well, you know what? [Chuckles] I feel like Rei’s got a little character kind of plot armor, maybe. Aw, but Rei probably gon’ die in the finale.
VRAI: It’s not helped by the fact that she doesn’t… In this episode we have not one but two characters who threatened me with visions of faceless men in their dreams. I felt threatened by those scenes. It seems like both Kaoru and Fukiko had tall, broad-shouldered men who were deeply impactful on their journeys through life, what they choose to do… I’m sure that there will be tragic backstory in those.
Also, if they’re both Henmi I will lose my shit.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Oh, you already know, Vrai, you already know. Don’t even pretend. We all know it’s Henmi. We all know it’s probably gon’ be Henmi.
VRAI: [Groans] He can’t… Look, the one good guy in this entire universe can’t also have inspired that many young bisexuals!
CHIAKI: I’m just guessing it has to be Takashi. It has to be Ichinomiya.
MERCEDEZ: Ooh, but that would be interesting.
CHIAKI: Right? You said it yourself. Dude drives an open-top car.
MERCEDEZ: That is true.
CHIAKI: Henmi’s just probably—
DIANA: Pointedly saying absolutely nothing.
CHIAKI: Henmi is probably just like Nanako, just kinda along for the ride, going like, “All right. This is kinda weird, but all right!”
VRAI: “These nice young ladies seem pleasant. I hope they’re having a good time.” Henmi! Why?
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] I’m sorry, Henmi is more Tomoko, I guess. [Laughs] He’s, like, along for the ride.
CHIAKI: “Yeah, all this is happening.”
VRAI: All right, now I’m coming around to Henmi as just blasély unaware.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Hey, that’s actually my favorite reading of Henmi: just there.
VRAI: “I like these girls. I would like to be supportive of them in a completely appropriate way. I hope my friend isn’t doing anything to endanger that.”
MERCEDEZ: Oh my God. Oh my God!
VRAI: All right, y’all, but take your bets now on Fukiko’s whole deal.
MERCEDEZ: Well, it’s hard to say what her whole deal is, huh.
VRAI: We have a lot of details this time from now, though.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] We do?
CHIAKI: Yeah. You have to factor in: the mom is dead. Rei, Takashi, and Fukiko’s mom is dead. Or no. No, no, no, no. Rei’s mom is dead.
VRAI: Yes. Takashi and Fukiko’s mom is…
CHIAKI: Who knows?
VRAI: Mom and dad are somewhere? Presumably alive.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] On Earth.
CHIAKI: But Rei’s mom is dead.
DIANA: [crosstalk] Not doing a good job for their kids.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Yeah, because Rei had to have a dead parent. This storyline was not gonna let Rei escape without one parent being absent.
VRAI: Because look at her!
MERCEDEZ: Fukiko, much like a really good piece of baklava, has layers. I mean, there’s just the on-the-surface… you know, the mannerisms, the cattiness, and then you get to Fukiko drowning somebody, almost, and you’re like, “Ooh, I don’t really know what’s going on here. But it’s not good; I’ll tell you that.”
CHIAKI: Did Fukiko and Rei accidentally drown their mom?
MERCEDEZ: With that smile Fukiko gave Nanako, that is fully possible. That smile she gives her as she is dragging her to the depths like Ursula dragging Ariel down because she broke some sort of witch curse… Yeah, Fukiko killed her mama. [Chuckles]
VRAI: [deadpan] Look, it was just a little bit of drowning and then she saved her and now she’s dependent on her. Isn’t that great?
MERCEDEZ: She smiles when Nanako’s foot is caught in a branch. She’s like, “Heh-heh! Look at me!”
CHIAKI: Yeah. Belly grow.
MERCEDEZ: And then she’s like, “Okay, enough oxygen deprivation for today.”
VRAI: Can has little a-drowning.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Also, can we talk about the real evil is that Fukiko’s hair stayed the same as she was underwater?
DIANA: Oh my God!
CHIAKI: How much hairspray was that?
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Witchcraft! [Chuckles]
DIANA: I think you’d have to go full cosplayer and be using watered-down glue for that, but even then you could eventually get it out if it soaked enough. I would know.
MERCEDEZ: That was some witchcraft on Fukiko’s part. Them corkscrews stayed the same. They might be buoyant, they were so the-same-shaped.
