"One morning, Watashi woke up and found himself surrounded by cockroaches..."

A magnificent climax point, nothing less. There’s really very little more to add than that. Every plot point so far has come together in this episode. As usual, you can check Mystlord‘s and Zyl‘s series of posts on the show, as well as Michael’s post on episode 10 over at anime|otaku.

The animation in particular is a very interesting mix-up. Not much actually happens, but a lot of lavish attention is paid to *how* it happens. The animation style here communicates a richness in even the most trivial actions -paging through a book, mixing a cup of coffee – that gives even the  most banal and normal activities a sense of newness. It makes everything look similar, and at the same time different.

I’ve noted many times before that we can squarely fit Tatami Galaxy into an absurdist tradition, and here is something of a confirmation. As with Captain Nemo in the previous episode, the parallel to Gregor Samsa from Kafka’s Metamorphosis is striking. Both Gregor and Watashi become unable to leave their rooms via some absolutely surreal and absurd happenstance, and are trapped in the minutiae of watching the days slowly pass them by without outside contact. Both do not want to leave the room – the key difference is where Gregor eventually dies in the room, Watashi is driven out by the stench; Watashi’s motivations are, as he notes wryly in his narration, nowhere near as dramatic. As in all previous permutations of himself, he is driven by the thought that the grass somehow must be greener on the other side. And yet, he has seemed to become equally dissatisfied and disillusioned in each of them – only this Watashi has the benefit of perspective.

Another interesting point is that Gregor, upon his transformation into an insect, comes to interact with other family members only indirectly – drawing away from direct contact and only hearing their voices or sounds from the other room, or from under the sofa. This is also the case with Watashi – in fact it has been the case since he started living his secluded lifestyle. His interactions with the regular characters – Hanuki, Higuchi, Ozu, and the rest are all indirect – he feels, much like Gregor Samsa, only the vibrations of their footfalls and the buzz of their voices in the distance.

One theme that gets highlighted more here is the use of colour. Much like Neko Ramen, the colour palette has been in use since the first episode but it is here, as Watashi passes through the alternate rooms of himself. This may be an interesting topic for a rewatch – what colour schemes and palettes predominate through the previous episodes? In all the previous episodes, for example, descriptions of the “rose-coloured campus life” are always accompanied by frames that are very heavy on the pink.

Another notable thing is Watashi’s lack of proper speech. It’s obviously a plot device to illustrate more fully how his voice has deteriorated from lack of use, but it’s interesting to see that his narration still remains clear and crisp. His “thinking voice” is what reassures us that Watashi is still rationally thinking and acting – the feel of the episode would certainly be quite different if Watashi sounded as he actually did.

I have to say though, he pulls off a pretty styling beard. Who would have expected that?

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