Episode 3

Shinkai wakes up late yet again, woken up by a phone call from an Naito Jane who is babbling in Cantonese – presumably because the day's flight is to Hong Kong. For the record, I should note that Naito Jane has really bad Cantonese. His tones are very off and he's almost incomprehensible. Shinkai on the other hand seems to mimic English very well judging by the snippets you hear during the show. To be fair to Naito Jane though, Cantonese is one of the hardest languages around - nine tones for god's sake.

Back to the story. Yet again Shinkai dashes in a mad panic to the airport. I love the way he puts his cap in his mouth and runs along. He is very relieved when he arrives that Naito Jane is not yet there and is also relieved as he makes it there with a few minutes to spare before the briefing.

He is advised that Naito Jane is ill and the standby is none other than Captain Koda – who naturally is already there to check the weather report. Shinkai pulls a face.

During the briefing, Koda in Cyborg-mode announces that those who lack self-control to be sick or late should not be permitted to fly a plane. Oh honestly Koda, take a chill pill, man, you need to lighten up or your face muscles are going to atrophy from lack of use. Shinkai protests that he is on time but Koda points out that he was nearly late.

The two pilots sit in the cockpit waiting for the passengers to board. Koda says darkly that it is a bad sign that it is five minutes to takeoff and no one has contacted them about the boarding situation. He orders Shinkai to contact the cabin. The reason for the delay is that there are 3 stragglers – one of them Is Ogura, a high profile Member of the Lower House who is well-known for his loud and disagreeable ways.

Ogura lurches on board carrying a can of beer and then 20 minutes after take off becomes extremely irate and unsettled, demanding to be let off the plane. He offers money, and then threatens to cause them trouble if they do not let him off. Ota alerts the cockpit of the situation, and Koda asks Shinkai to give his view. Shinkai thinks that the man should be able to hold up for the 5 hours plus trip to Hong Kong. "Just because he's a politician it doesn't mean he can waste everyone else's time," he says.

"Asking you was a waste of time, too," says Koda. OK that was mean but it was also kind of funny. He calls in Ota and Togashi to ask their opinions. Ota and Shinkai are in favour of continuing flying as the man is only panicking and should be all right once he settles down. Togashi, having checked Ogura’s pulse and breathing recommends an urgent return to Narita as Ogura is breathing abnormally and there is cause for concern.

Koda decides to fly back to Narita and Shinkai is convinced that this is due to the Ogura’s power and influence. After landing, however, Koda’s decision is vindicated when the paramedics advise that there was a high risk of a heart-attack if medical attention was not received. As all passengers are transferred to another aircraft, Koda tells a very deflated Shinkai that every passenger is a life, regardless of their position and that decisions can not be made on the basis of personal opinions.

He accuses Shinkai of being prejudiced on the basis that the passenger was a victim. If the passenger had been an elderly woman in economy class, Koda is convinced that Shinkai would have made a scene demanding an urgent return to Narita. In his view, pilots have an obligation to look after all passengers equally and to be impartial, regardless of whether they like them or not. If this is not followed, then the pilot may as well be a trash can.

I'm really not that clear about the implications of the trash can analogy myself but as a miserable Shinkai sits immobile in the cockpit contemplating his error in judgment, Koda calls him a trashcan and tells him to clear out of the cockpit so that the technicians can take over.

On the ground, Shinkai is still dwelling on his mistake and encounters Ota Kenzaburo who is struggling with two heavy boxes of durians (yuck!).

Shinkai has a similar reaction, staring at the durians with disgust – "Aren't those the fruits that stink?" he demands. Oh yes indeed little Shinkai, run - run away! Run far far away. Even an aircraft hangar won't be big enough if a couple of durians are released. Ota is giving the durians to the mechanics as a thank you for inconveniencing them by requiring them to make an alternate aircraft available.

Naturally Shinkai takes the two boxes from the elder man and Ota confesses quite frankly to having been mistaken in his assessment of the situation that day. He is cast down by it but then gives Shinkai the thumbs up and tells Shinkai that the two of them should endeavour to do their best. The thumbs up and a big grin make Shinkai look at Ota weirdly, but then he agrees with him, obviously deciding that Ota's positive approach can't harm.

In the hangar, we discover that Abe and Ogawa are being sent to Honolulu on the following day, something that clearly fills Ogawa with apprehension. Abe assures Ogawa that maintenance work is the same in Hawaii as in Narita. Shinkai and Ota arrive with the fruit. Abe reminds Ayumi not to forget her passport, and Shinkai hears about the business trip to Honolulu.

As Ota and Abe carry the fruit away, Ogawa asks Shinkai for the reason behind the emergency landing.