CHIAKI: I mean, that’s what makes her a good swimmer, right?
MERCEDEZ: It’s all in the corkscrews!
VRAI: It’s buoyancy.
DIANA: Okay, that’s how she does her hair! She spirals it around some frickin’ pool noodles. It all makes sense now!
MERCEDEZ: Oh my God. Can you imagine the maid for Fukiko being like, “Lady Miya, here’s your… fanoodle for the day.” [Chuckles]
VRAI: I love that maid who just wanders in like… “All right, we need a character who can explain the sad backstory of this extremely Gothic summer home. But none of the existing cast are going to be willing to spill. All right! We’re gonna need to invent somebody who just really likes talking.”
CHIAKI: And immediately written off. Immediately written off.
VRAI: [crosstalk] It was so good!
MERCEDEZ: Packs her bags super quickly.
VRAI: That was Fujiko.
MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] Oh my God.
VRAI: Which, frankly, I am willing to accept as a headcanon because I did learn between the last record and this one that apparently Rei’s voice actor played Clarisse in Castle of Cagliostro, which has filled me with happiness.
DIANA: [crosstalk] Sure did!
VRAI: [crosstalk] Ah! Warm.
DIANA: Rei’s actor did such a good job in this role. Like, my God.
MERCEDEZ: Mm, mm. So good.
VRAI: She’s so good! Ah! This entire cast seems to be a who’s-who of extremely major ‘80s and ‘90s actresses, but her in particular stood out for me this batch. She’s just so vulnerable.
Also, I’ve been keeping track of… the show is clearly doing something (TM) with when you can see Fukiko’s face versus when she doesn’t have one during ominous scenes. And then they did that to Rei during Nanako’s love confession, and it did stab me in the heart.
MERCEDEZ: You know what? I forgot that. Yeah, Rei ain’t making it out of this series alive, huh.
VRAI: No. There is simply no way!
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] The death flag has been raised. Oh no, I made an unintentional pun: it’s been Rei-sed! Aw.
DIANA: [groaning sadly] Oh!
CHIAKI: [Hums somberly]
MERCEDEZ: I’m so sad! It’s really heartbreaking. Oh, gosh. Yeah. Honestly, I don’t think Rei’s making it out of the next stretch of shows, y’all. I don’t think…
VRAI: Well, I don’t know. I mean, let’s see, the way the show has been structured so far, the first nine or so episodes was about Mariko, and then the next eight or nine was about Rei, and I assume probably the next three or four will be about Fukiko. And then we’re gonna have like ten episodes left. And I think we’re out of major beautiful women with damage. So…
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Is it Tomoko Time?
MERCEDEZ: I would love a stretch of episodes where Tomoko is just trying to make heads or tails of what is going on.
CHIAKI: Just listening, going like, “And then Fukiko did what? And Mariko did what? Who’s this Takeshi guy? What!?” [Chuckles]
VRAI: Tomoko is so good. She’s such a good friend this batch. She’s just… Ah.
DIANA: We all deserve a Tomoko in our lives.
MERCEDEZ: We really do.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] We do. We do.
DIANA: I’m making my own slightly oblique Utena reference in saying that she’s like Wakaba but better, much better.
VRAI: I was about to say, Wakaba is clearly just Ikuhara looking at Tomoko and being like, “There’s no way somebody in this world is this well-adjusted.”
DIANA: Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. But no, she’s just a refreshing dose of both normality and niceness.
MERCEDEZ: She’s just a good kid, just a really good, sweet kid.
CHIAKI: Tomoko is gonna go to college, get a degree in business or something, and ten years on, everyone’s gonna be living some lavish, drama-filled celebrity lifestyle, and she’ll just be like, “Yeah, I just got promoted to manager and I’m doing pretty well for myself. I’m thinking about starting a family,” and everyone else is like, “Wow. Imagine that.”
MERCEDEZ: Imagine family.
VRAI: When you’re the one heterosexual friend!
CHIAKI: It’s like, “Yeah, I just started my 401(k). It’s looking pretty good now.”
MERCEDEZ: I really want to see the sequel to this where Tomoko is just living life and is like, “You know, high school had some rough spots, but [I] came out of it okay. Doing pretty well.”
