Poor Shione. It seems like everyone wants you to be happy except for you.
As we saw with Yuzuki, change is hard for Shione. Both the changes she’s gone through in her life up to this point but more to the point, her efforts to change herself and how she interacts with the people around her. She’s being very difficult and aloof right now, but at her core, Shione is still a scared little girl, uncertain of herself and how she wants to move forward in her life. It’s easy for us to sit here and say that she should just get along with everybody and she’ll be happier that way. However, that misses the events that got her to this point in the first place. Shione at one point did let her guard down and ended up paying the price for it as we discussed last week. Now, when she’s just about ready to take the plunge again, she discovers that everybody coming back together might force Noel to leave them forever.
Whatever she claims her motivations are; a desire to let Noel stay with her friends, a feeling that she’d be unwelcome if she somehow forced her friends to give up Noel in exchange for her friendship or simply that she doesn’t need or want friends, it’s all really just an excuse. Shione is afraid to actually get close to anybody and is reaching for any out she can find to avoid taking that risk. It’s frustrating to see but at the same time it’s a very understandable feeling and one that can be common among introverts her age. Ultimately though, Shione really does want to be friends even if she isn’t ready to admit it. Her initial reaction to Nonoka chasing her down at the end of the episode tells us everything we need to know about where her true feelings lie regardless of how she acts afterward. Shione’s stuck with her fears and her desires tugging her in different directions and while I’m sure she’ll work things out eventually, it’s rough going for her until then.
While Nonoka was chasing down Shione, the rest of the crew was getting to work on building their planetarium. We continue to see Koharu, Souta and Yuzuki working effectively to support Nonoka after she initially was the one carrying all the weight. Nonoka sets the tone for the group but the others are plenty capable of following through on their own, and even enlisting some additional help. I also liked the use of Yuzuki’s signs to promote the planetarium as a more obvious example of how her previously misplaced energy is now being directed towards positive things and the effect that has on the people around her.
We also learned more about the true nature of the saucer this week. It’s interesting to me that the saucer was originally Shione’s idea even though everybody else thought it was Nonoka’s. It explains why she seemed so fascinated by the saucer and was constantly taking pictures of it early on. It’s also sweet that all of them managed to think of the same wish, even though the specifics of that wish and the way the saucer works basically mean that the group can’t both be happy together and keep Noel around. Fortunately, when Noel leaves it will mean she’s off to grant another wish somewhere else and bring happiness to a new group of people so that parting, when it occurs, will likely be a bittersweet one rather than pure sadness.
Something I haven’t talked about a lot thus far is the use of music in Sora no Method. I’ve praised the visuals and the episode construction, but the music has been very good as well and was especially strong this week. The musical choices throughout the episode were on point, but specifically the songs used in the planetarium construction scene, the scene with Nonoka traveling around the festival with Noel, the scene where Nonoka is chasing after Shione and finally the ending scene were all extremely effective. The way each new song was brought in and how it meshed with the emotional tone of the scene really enhanced the viewing experience this week.
From here, it looks like Nonoka’s immediate concern is going to be Noel’s health after she was kept apart from the saucer for so long. Shione seems to have escaped Nonoka’s relentless befriending for now, although that arrangement probably won’t last long. We have at least three and possibly four episodes left so I hope the show will take its time resolving these threads as well as Souta’s impending departure. Sora no Method has been very effective with the time it’s been allotted thus far and I expect that trend to continue. The show has been a delightful experience and I’ll be sad when it’s finally over.