"Nothing," he answers. "Did you slip up again and get scolded by Koda again?" she jokes. He shakes his head but she sees through him. He tells what happened, saying "There really are people who are really afraid of flying.” Shinka appears quite staggered that people who fear flying exist – something which makes her walk away from him very abruptly while he tags along after her like a puppy dog trying to ask her to have dinner with him.

“Err, are you working tonight?” he asks her retreating back.

He follows her, still on the bike. “I feel like eating yakiniku but it’s kind of lonely eating by myself, you know….[In the Chinese version he says - 可是一個人吃烤肉怪怪的 - but one person eating on their own is a bit strange.]

She doesn't reply but keeps walking.

How about okonomiyaki then? You eat that a lot, right?” he asks her. “I guess that makes me want it too.” he says inexplicably. [He says that in the English version - in the Chinese subtitles he simply says: "You can eat a lot can't you?" and then says that his own hunger is also quite substantial - 那吃大阪燒也行。妳不是很能吃嗎?我的食慾也蠻好的

He catches up with her. “I don’t want to eat either of them.” she tells him rudely, not looking at him.

It doesn’t matter what we eat.” he tells her in a disarmingly frank manner. [In the Chinese version he says: 其實我吃什麼都行啦 - actually it doesn't matter what I eat].

She walks away saying she has something to do that night. It's very cute but she squishes him good before leaving. Poor Shinkai.

As Shinkai arrives home, Mee Sook dashes out of her flat, carrying a wooden crate. She calls him "Sho-chan" again and shoves the crate into his hands. "This is for always looking after me! Think of it as me and eat it!" she cries, making Hajime's jaw drop. Inside the crate is a durian. Ewww! Run little Shinkai! Run away! Or post it anonymously to Koda's office!!!!

Ogawa arrives home to find her aunt and uncle there. Her aunt repeats her displeasure of Ogawa working for an airline, but consoles herself with the idea that in the hangar she is hardly likely to meet any dashing pilots. "I wouldn't know what to say to your mother and father if you were to start talking about marrying a pilot," she says. In my view, this was a bit of a non sequitur and kind of lame, but I didn't write the script, I'm just commenting.

Ayumi notices the envelope on her parents' altar. It contains 300,000 yen. Someone has been sending them this amount anonymously every year on the anniversary of her parents' death.

Koda and Togashi run into each other in the lift and stare at one another foolishly. More hints of their .... Romantic History perhaps?

Ayumi gets out her passport which is obviously unused and asks her dead parents for strength.....

In a very funny scene, Shinkai while carrying home a bag of takeaway food passes a restaurant and sees Ogawa's motorbike outside.

Peering in, he sees her feeding her face again – seemingly alone at a table. He walks over and basically comments on the fact that she is eating like a pig again – realising a little too late that she is not alone. [In the English version, he says - I saw your bike outside and thought you were inside. The Chinese subtitles say 你又跟個笨蛋一樣拼命吃了- like an idiot you're eating like your life depended on it. And then 抱歉,我在外面看到機車, 我還以為你一個人來 - sorry, from outside seeing your vehicle I thought you were here on your own. The Chinese subs seem more correct but I have no way of verifying this].

When Shinkai starts to introduce himself, Ogawa interrupts him before he can say he's a pilot and reluctantly introduces him to her wildly curious sister as a guy who lives nearby.

I like the fact that Shinkai is so fascinated about the fact that Kaori is Ogawa's sister. I received the sense that he is so interested in Ogawa that he wants to know everything about her.

Shinkai sits NEAR them in an awkward fashion, introducing himself as a pilot when Kaori asks him if he is also a mechanic. Kaori looks at her sister in a very meaningful fashion. Shinkai's manner in this is quite puppydog-like. He wants to make conversation, he wants to chat and although Kaori clearly wouldn't mind engaging in conversation, Ogawa is frosty and unwelcoming.

Shinka stares down at Ogawa's plate and despite the fact that he was trying to be polite in front of Kaori, he clearly cannot help himself and comments rudely that for someone who told him earlier in the evening that she didn’t want to eat okonomiyaki, she certainly seems to be stuffing her face with it. As the two squabble over his comments, Kaori in a fit of sisterly matchmaking runs away to leave them alone together. It's very cute.

While seated at different tables, Shinkai tries to make conversation, congratulating her on her impending task in Honolulu, encouraging her to do her best.

When she doesn't answer him, he becomes offended. In a moment of astonishing candour, she tells him that she has never flown before and in fact fears flying.

