So, we saw Beatrice manipulating Shannon into being a loyal ally/servant, Kanon being suspicious, and now, we have a scene with Kanon and Kinzo. Kinzo wants to go for a walk without being distrubed.
*wanker hand motion*
So, naturally, he is going on about Beatrice. It’s not all that clear how far this is set before the events of the first episode, but right now he’s trying to work out how to revive Beatrice and see her smile again etc. etc.
Now that we ‘know’ (or at least, have been shown) that Beatrice is active, but only visible to Kanon and Shannon, and Kinzo has no talent for magic, I guess we understand that he could presumably only see Beatrice when he made that contract?
We get a new drawing of Kinzo:
Naturally, Beatrice is watching. To Kanon, she looks like she pities Kinzo.
Beatrice repeats the line ‘without love, it cannot be seen’. I expect we’ll hear it again.
So ‘without love, it cannot be seen’. The people who can see Beatrice that we know about are Kanon, Shannon and Maria. If non-romantic love is included, Kanon and Shannon’s love for each other might count. But then, there are a number of family relationships that would surely also qualify. For example, however she treets everyone else, Eva seems to genuinely care for Hideyoshi. And even if Krauss treats her as disposable, Natsuhi seems to care for him. As far as we can tell, none of them can see Beatrice though.
I think we’re not getting the whole story.
Anyway, we get some new backgrounds at last, as Jessica’s school holds its cultural festival.
Wikipedia says this usually happens on Nov 3, but it is before October here.
Jessica’s going to be performing ‘casual pop-rock on a temporary stage’. Cool, maybe we’ll hear it. That would explain the shot in the opening sequence of Jessica performing on stage.
She also seems to have a date? Or at least be waiting for a boy to show up. We hear a bit more about her school friends Hina and Rin, mentioned in her earlier scene with Shannon. Mostly that their boyfriends are considered attractive. The narration says that at Jessica’s school, the festival is a ‘boyfriend exhibition’.
There’s some unfamiliar terminology: we get ‘hard S with glasses’ for a smart boyfriend, though Rin insists he’s actually a gyaru-o, a particular subculture. They ask Jessica what ‘type’ her (fake) boyfriend is, though I guess that’s probably translation sounding more formal than the original, they’re just asking what sort of person he is.
There’s no voice acting or art for Rin and Hina, though their lines are accompanied by various ‘ting’ sounds.
Flashback to Shannon. She suggests Jessica should bring a fake boyfriend. This sounds like a fanfic.
Shannon, of course, suggests Kanon. I guess two can play the ‘aggressively ship their friends’ game.
Shannon, it turns out, has taken a leaf out of Beatrice’s book of manipulation.
They’re pretty sweet together even if it’s a Bechdel test failing scene.
Out of context, this sounds like the narrator is trying to justify a ship between them.
The narrator explains that Jessica has been into Kanon for quite some time now. Shannon calls her ‘tsundora’, which the notes explain is basically a tsundere pun.
She makes a rather meta joke about how much the tsundere archetype will become popular among fans of anime/VNs:
The dialogue gets even more borderline-fourth-wall-breaking as Jessica comments on George’s supposed ability to predict future trends. But anyway, onwards with our fanfic plot.
So it is more than awkward enough for Shannon to date George, but for Jessica and Kanon to date has the additionall issue that Jessica is Kanon’s boss (or close enough to it). Dating your employee is… dangerous territory, isn’t it. Like Kanon’s not easily going to be able to say ‘no’ when Jessica asks him out, because she can punish him or get him fired just by asking Natsuhi. She at least doesn’t put a lot of pressure on Kanon, but still.
Shannon, on the other hand, has been pushing very hard, so Kanon goes along with it, wondering if the brooch played a part in this.
Kanon turns up dressed like a Final Fantasy character.
Jessica’s friends all comment on his age. There’s something about Kanon referring to himself with the pronoun ‘boku’ that Jessica’s friends find cute. Wikipedia says:
Used by males of all ages; very often used by boys. Perceived as humble, but can also carry an undertone of “feeling young” when used by males of older age. Also used when casually giving deference; “servant” uses the same kanji (僕 shimobe). Can also be used as a second-person pronoun toward male children (English equivalent – “kid” or “squirt”).
Also Jessica using the ‘kun’ honorific, and when Kanon calls her ‘milady’ (which her friends interpret as her making him refer to her as if he’s a butler), and then when told to stop, uses ‘sama’.
The sound effects are… kind of wild here. Like thunder crashing and stuff. Jessica asks Kanon to close his eyes (her friends think they’ll kiss) and then we get a bunch of onomatopoeia.
…which turns out to be Jessica pushing all her friends against the wall with brass knuckles!???
So yeah, Kanon gets objectified for fucked up status games.
One of Jessica’s friends catches on…
Kanon has been ordered to snitch on Jessica’s unreserved behaviour to her parents and Kinzo, but thinks about how to frame it to protect her. He doesn’t like noise and crowds. (autistic trans daughter <3 …I haven’t been using she/her pronouns for Kanon but I’m tempted tbh)
Kanon is the subject of stares and whispers and is hit on a few times, to his frustration. It’s an interesting (and plausible) illustration of objectification and harassment working along different power lines than usual.
Anyway, Kanon observes gender dynamics as a bunch of men show up to watch the performances. Jessica comes on stage in…
…a union flag dress???
Jessica’s voice acting is filtered as if she’s speaking through a stage mic, which is a nice touch. The piano music in the background is a somewhat more questionable choice.
But perhaps it’s contrast, because we get Jessica’s song at last and Kanon comments on how different it is to Rokkenjima’s usual classical music. She turns out to be very popular. I can’t find an upload of the song she sings, unfortunately, but it’s not bad?
Kanon muses on how important this may be to Jessica, and how limited the life on Rokkenjima is.
Speaking of Rokkenjima, we go to Natsuhi, who has gone home rather than watch Jessica’s performance. She was much more interested in the important people who turned up at the festival to talk to the Ushiromiyas.
Natsuhi lies to Jessica about having watched her performance. No doubt this description comes from Kanon lying to cover Jessica.
OK, no, she’s not lying, the narration explains Jessica appeared in the opening ceremony and Natsuhi is commenting on that, not the performance as Jessica assumed. It hits Jessica harder than she expected and she goes to the garden.
Thankfully Kanon arrives to give a genuine complement. Some of his own stuff comes out…
Jessica finally addresses the furniture thing. She’s surprisingly astute about Kanon’s feelings about her performance.
She accuses Kanon of ‘giving up’ on life outside the stifling roles given to them. Easy for you to say, Miss Bourgeoisie Whose Humanity Is Never Questioned.
…she talks about her ‘other self’ who enjoys music and life outside the Ushiromiya head role. And says to Kanon…
Fuck, this is trans.
They go over the concept a few times, and then Jessica asks Kanon’s real name.
This honestly makes me want to cry.
Jessica acknowledges she doesn’t know Kanon’s life, how the ‘furniture’ narrative was inculcated. But she insists Kanon is human.
So many people I know convinced themselves of things like Kanon did. In my worst moments of depression and anxiety, I get some of it a bit too. Whatever else, this game has captured that.
Kanon is able to recognise Jessica is into him. He says any relationship between them would be a delusion, and Shannon and George’s relationship will fall apart too. Jessica insists George will resist all that pressure.
Kanon explicitly rejects her - ‘furniture cannot love humans’.
Kanon thanks Jessica for thinking of him as human, but repeats that anything more would be ‘too cruel’. Jessica leaves…
And Beatrice shows up. Oh no.
Next time: we find out what she has to say.