The Great Passage

Alt title: Fune wo Amu

TV (11 eps)
Fall 2016
3.867 out of 5 from 2,221 votes
Rank #1,655
The Great Passage

Dictionaries are ships which guide people through a sea of words and help us all to understand one another. This is the guiding principle at Genbu Books' Dictionary Editorial Department where they are int he process of creating a brand-new dictionary, "The Great Passage - Daitokari," designed for the modern era. Just when production is underway, the Chief of the department must retire. Shortly after this news comes down, one of their editors, Masahi Nishioka, runs into a salesman from their company, Mitsuya Majime, while out at one of their vendors. Majime has a real love and appreciation for words, and is invited to join the Editorial Department where he can put his talents to work.

Source: Discotek

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At first glance one could disregard Fune wo Amu due to how unappealing the topic of the show is, but somehow the show turns out to be quite interesting. Surprised? keep reading to know why. The show tells the story of Majime Mitsuya as he becomes a part of the team on charge of making "The Great Passage", a medium-sized dictionary. As dull as it might sound the show manages to keep the viewers interested by giving more relevance to the interactions between the characters, and it even manages to introduce a romance subplot which flows naturally without ruining the pace. Many shows attempt to do the latter but they ultimately fail in one way or another. The biggest drawback in this regard is the inclusion of a little segment called "The Jisho-tans". While it's quite cute and sometimes explains some terms related to dictionaries (sparing us of some senseless exposition) it hurts the overall pace of the show. Maybe it'd have been better if they put them at the end of the episode and removed the post-credits scenes in each episode. My favourite aspect of the show is the animation though. The backgrounds are nicely done and each character has an unique design, though where it really shines is in the visual representation of Majime's thoughts and emotions as well as the multiple metaphors that are shown thorough the series. Sound-wise I have mixed feelings. On one hand we get a well done soundtrack that enhances the different scenes in the series as well as the visual representations of Majime's feelings, but on the other we have an opening that's excessively colorful and upbeat, which doesn't fit the overall mood of the series at all. The ending was fine though. The characters are definitely the strongest part of the series and what make this show enjoyable. Each character has some very differentiating traits that distinguish them between each other and the interaction between each other flows naturally. As expected, every major character is developed in a way that keeps them away from being two-dimensional while being realistic. Also it's noteworthy that the whole cast is made of adults who behave like adults, something that seems rare to find in an anime. This means we don't have any stupid drama that could be solved by just talking to each other last days and days. The longest a misunderstanding takes to be cleared up is no more than 5 minutes. All in all, this show is a good example of how good directing can make a boring subject interesting. While the show itself is not groundbreaking, the interaction between the characters, the pretty visuals and good soundtrack makes for a nice experience for anybody who's looking for a relaxing anime. This review was written for ALC (Fall 2016 edition)

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