Cut to Togashi and Koda at the Eagle Bar having drinks. Togashi thanks Koda for trusting her. Mr. Charm and Personality tells her that it wasn't that he trusted her – it was that he believes in her ability. Togashi is clearly one of the most easy-going people in the world because rather than being offended, she comments in amusement that he always likes to twist words and deliberately act in an unlikable fashion to make others dislike him. She then becomes more serious and tells her that it causes her pain to see that he is blaming himself still over the death of Captain Hasegawa. No further explanation is made here, but Togashi invites him back to her place ……an invitation which cyborg of course rejects. Perhaps Koda has a self-enforced rule of not engaging in sexual relations in any year/decade where he is flying a plane??

Back to Shinkai and Ogawa ….. they are outside now by the water and Shinkai is quizzing her about her fear, clearly disbelieving. Ogawa tells him that he wouldn't understand her fear because he loves flying so much. Shinkai looks offended by this and tells her that he wouldn' t be able to do his job if he didn't understand how frightening the job could be.

He recounts an incident during his training when he lost control of his plane causing it to plummet. His instructor intervened and prevented an accident. According to Shinkai, the fear he felt after the incident almost made him resign. Part of me thinks that this was only for Ogawa's benefit because in later episodes, Shinkai has expressed disbelief on other occasions about how anyone can be afraid of flying.

When Ogawa asks him what happened to his fear, he says simply: "I got over it".

He glances down at her, clearly troubled by the fear that she is so afraid and he starts to describe what it is like to see the sky from an aeroplane instead of from the ground.

The sky from Tokyo doesn’t look like much,” he tells her,”but this is different". He walks over to straddle her bike and she watches him. He has his back to her and is studying the sky as he speaks. “You take off and leave everything behind you ….” he says in an enthusiastic voice.

Ogawa glances up, looking at his back, caught by the tone in his voice. “You fly up into the sky you were just looking up at before. And you see this amazing colour … “ he pauses. “I guess it’s blue “ he says reflectively. “….. an amazing hue of blue. You know how people always talk about the glimmering light? Up there it really glimmers …. and the sun is right there as well….. I don’t know why, but it’s really moving ….”

His words and his sincerity disarm her and she is clearly moved by his description, although when he turns around to look at her, she glowers at him and snaps that she will be flying at night. He snaps back that she’s so negative and reminds her that it will be morning by the time she arrives.

He quizzes her some more – as the mechanic, has she no faith in her own aircraft? She becomes annoyed with him, they squabble and she storms off, saying she wishes she had never asked for his advice. There is a very cute little grin on Shinkai's face as she walks past him - blink and you'll miss it. He follows her, she claims she's fine and no longer has any fear. Shinkai clearly doesn't believe her but has to watch as she rides away.

The next morning, Shinkai falls out of bed and remembers that he is on standby duty. Can I just say that although Shinkai looks totally like someone who has just woken up - he's all tousled and messy - he is soooooooooo cute in this scene. :)

OK, maybe I'm the only one who thinks so.... Ahem. Back to where I was.

He discovers that his classmate Azumi Ryujiro who had also been on standby has been told to fly to Honolulu as replacement co-pilot. The general spread of influenza is affecting many of the pilots. Shinkai clearly gets an idea and stares long and hard at Azumi.

"What?" Azumi asks nervously, clearly wondering why Shinkai is staring at him so contemplatively.

"Let me see that." Shinkai tells him, indicating the briefing documents. He pulls a bemused Azumi aside. We receive the clear indication that Mr. Azumi is about to be "convinced" to fall ill……

Awwwww, that's so sweet of Shinkai......

As Ogawa waits for the plane, Shinkai walks past on his way to the plane and tells her that the pilot became ill and he has taken over the flight.

I think it is very sweet that he doesn't tell her that he engineered the situation - although it must be pretty clear what has happened. Ogawa clearly touched doesn't want to show this and says that she's not sure if she should feel more nervous now and perhaps she should go home. Shinkai looks offended but when Ogawa claims she's just joking and is about to reluctantly say something along the lines of an apology or a thank you, Shinkai cuts her off and merely tells her he'll see her on board ... It's very perceptive of him. He knows that she's joking, he knows that speaking about her feelings doesn't come easily to Ogawa so he spares her the necessity.

After he boards, he asks Purser Ota to take special care of Ogawa Ayumi for him, telling him that he will recognise her by the "evil look in her eyes". [In the Chinese versions he says that Ota will recognise her by the fierce / ferocious look in her eyes (她的眼神蠻兇的。 我想你一看就知道是誰了). Regardless of which it is, it's such a cute and unexpectedly funny comment.] He then give Ota a conspiratorial thumbs up which Ota reciprocates. Only Shinkai could make "evil look in her eyes" seem like a term of endearment.

