The way characters populate a frame can say a great deal about mood, the relationships of the characters, and rising tensions. I wrote quite a bit about the frequent usage of negative space in episode one and how it emphasized Mari’s fear of the future and her lofty dreams. Episode two also uses negative space to show Hinata’s loneliness and longing while she works another shift at the convenience store and watches Shirase and Mari chat.
Loneliness and isolation comes up quite a bit for our main characters. Shirase is motherless and teased at school. Mari feels like she hasn’t accomplished as much as her peers. Hinata doesn’t go to school and thus has a more difficult time forging relationships with girls her age, and, somewhat similarly, our newest girl Yuzuki hasn’t been able to make a single friend thanks to her overbearing mom-ager.
Yuzuki spends episode three agonizing over a group chat she’s in with some girls she met from school. Here, we see her alone in a hotel room – the bare walls and lack of decorations emphasize that she has never truly had time to settle in and be herself. Moving around from place to place means sitting in lots of empty rooms like this. All Yuzuki has is the dull light of her phone that never even blinks to show her a notification.
She falls asleep in her sad little room and dreams of friendship, only to wake up and find that the girls she tried to force a relationship with have left her group chat. It’s such a simple thing – seeing the notification bubbles that they’ve left – but thanks to all the other insert shots of her phone throughout the episode and the scene shown above of her laying alone in the hotel, the impact is strong. It’s a truly heart-wrenching scene.
Luckily, Yuzuki doesn’t have to be lonely for long.
Now that they’ve all found each other, there’s no longer a need for all those shots of the girls standing alone. Instead, we have more and more shots of the girls being physically close to one another. Rather obviously, this shows that they’ve grown closer to one another emotionally.
There are still wide shots that highlight scenery and show just how huge their dreams are. But now, the girls take up a larger part of the frame because, well, of course they do – there are more of them. They’re not alone in their goals anymore. They’ve come together and became such fast strong friends thanks to Antarctica.
Of course, those four aren’t the only characters in the show…here, we see negative space representing loneliness and longing for Megumi, who’s understandably feeling a bit left out now that Mari has suddenly decided she wants to go to Antarctica with three girls she just met. I’m looking forward to seeing her story in the upcoming episode (and seeing more of these shots!).
And of course, to close, here’s our No Game No Life cameo. I only saw it slipped into episode 3 and didn’t catch one in episode 4. Is the trend over, or did I just miss it?
See you next week (or maybe in two weeks..whenever I have the time, heh) to talk more about this beautifully directed series and all the different ways the girls fit into the scenery!