CHIAKI: “You know, you make your real friends in college…”
VRAI: I just… It’s so… And the show itself would just fall apart without her, because we need those breather hopeful moments.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] You need the levity. You absolutely need the levity that she brings.
VRAI: Ah. It’s good, actually.
MERCEDEZ: This entire [show is] very good.
VRAI: Y’all, I don’t know if you know this, but this show is good.
MERCEDEZ: It’s really good.
DIANA: I feel like that could be the entire podcast, just all of us screaming, “This is good. This is good. Watch it. Here’s some content warnings. This is good.”
MERCEDEZ: I mean, and I’ll say, hot take: in the barren desert that is winter 2021… Oh, God, we’re in 2022. In winter 2022’s anime season like this? This is a buffet. This is good!
VRAI: I have fallen behind on every seasonal anime right now.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] You’re not missing out.
VRAI: I’m watching Dear Brother and I am watching the Mo Dao Zu Shi donghua, and that’s my life.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] I mean, I’ll tell you, Vrai, you’re not missing out on anything. Well, you know what?
CHIAKI: No, no!
MERCEDEZ: You are missing out on some good stuff.
CHIAKI: I mean, Miss Kuroitsu is really good.
VRAI: Listen, I’ll catch up on at least two or three things, but…
CHIAKI: And World’s End Harem’s pretty good.
VRAI: [skeptical] Is it, Chiaki?
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] I was gonna say, whatever that one is with all the censor bars, that looks pretty wild.
CHIAKI: It’s great. It’s great.
DIANA: I cannot believe that that was put on TV. [Chuckles]
MERCEDEZ: Anything goes.
CHIAKI: You’d be surprised.
MERCEDEZ: You know what you don’t have to censor, though? Your love for Dear Brother! It’s so good! [Chuckles]
VRAI: Oh yeah! I was about to say: Peter, I’m gonna tell you to cut most of this, but that was a beautiful transition back.
MERCEDEZ: I always boomerang it back to the topic.
VRAI: Heck yeah.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, this batch was good. Lots of character growth, lots of little happy moments, lots of traumatic moments. PTSD! [Chuckles]
VRAI: At a certain point, I stopped trying to keep track of what was an actual reference to classic literature and what is stuff that got invented for the show, like the Wanderer of Love. They did have that Shakespeare sonnet, though… the famous one… Sonnet 18 (there we go!), that Fukiko recites in full, which is an interesting choice, and then cries dramatically about it.
DIANA: Someone help her.
MERCEDEZ: Maybe someone needs to just give Fukiko a hug, actually, maybe a cooldown hug to remind her, “You have done a lot of things that weren’t very nice, Fukiko, but you too can become a better version of who you are.”
CHIAKI: That’s very forgiving.
VRAI: I did want to— Umph. Listen, in this show, you gotta set the bar accordingly.
CHIAKI: You were saying.
VRAI: [Laughs] No, I was going to ask you guys about… I always see pinwheels in anime, and I never think too much about it beyond just summertime of youth, innocence, transience… Is there symbolism I’m missing? Because they feel really crucial in that scene between Nanako and Henmi.
MERCEDEZ: I would say… I mean, pinwheels just feel like an innocent thing, right? Because children play with them. We’re all kind of encouraged, I would say, pretty generally to see them as kind of a socially childish toy and as a socially childish item. So, I would say innocence, for sure. Good old pinwheels. Good old pinwheels.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Good old pinwheels.
DIANA: Can I out of absolutely nowhere bring up what one of my favorite little things that appeared in the background was?
VRAI: Go on.
DIANA: When we’re entering into the festival and they have all of the posters for things there, and one of them is just the Robocop poster except two letters are flipped so it says Borocop.
VRAI: I love Borocop!
DIANA: I have no idea where I would logically fit in Borocop, but I have to say, I love it.
MERCEDEZ: It’s good stuff. It’s good stuff.
VRAI: By the way, I am putting here in the recording chat a link to Anno drawing and geeking out about Mariko from the Evangelion LaserDiscs. It’s very cute.
CHIAKI: Oh yeah. Yeah, I saw that.
DIANA: Oh, wow!
