Lights of the Clione
Minori Amamiya is a sickly girl who's the object of bullying at school. Kyoko Tsukihashi and Takashi Aoi are classmates who, while not quite willing to stand up to the bullies on Minori's behalf, nevertheless want to give Minori some happiness at least outside of school, and so they befriend her. But she's maybe as interested in helping them as they are in helping her.
When you've only got 12 nine-and-a-half minute episodes, and then subtract out the length of the opening and closing titles, you've only about the length of an OVA to develop your characters and lay out your story. Still, a lot can be squeezed into the length of a typical OVA with some disciplined scripting- but not so much if you're trying to do this with the more leisurely pacing of a regular-length TV series. (That was ONE Of the problems with the similar-length Netsuzou Trap, though THIS series, at least, is free of some of the problems of THAT one; we've nicer lead characters here, too.) Clione, in the end, gets where it wants to go (and scores its moral points, oh yes), but at the price of taking shortcuts and omitting details that should have been there. It's like you're on a road trip with strangers and you just get the barest amount of information about them before the car comes to a screeching halt.
Here I'm particularly thinking about Kyoko and Takashi- I can understand why the show clams up about Minori (to use a molluscan pun appropriate for this show). The show wants to have Minori bring these two together, but since there's not much time to develop this, the show starts with Kyoko and Takashi already close- they're comfortable with each other; she already knows his career ambition; he is filled with admiration for her. It undermines the human drama if they really don't have to make that many changes or adjustments between the opening and closing; we'll just say that their story arc barely has any curve in it at all.
My second point about this show is that I don't want to spoil it, but some of the Recommendations might give you hints. And I'll say no more about that.
Third point: I found the "correct" chronology, when we receive it, a bit confusing. For better or worse, this is one of those shows where late-in-the-show revelations may force you to watch the whole thing again, if for no other reason than to try to figure out where, and when, things went weird.
Fourth point: Yes, the "clione" are a real thing. They're an obscure shell-less mollusk that favors icy waters. The remark is made that they resemble miniature angels. But seeing these creatures that way seems to me a stretch of the imagination comparable to the one that supposedly made sailors see dugongs (sea cows) as mermaids.
Fifth point: I'm still pondering the intended symbolism of that scene where our protagonists literally view their town from a different perspective. I'm wondering if this connects to the idea in a couple of Guillermo del Toro movies- Pan's Labyrinth and a film he produced, The Orphanage- where whether an event is a tragedy or not can actually depend on your perspective.
Sixth point: I keep wondering if there's something Darwinian about bullying- it always starts with the weak or the different, though as Kyoko and Takashi fear here (and as in what happened in the second season of March Comes In Like A Lion), the mistreatment can be easily redirected to anyone who dares defend the target. In Clione, we do have someone else, besides Kyoko and Takashi, who is willing to (QUIETLY) defect from this mindset, but one rarely sees more thorough measures like those of March Comes In Like A Lion or A Silent Voice, implemented. Too many want to pretend it doesn't exist, or think it's only going to be a temporary thing for the sufferers. But some may have to endure it to the end of their days...
I honestly appreciate what this show is trying to do, but it's just TOO SHORT to do all the things it wants to do with its story. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Contains bullying and personal tragedy. Amazon says TV-14.
Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Amazon Prime
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Lights of the Clione © 2017 Drop
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