Love Letter Apocalypse
If I were a shoot-em-up video game boss, this week’s episode of Tatami Galaxy would be that player who just discovered the weak point in my armor and started laying waste to my emotional energy bar.
I’ve been able to relate to the main dude’s plight for most of the series, since any regular guy has had his bouts of youthful indecision, bad judgements, and existential woe. But holy fucking shit, man. This episode hit me where it hurts.
Without getting into great detail, my first real internet experience was very similar to the main dude’s love letter exchange. I went to an internet community, met a girl, started talking to her, and started exchanging emails with her after a while. We became pretty close due to the two of us needing some sort of “anchor” in our lives due to the bullshit that kids in their late teens tend to deal with.
All of that went on for a while. We talked. And talked. And talked. And talked some more. And it never really went anywhere. Yeah, we obviously had feelings for one another, but we were two dirt poor college kids that lived halfway across the country from one another and the only means by which we could “be with” each other was email. We eventually went down the “friends” route and never looked back.
So I feel your pain, Main Dude from Tatami Galaxy. I may not have been duped by my mortal enemy into a prank correspondence, but I can empathize. We’ve both fallen for that Platonic “raven-haired girl” that exists only in our minds and the letters on the “page,” and we both had reality rear back its pimphand and bitchslap us for daring to dream.
Speaking of his mortal enemy, Ozu, I gotta say that he’s becoming one of my all-time favorite anime characters.
The dudes over at Moe Sucks did a pretty awesome write-up claiming that Ozu is some sort of Tyler Durden-like alter ego of the main dude. I don’t buy into the multiple personality bit completely, but there’s something about Ozu that does “complete” the main guy. Much like how you don’t pick the people you love, you also don’t necessarily pick the people who are your best friends. Some of my best friends are people who have personality quirks that bug the hell out of me and some of them have led me down the “wrong” path on a few occasions in my life. Conversely, I’m damn sure I’ve done the same to them (A light, amusing example: Some of them still won’t forgive me for making them watch the likes of Suicide Club, Oldboy, and Holy Mountain.). Despite the fact that, at times, we’re “wrong” for each other, I’m still damn good friends with these people and I can’t see any way in which that friendship would deteriorate short of some sort of out-and-out betrayal.
Ozu may be an exaggeration of such a friend, but that’s how I’m seeing their relationship. He’s that friend that you like despite his annoying quirks and despite the fact that he gets you into all sort of shitty situations at the worst possible time. Part of the main dude’s little “quest” is to come to this realization. I think he needs to realize that Ozu isn’t his enemy. There’s no escaping him because he doesn’t want to escape his youkai-like grasp. He needs to embrace this friendship, and only then will it cease to be a tendril-wrapped descent into the abyss and become something far more humane.