Fune wo Amu, also known as The Great Passage, is named after the dictionary that the main character, Mitsuya Majime, is recruited to work on. It was recommended by Anvica as one of the fall 2016 titles that should be watched and has gotten good ratings online. Rightfully so? Or not?
Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Romance
Based on eponymous novel by Shion Miura.
Started airing: 14th of October 2016
Number of episodes: 11
Episode duration: 22 minutes
Mitsuya Majime, a socially awkward salesman, gets recruited to work on a new kind of dictionary. The dictionary, The Great Passage, is the idea of Kouhei Araki and Tomosuke Matsumoto. The pair run the dictionary editorial department at the Genbu Shobo publishing company and when Nishioka Masashi, an employee, tells Kouhei about the conversation he’s had with the salesman, Kouhei decides to go meet him straight away. Kouhei is in desperate need for a replacement, because he wants to start working less due to personal circumstances. After meeting Mitsuya he knows; he needs Mitsuya’s talents to create The Great Passage. Soon Mitsuya’s life starts to change, he meets new people and starts his new job. All while wondering whether he’ll be able to work together and help complete the dictionary.
Rating: 70 / 100
Fune wo Amu is definitely worth watching, in my opinion. While a lot of the story focusses on the dictionary, which the series is rightfully named after, there is also quite a bit of focus on the characters working on it, in particular on Mitsuya Majime. He is socially awkward in a very adorable way, watching him struggle to find the right words, or rather, as he’d prefer, the perfect words to convey his feelings to those around him is touching. Personally I could’ve done with a little less explanation about how dictionaries are made and how important the characters think they are, but this series was definitely worth watching!
Want to know why? Keep reading!
This anime starts off with a lot of details about dictionaries and in particular what they mean to the characters involved in making The Great Passage. Personally I couldn’t entirely take it seriously when The Great Passage was said to meant as a ship to cross the vast ocean of words with, a dictionary that brings people together. A tool that can help assist everyone to understand one another. That I found this to be a bit overreaching might have to do with the fact that I haven’t touched a paper dictionary since high school, although I do use online ones. If you’ve got an interest in definitions of words and a passion for words in general, this definitely helps when watching this series.
As a team, the characters have to overcome obstacles while making The Great Passage. These include obstacles like missing words and their own publishing company threatening to cancel. Watching the lives of the people involved with this dictionary change and progress was interesting, but not very exciting. There weren’t a lot of unexpected dramatic twists and turns in the story. While the story definitely has some Drama and Romance aspects, it doesn’t focus on it quite the way I’d expected. The series includes an adorable love story and Mitsuya is definitely a dramatic character when it comes to his thoughts and dreams, but it’s an anime that won’t bring you to tears over and over, or at least it didn’t bring me to tears more than once.
Every episode title is explained at the end of the episode, with a definition and example. Although this wasn’t necessary for me because I recognized the words, it did add to it. It was another link to the subject of this anime.
Once you get to episode eight there is a, rather random, time skip of more than 10 years. When you look at the development of the characters up until this point the skip makes no sense, but when you realize they said making The Great Passage would take over 10 years to make; it makes sense to do this. The anime only has eleven episodes after all.
Mitsuya is an interesting and far from ordinary character. When asked what his hobbies are he answers that he enjoys watching people get onto escalators. He seems to find poetry and beauty in mundane everyday events, especially those that have some order in them. He finds purpose in his work for The Great Passage. Slowly his social contacts grow further than just his cat Tiger and his landlady. Mitsuya, awkward as he starts off, soon finds himself getting along with the people around him and focussing on more than just work.
Kaguya Hayashi, a woman Mitsuya meets and falls in love with, is a Japanese chef in training at Apricot in Yushima. As the story progresses you get to know her more and see her achieve her goals as well. Her interaction with Mitsuya is quite funny, as Mitsuya doesn’t know how to voice his feelings or how to interact with a woman he likes at all.
There are more characters, such as Masashi, a man who doesn’t like dictionaries that much but does work at the department, Kaoru, who assists the dictionary department, Kouhei and an older man named Tomosuke Matsumoto, who has dedicated his life to dictionaries and has quite a poetic view on their purpose.
On top of these characters there are also four dictionaries that showed up in the middle of the episode every time, their names are Kai, Hiroshi, Rinta and Sen. They explained how they were all different and talked a lot about being a dictionary. These characters were very cutesy and seemed to be quite childish entertainment for such a ‘mature’ anime, but it didn’t really bother me. Although what they had to say didn’t always interest me a lot, their interaction was fun to watch.
Zexcs, the studio of this anime, is known for anime like Sukitte Ii na yo., Diabolik Lovers and Omamori Himari, to name a few. The anime this studio makes have very varying drawing styles. Zexcs has produced over 60 anime, OVA, specials and movies, a lot of which fall in the romance genre.
Personally, I think the drawing style of Fune wo Amu is pretty and simple, there isn’t too little or too much detail in the designs and backgrounds. I wasn’t able to discover any flaws in the animation, it seems to run smoothly.
The intro & outro
Fune wo Amu has a very energetic intro song, with fitting imagery, for such a calm anime with a slowly progressing story. The intro song, ‘Shiokaze (潮風)’ by Taiiku Okazaki (岡崎体育), fits the anime perfectly when you look at the lyrics. The intro shows a lot of the important characters and some iconic subjects, such as a Ferris wheel and Mitsuya’s cat.
The outro song is quite calm, but does fit the anime as well. As I mentioned, it is a pretty calm anime. The images shown with the song, ‘I & I’ by Leola, fit well with the atmosphere the song create.