VRAI: Yeah. It’s totally on purpose, gang. Actually, after I saw that, I was thinking a lot about… Now, as much as I love Evangelion and it was pretty important to me and remains so (you know, we did a whole watchalong; you can go hear my long-form feelings about that show there), it does now kind of kill me that that show gets a lot of credit for sort of mainstreaming psychological complexity and psychological trauma to anime—because in fairness, it kind of did. It was the one who had a lot of copycats and influence.
Yeah, but Dear Brother is here. Dear Brother, representing the longstanding issue of “Shoujo does a thing and it doesn’t get credit until a series aimed at dudes does it also.”
DIANA: Mm, hate it!
VRAI: Because, yes, this is a melodrama, but for 1991 particularly, it is surprisingly psychologically sophisticated.
MERCEDEZ: Oh, it’s got layers.
DIANA: Like an ogre.
CHIAKI: Like a box of chocolates. Sorry.
VRAI: [Chuckles] Onion chocolates.
MERCEDEZ: Ugh. [Chuckles]
VRAI: [Chuckles] You’re welcome!
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I would really be happy if more people… because I will say, as someone who hasn’t really revisited a lot of older classic series until actually coming aboard at Anime Feminist, it’s really good— Dear Brother is good. I almost just called it Good Brother, because it is. It’s good, brother. But it… [Chuckles] Who knows? Maybe there’s not a good brother in this show.
But Dear Brother is really quite… I can see all of these strings where other series have taken this deep inspiration from it. And I just wish more people would watch it, because it’s really good.
VRAI: It is actively breaking my heart that, even wanting to watch this show, I couldn’t until now. I know that there is a fansub out there, but I stopped doing that when I stopped being a teenager, and even then, it was not one of the more readily available ones, as I recall.
DIANA: Oh, for certain.
VRAI: This series was hard to get. And it’s already got a hill to climb to get people to watch it in that it’s more than 20 years old and it’s a shoujo. And I’m sad.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] But it’s so good!
VRAI: You know what? This has become the evolution of the battle cry of “Do go buy Dear Brother right now if it seems at all interesting to you,” before that license runs out, because Ikeda.
MERCEDEZ: This is easily… And I hope it doesn’t come off cheesy saying this. This is probably one of the best anime I’ve ever watched. It’s easily top ten. It’s good.
VRAI: Yeah. I don’t know that I… Obviously we’re only two-thirds of the way through. I’m not prepared to call it better than Utena, but Utena doesn’t exist without this show, for sure. And it’s really good.
DIANA: The correct choice of action is to watch them both.
VRAI: Yes! Good. Nailed it.
This episode’s a little bit loopy, folks at home, because we are all going through it, as we record.
CHIAKI: Just to put this into context, this is daylight savings day, as well, so we’re sleep-deprived and we are going through our own personal demons.
MERCEDEZ: Sure am! Wink!
DIANA: [Hums tensely and chuckles]
VRAI: Yep! Boy howdy!
MERCEDEZ: But you know what?
VRAI: [crosstalk] So I am sorry!
MERCEDEZ: Maybe next arc, some of those personal demons will have been resolved.
VRAI: Yes, another peek behind the curtain for folks at home is that when I approached Diana about doing this podcast run, I said, “Do you have any suggestions about how I should break up the episodes?” because of deciding whether it’ll be five or six or what-have-you. And what she said to me was “The only thing you really have to do is that episodes 24 and 25 have to be together.” So that’s gonna be—
DIANA: I slightly miscounted on that. It was actually the two after that, but we really need to keep the lineup for that together, because oh boy, next section of episodes… Oh boy.
I’m gonna give everybody some very special content warnings at the end of this episode because I do not think it is socially responsible to let people go into this without having the faintest idea of what’s about to happen. No spoilers; just very detailed content warning because, y’all… I read Berserk and some of what’s coming up is difficult.
MERCEDEZ: Oh no.
VRAI: Yeah, that is something we really want to include. Before we let Diana get into that, for folks who want to go in completely unawares without even the content warnings, is there anything we didn’t—want to touch on before we head up? I liked the sad, sad window bar imagery on Kaoru in the hospital. That was the only thing I had in my notes that I did not bring up yet.
CHIAKI: Little things: I was surprised to learn that the English teacher has a name.
MERCEDEZ: [Chuckles] Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: I personally really liked it when Fukiko cut the violin strings with what looked like a serrated butter knife. [Chuckles]
CHIAKI: That takes skill.