Captain Natsukawa asks Shinkai why he had asked for this particular flight. "I felt like swimming in Hawaii" Shinkai lies. As the doors close, Ogawa starts shaking with fear. Ota notices but she denies anything is wrong.

In the cockpit, Shinkai is clearly quite worried about Ogawa, wondering if she is all right and imagines (?) that he hears her plead: "Help me". Although the captain keeps speaking to him, Shinkai is very preoccupied, wondering what is happening with Ogawa.

When Ota notifies him that Ogawa has become a little hysterical, Shinkai speaks to her from the cockpit, comforting her as he would a child. Interestingly enough he doesn't try to tell her that she must remain on board and "get over it" but rather tells her not to put so much pressure on herself. [I'm not so sure from either the Chinese or the English translations what he is saying - is he telling her to get off? "I'd feel bad if anything happened to you" is kind of a weird thing to say. In Chinese he basically says that having her on board is a pain!!. 不要太逞強了。沒什麼緊張的。就穿了, 你在機上我反而覺得麻煩. When she asks him why he says: 因為我是飛行員, 這架飛機上乘客的性命都交給我了 ]

When Ota contacts the cockpit again, it is to let Shinkai know that Ogawa has left the plane something that fills Shinkai with obvious relief.

Having observed all of this, the captain is amused saying that Shinkai lives up to his reputation of being stupid, impulsive and passionate. Although stupidity is bad, impulsiveness and passion are the marks of a true pilot and are qualities that Shinkai should retain. Shinkai nods at him but clearly doesn't particularly care what the captain is saying, so long as Ogawa is all right.

Ogawa sees the plane off from the terminal balcony. Koda approaches her and asks if she is all right. "It seems strange that those things could fly to such faraway places," she says. Koda answers: "There's no miracle about planes flying. Crew like us and ground staff like you seriously work at it to make it happen." She asks the reason for his concern, and is told that he was just grateful for the kind of work she does. As Koda walks away Togashi appears and sees him disappear. I’m not quite sure what the significance of this was. Are we supposed to think that Togashi is jealous??? God no. Togashi - you can keep your emotionless cyborg.

The final scene in this episode was what turned me from just liking the show to absolutely loving the show. In a Honolulu hotel room receiving direct morning sunshine, a comatose Shinkai, sleeping face down in his uniform, is woken by a surprise call from Ogawa.

Initially, he is still asleep and responds automatically. Then Ogawa introduces herself as Ogawa the mechanic. This wakes up Shinkai who tells her that she didn't have to add the the mechanic part.

She thanks him for helping her. [In the Chinese version - she says: "You saved/rescued me" (你救了我).] When he tries to find out why she is so frightened, she tells him that she will tell him one day.

She also says that she will fly one day. He says "Sure" in English but "I know" in Japanese and in Chinese. In a sort of rushed and relief way, she tells him that she has said everything she intends to say and prepares to hang up, he interrupts her telling her he has something to say.

In actual fact, iIt appears as though he didn't really have anything to say but simply wanted to keep talking to her. Casting about for something to say, he looks out the window and asks her if she can see the sun from where she's standing.

She's standing alone on a hill somewhere, the sun behind her. She turns and looks at it. He points out that he can see it too – that they're seeing the same sun, that they're not that far away from one another, that he will take her on one of his flights one day and she will exclaim that the sky and the sun are so lovely ….. [In the Chinese version - he doesn't say I will have to get you on one of my flights. He says something like If you can't do it, I'll have to accompany you on your flight. After that, let you see a beautiful sky. Let you exclaim - wah, how lovely. Definitely let you see this kind of sky....(如果你真的沒辦法我可以陪你搭。 然後讓你看看美麗的天空。 讓你驚嘆 “哇好票亮喔!“ 一定讓你看到這樣的天空)。 I guess it's sort of the same, just not quite].

She demands to know if he is trying to flirt with her again. He is offended and tells her that he's just making ordinary conversation. When she doesn't reply, he entreats her not to ignore him on a phone call.

She hangs up on him but the two of them appear at peace and not unhappy as they study the same sun – each one clearly thinking of the other. Something momentous has happened in their "relationship" and they both know it.

It is all very touching and I melt into a pile of goo as I watch Shinkai sitting for a while, phone in hand, and then flashing a smile at the sun.

Comments: Lots of development for Shinkai, Ogawa and the Shinkai-Ogawa relationship in this one. The development feels very natural and sweet as well. You can believe that these characters would do and say the things they do. The “help me” bit could have been hokey but was instead extremely touching. Finally, the sun-kissed conclusion of the episode was to die for - so sweet and romantic. I also liked the bonding moments between Purser Ota and Shinkai - Ota is a such a strange guy but quite lovable in his own way.

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