Anime

A Tragedy of Dependence | Muhyo & Roji

Making friends is a task of which difficulty differs from person to person. Some might find it easy to fit in groups. For others it feels as if climbing the highest obstacles. But even then it proves the hardest to actually stay together over time. To accept each other and to be honest. No matter which difficulties may arise.

Best friends Taeko & Rie.
Best friends Taeko & Rie.

In the first episode of Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation we see a very complex but fascinating side story. It is a tragedy about two girls, Rie and Taeko.

Being shy and reserved they both are troubled making friends on their first day of high school. Still this fact quickly leads to them sticking together. From then on their days proceed in sync. Holding hands, wearing similar outfits. Doing almost everything together. But what seems to be harmonic will not hold forever.

Their daily activities isolate them more and more from their classmates. Instead of helping each other making new friends, they find shelter in their own small world. A place without any pressure. A friendship that slowly develops into something restrictive. A promise to always be there for each other no matter what. Casual for Taeko, chains for Rie.

The clingy, isolating behavior soon becomes a topic for others. Ugly rumors spread and people express their loathing. Something that both won’t be able to ignore forever.

One fated day their small world finally shatters without prior warning. The negligible fact that Taeko stays at home due to a cold is enough to trigger an ominous chain of events. Being on her own a whole new world starts to open in front of Rie. Invited by the volleyball club due to her height she excels and finds admiration. Something she never received before.

Taeko finds happiness in volleyball.

Was it really friendship that held them together? How could she run away from this great world all this time?

When Taeko returns she finds a distant Rie. One that is recruited by the volleyball club. Her life revolving around club activities and her teammates. Still she puts up with it and watches her best friend living as she never was able to. Being left on the side without the help the shy girl yearns for.

Soon the well-meaning of her friend turns into a burden for Rie. Her new life doesn’t seem to have room for Taeko. Where she found shelter in before turns now into an uncomfortable feeling. With the chains lifted she wants to escape what held her back all this time.

Taeko on the other side is left behind. The promise she valued so much broken. The world she found comfort in shattered. The friend she loved has now become one of those she can not connect with.

A creeping uneasiness leads to Taeko confronting Rie when she is about to board the train home with her new friends. Her last try to hold on to her friend results in being pushed away. Taeko falls backwards and stumbles onto the tracks. Being hit by an incoming train her life finds an unfortunate, early end.

Rie pushes Taeko away.

Was it my fault by pushing her into misfortune? How could I do this to my best friend I shared so much memories with?

The blame Rie puts on herself after the tragedy results into a deep rooted unhappiness that follows her from now on. She apologizes many times at her grave. In the end Taeko’s spirit never finds rest and starts to haunt the train station from then on.

But Rie does not give up. She starts taking responsibility for what happened and commissions Muhyo and Roji. Being able to detain the wrathful spirit, Taeko’s life finally is able to move forward to the River Styx. Rie holds on to her in her final moments, almost throwing away her life. Still Taeko prevents it and thanks her friend for being there for her. The end of the unfortunate tragedy. The start of a new future for Rie.

Taeko says goodbye to Rie.
Taeko says goodbye to Rie.

It is left open who really caused the tragedy. The story seems to side with Rie. Taeko being guilty of never being able to grow and realizing her dreams. Depending on Rie even when she found happiness. Still Rie will henceforth live without her dear friend. A sentence because she did not help her friend when she finally connected with others?

Maybe both are at fault for neglecting their desires all this time. Perhaps the tragedy was just unfortunate. What is left is for the viewer to interpret. For me it feels like a depiction of a friendship’s tragic end. But the result of having to move on stays.

[The copyright of all images lies with Studio Deen, Licensee is Crunchyroll]

Also take a look at my comment on Yoshino from Tamayomi.