One recurring theme of this year’s dive into forgotten series of the 2000s has been series which,. while I could definitely see their strengths, didn’t quite click for me. But at the same time even a lot of those series had their little moments where they really shone. Nagasarete Airanto was very firmly in that category. I could see what it was aiming for and I didn’t hate it but it never quite hit the point where I could say I really enjoyed it. Episode 10 though? Episode 10 was special.
In the first 9 episodes the show found and settled into a fairly consistent rhythm; after finding himself cast away on the isolated island of Airantou, protagonist Ikuto spends the majority of his time just sort of being swept along by its over the top inhabitants, shenanigans ensue. It’s a solid enough premise even if it didn’t really grab me. It’s got a lot of energy and doesn’t really stop to breathe as Ikuto is thrown into one wild situation after another. Episode 10 is that pause for breath.
Unable to venture outside for their usual adventures due to sudden torrential rains, Ikuto and his host Suzu are cooped up in her house, entirely failing to find anything to do. Suzu begins to become increasingly dejected, a fact which Ikuto, lacking any further context, assumes that the generally upbeat Suzu is just getting antsy due to the boredom without any outlet for her boundless energy. And, with Suzu unwilling to provide any further explanation they descend into a sort of awkward silence.
Meanwhile elsewhere on the island the rest of the cast find themselves heading out into the rain on various errands. By sheer coincidence they run into one another. By even further coincidence they all end up at Suzu’s house. Just like they do every time it rains.
As it turns out Suzu’s melancholy isn’t a result of rapid onset cabin fever, rainy days are when she remembers her mother. Having mostly come to terms with her mother’s disapperance a few years prior to the start of the series, rainy days are when Suzu’s bottled up feelings resurface again. Living alone on the edge of the island Suzu generally makes an effort to always be out and about, helping out the island community wherever she can and never stopping to let those feelings catch up. Being trapped inside she’s forced to confront them again, and remember how she used to spend those times with someone who’s no longer in her life. If anything Ikuto’s presence exacerbates this; she’s no longer alone but the person with her is an outsider who as much as she’s tried to help him fit in on the island still lacks the understanding to really provide what she needs. He’s not someone she can share with because she’s not really ready to share these feelings with anyone yet.
And that’s why her friends coincidentally find themselves wandering over to the edge of the island on their various errands, far away from the rest of the village. It’s an unspoken thing that nobody has ever actually commited to, but it happens every time regardless because it’s important. Suzu is someone they all care deeply for and leaving her alone to grapple with these feelings she’s not ready to come to terms with yet is something none of them are willing to do. Suzu herself isn’t entirely oblivious to their intentions but she never brings it up because she loves them as much as they do her, so she goes along with their silent agreement that this is just What We Do When It Rains. They spend the rest of the day just hanging out and keeping one another company, pushing back the loneliness together.
After this the show mostly went back to being what it had been beforehand but this one episode really stuck with me. It does a fantastic job of conveying how much these characters care about one another, after a bunch of episodes focusing on individual characters it was nice to stop and examine their dynamic as a group and it did a lot more to make me care about all of them, I came away liking the cast a lot even if the wider show didn’t have as big an impact and this episode was a big part of that.