anime - April 30, 2023

Episode 4 – A Galaxy Next Door

©GidoAmagakure, KODANSHA/’Galaxy Next Door’ Production Committee

Maybe I’m wrong, but I found the family aspect of A Galaxy Next Door more satisfying than the romance. That’s not to say I don’t like Ichiro and Goshiki’s budding relationship; I like how they don’t beat around the bush. If their relationship isn’t exactly worth it at this point, and both parties admit it, at least it’s not an Instalove metaphor either. Of course, the speed with which they pair up could be a conscious statement of their work—we know that Goshiki is basing everything she knows about romance on shojo manga, which might hold her back. Likewise, Ichiro is struggling with the romantic component of his own shoujo work, so the relationship with Goshiki may be an offshoot of that. That doesn’t mean they don’t have real feelings for each other. But they’re probably going full steam ahead because it feels like it “should” work.

Luckily, they have kids to help bring them together in a completely different way than in the comics. The episode revolves around Machi and gives us a good look at how family events affect her life. She’s portrayed as more mature than she should be for her age, and this week’s episode drives that home. When she excitedly goes to the zoo to see baby giraffes, she behaves perfectly appropriately until rain hinders her plans and she grows up horribly. We see her making a conscious effort not to show frustration when it turns out they can’t leave, and to ignore her brother’s attempts to make amends. Ichiro is willing to buy what she’s selling because it’s easier, or maybe because he’s so used to Maggie’s apparent maturity that he doesn’t care anymore. He’s well aware that she’s a little girl, but if he worries abouteverything, he’ll never achieve anything. It might not be the best plan, but even he’s just trying to get by.

This is where Goshiki comes into play. Despite limited life experience and an unhealthy tendency to rely on teenage romance as a source of authority, she knows Machi isn’t happy on this particular rainy day. When she says she’ll be playing with Machi and Fumio, she doesn’t have ulterior motives; she really wants to spend time with them and help them cheer up. She also quickly realizes the significance of the tarot card that Ichiro made for Machi, and no matter how hard Machi tries to get rid of it, the young girl’s heart breaks when the card is torn. It is also important that the card looks foolish; among other things, this card can signify new beginnings and confidence in the future. Thus, the card being torn in half may symbolize Madge’s current attitude – she’s struggling but can’t believe she has a promising future, a possibility that plays to her brother’s concerns about her career path later in the episode. supported by his discourse.

Thus, the act of redesigning the tarot deck is the restoration of Machi’s hope. Both Ichiro and Goshiki are equally active in it, the latter braving the rain to get resources at the library, and both working on art. Together, they help Machi return to a better emotional state, creating a sense of security for her and the ever-vigilant Fumio. I may not like how their romance turned out, but it’s hard to deny that these two are a lovely couple. But really, this story is only part of the story about the two of them — and it turns out, it’s also about how Color fits into the bigger picture of the siblings’ lives. It doesn’t need a supernatural angle, because what makes this work work is emotional give and take, and it just requires people to be willing to show they care.


A Galaxy Next Door

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