NieA_7, Thy Name is Depression

Episode 7 of NieA_7 depressed me. This is a major turning point in the show, where the episodic hijinks of trying to revive the Enohana bathhouse take a backseat in favor of showing The Melancholy of Mayuko Chigasaki.

The episode itself is very innocuous–Chiaki invites Mayuko to a gokon, who agonizes on it, and eventually decides not to go. The ordeal depresses Mayuko. End of episode.

However, things are deliberately paced, and I could connect with Mayuko’s self-defeatism. I’m not as poor as her, but I do have my moments where I am indecisive with the darndest things. Should I go out with my friends today? No, I don’t think they need me there, I’ll probably be a bother.

And so on, so on.

The main point of this episode is that Mayuko doesn’t know what she wants. It’s just the same as any conflicted teenager out there, but this one hits hard with how the episode is crafted. Did Mayuko really want to attend the group date? I think one part of her did, but the other part acted like a damper–you can’t go there, Mayuko. You’ll ruin everything with your appearance. You’re boring, and you know it. Who would like you?

Mayuko’s lashing out at Niea at the end is all the more painful to watch because of this. She’s had a bad day, her backing out has taken a toll on her and Niea’s presence doesn’t help. Mayuko wouldn’t normally cross the line, but she did, and immediately regretted it. Niea may be an ass, but this isn’t her fault.

But that’s exactly why I love Mayuko. I appreciate how she can have moments like this in a while. She’s vulnerable, but she keeps on struggling to stay afloat, to the best of her abilities. Even if her life is a miserable affair. Even if she’s perpetually tired or hungry or both. That messy hair, the tired eyes, and the soft, world-weary voice.


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9 Responses to NieA_7, Thy Name is Depression

  1. Are you only on ep 7? Because get ready for the rest of the show is kinda like that. And it ends on a bit less than a hopeful note o.o I enjoyed NieA_7 a lot for this, as I spoke of here:

    (some spoilers, and suffers from ‘old digiboy post syndrom’)

  2. Son Gohan says:

    I recently watched this show. Honestly I was disappointed because I expected more from the mothership subplot. And I wanted to know how the aliens came to Earth and how their social structure functions (from Plus 5 to Under 7).
    Instead I got a slice-of-life series about an annoying alien and her weird antics. Episode 7 was probably the best one though, since it focused on Mayu-chan’s struggles with poverty. I felt like this show had potential but it was often wasted on unfunny jokes.

    • schneider says:

      I think this show had a lot of potential, but it was more of ABe and the Lain staff blowing off steam than carefully exploring the themes they set up. Niea is extremely annoying–she might be vital to the show but I can never ever like her.

  3. Wow, I remember watching this show years ago.

    Poverty show is made of poverty and curry.

    Also the ganja in that Indian dudes bathhouse.

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