MERCEDEZ: Sis cut that like how I do when I’m trying to cut some bread that’s a little hard, and it was really good. It was a very funny scene.
MERCEDEZ: So that’s kind of where I’m at.
VRAI: Incredible. No, you know what? I think that was good. All right, I will do our wrap-up really quick, and then we will have content warnings for the next batch of episodes, which incidentally, if you are following along at home, will be episodes 24 through 31, because this will be a five-episode podcast watchalong.
Thank you so much for joining us, AniFam. If you liked what you heard here, you can find more of what we do on the page and in your earbuds by going to www.animefeminist.com.
If you really liked what you heard, consider pitching us $1 a month on our Patreon, patreon.com/animefeminist. It really helps make sure we pay our contributors and our editors fairly. We would love to be able to pay them more, and it makes sure that we are able to keep our accessibility standards up to par with things like transcripts for these very podcasts that you are listening to or reading right now.
We also have a store, which is animefeminist.com/store, where you can find very cute designs by Katy Castillo [Correction: Teri Archibald; Katy is our web designer] and Nico Neeks on stickers and mugs and shirts and hoodies, and it’s very good.
Thank you for joining us, AniFam, and let’s buckle up for tears next time.
All right, content warnings, Diana. Go.
DIANA: There have been warnings in the past for suicidal ideation. I cannot overemphasize exactly how strong the suicidal ideation and discussion of suicide content warnings should be. It is going to be very rough and very graphic. Please, make sure that you do not binge-watch these episodes. Make sure that you have time to take a break.
This is some of the most emotionally upsetting content in all of anime. I still consider this to be one of my favorite series. But I am dreading this set of episodes for coming up. I just cannot tell you enough how much that is.
There is also going to be content warning for physical assault—not sexual assault, but physical assault. Knives are going to be brought up, and that is also an issue I know a lot of people have. So just brace yourself, take time after the episodes, and if this is too much for you, please know you are not the only person who cannot handle this. Maybe just go and read a summary of any of the episodes you find particularly upsetting and skip to the next one.
VRAI: I believe the Wikipedia does have at least functionally detailed episode summaries, so that is an option available to you if you need it.
DIANA: Yes, I went on Wikipedia, actual Wikipedia, to look at the summaries for the episodes in question, and they are detailed enough that if you cannot handle what is happening, you could just read the summaries for 25, 26, and skip it. I encourage you not to until you’ve at least tried them, but if you have to, there is no shame in it.
CHIAKI: And if you are watching this on the Blu-ray at home, do note that the third disc for the Blu-ray starts on 27, so that just means you can watch to episode 24 on the second disc and skip the last two if you really need to.
VRAI: That is good to know. Thank you, thank you. So we will brace for it and I will make a note not to binge it like I have literally every other time.
MERCEDEZ: I’m so glad someone said not to binge it because I would have been like, “Oh, let me just binge it all— Oh.” I would have been very sad.
VRAI: This is a very bingeable show. My God.
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] I’m still gonna binge it but it’s fine.
DIANA: The last time I did a rewatch, I got to one of those episodes, I watched it, I thought it was just as much of a masterwork as I’ve always thought, and then I paused it and went and hyperventilated for 15 minutes.
VRAI: Oh, it’s like watching Eva 25. Oh, what a good time. Good time, gang.
DIANA: [crosstalk] It hurt. It hurt so much. [Chuckles]
VRAI: All right, well, thank—
DIANA: Dear brother, the tears really won’t stop flowing.
VRAI: Dear brother, everything happens so much!
CHIAKI: Has anyone cried yet?
MERCEDEZ: Yeah! Multiple times.
VRAI: Not yet, but I’m hopin’. Keep those fingers crossed.
MERCEDEZ: I also cry very easily, so I don’t know if I’m a good metric.
CHIAKI: I mean, I haven’t cried, but, you know…
VRAI: Again, you did not cry at the end of Princess Tutu.
MERCEDEZ: [Gasps] Chiaki!
VRAI: No, I will not let it go.
CHIAKI: That’s true.
CHIAKI: Being emotionally dead helps.
VRAI: [Groans] All right, thank you for sticking around for this postscript, AniFam. We will see you next time.
DIANA: Thank you.