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Summer Time Rendering Episode 3 - Ushio appears

Summer Time Rendering – Episode 3-4

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Summer Time Rendering Episode 3 - Ushio appears

If I were to use a phrase to describe the journey of Summer Time Rendering from the perspective of the main character it would be “forget what you see, remember what you forgot”. On first reading it appears the two parts of that statement threads over the same meaning but within that circular logic there is very much a varying impression of subtlety and depth. Reflecting it against the context of Summer Time Rendering, it speaks towards the growing need for Shinpei to distrust the reality before him (which he sees) and attach more emphasis on the memories he possesses of his “past” and the interactions with a certain dear individual (what he remembers through each “progression”). When the danger of doubt exist within the shadows of trust, it becomes necessary to embrace the unconventional suspicion of apprehension.

I was incredibly curious to see how the story and mystery would develop within subsequent episodes after the initial set-up especially with the “shadows” being introduced as primary antagonist. Such a narrative created an expectation of defined factions but when the cliff hanger of episode 3 came around, I found myself stunned and at a loss for words. I genuinely did not expect that development. After the scene with Shiori-chan earlier in episode 3 which painted the terror of shadows in such a thick focus, the thought of a contrasting interpretation became implausible. These antagonist didn’t discriminate between adult and child which conveyed a terrifying characteristic that didn’t align with the value of humans. This variance established a divide between human and shadow which the viewer began to familiarise with. What was thought certain became a conclusion that generated further questions. What is going on beyond what we see? And what do these shadows exist as?

Summer Time Rendering Episode 4 - Ushio overjoyed to be able to see Shinpei again

On top of the presentation of the shadows, I did not anticipate how absorbed I would be with the relationship Shinpei and Ushio shared. The interactions the two shared up to this point were minimal and only implicitly highlighted through visions, situations, Mio and third-party character interactions. But thinking back, those moments carried with it an emotional resonance that is very much the core of the series. Subconsciously, without the viewer needing to be formally introduced to Ushio, the circumstances surrounding her story crafted a foundation for which the emotions naturally arose and developed. Death is a very loaded concept and so is separation between two individuals who share an intimate connection. When these aspects intertwine, feelings of grief and sorrow naturally arise. And within that maelstrom of sympathy, a hope for happiness sprouts. An overriding desire for two individuals sharing a close bond to have an opportunity to redefine the cruel embrace given to them by the world. This is why moments like Jack not getting on the door with Rose in Titanic (1997 film) still remains a point of sorrow within the audiences’ mind and heart even after decades. There was even a MythBusters segment dedicated to proving that it was possible for both Jack and Rose to get on the door. The appearance of Ushio in front of Shinpei catalysed the hope dormant in the viewer and accelerated the uncertainty of possibility.

The meaning of Ushio’s appearance could be presumed by the viewer but when the interactions between Shinpei and Ushio carried with it such an intense level of joy, love and wholesomeness in episode 4, it becomes perplexing to ascertain the exact happenings of the events on the Island. The focus on the peculiar circumstances surrounding Ushio’s death, appearance and personality raises many curiosities on the nature of shadows and their purpose. Are their varying factions of shadows? Or is just Ushio? Was the shadow process surrounding Ushio’s death interrupted or affected by external factors? Shadow Ushio seemed completely oblivious to what she is now. Based on her memories, she understands she died but beyond now being alive, she doesn’t seem to know more. Shadow Ushio does genuinely seem joyful to be able to see Shinpei again, something she wished for in the end when she was in the water and everything went dark.

Summer Time Rendering Episode 4 - Ushio and Shinpei fight over the mobile phone

Ushio is amazing. Her attitude, personality, dialog and positivity make her such an endearing character. The manner in how she interacts with Shinpei is also incredibly charming. She treats Shinpei with both hard and soft affection. I absolutely love her unrestrained personality. Naturally, even if the Ushio in focus is a shadow version, I still desperately want her to continue living.

The latter half of episode 4 was incredibly fascinating. I didn’t notice that twist until it happened. I was aware Shadow Mio spotted Shinpei and Shadow Ushio but I was expecting a more confrontational approach (which did happen but after the twist). The passphrase Mio set up became a cage my perspective was concealed within. Of course after what Shadow Ushio displayed, it means that when a shadow takes the “image” of a person, the memories that person possesses are also copied which would include any passphrases. The passphrase was never a solution just an illusion to misdirect the perspective of the viewer and it worked beautifully. I was completely fooled and now I don’t trust my perspective. What else have I missed? Regardless, I find it immensely interesting to see what happens now going forward in this “life” with Shadow Shinpei aware of the peculiarity of Shinpei. He is aware that a loop is in play. Shadow Mio was on point with her offhand “this ain’t a video game” comment. Many games, especially repeatable complete games like the Zero Escape series that unlock further content and context with different endings reflect what is going on with Shinpei.

Summer Time Rendering Episode 4 - The fake Shinpei shadow

In order for a shadow to take a form, that person needs to be alive. Once the person dies and their body is turned to ash, no shadow can take that person’s form. But if there is a shadow that has already taken the person’s form before the body is turned to ash, they can maintain that form which is currently the case for Ushio. Although, I don’t think she can recall the mechanics behind the power the shadows wield. Also, the static/glitch/interference emanating from the shadows appears to be a medium of communication. Shadows use the static in their form to communicate with other shadows or so I find myself believing.

Summer Time Rendering is such a mind-bending experience where even the faintest of variances within one moment can cascade into dire consequences on a subsequent progression of the “life”. I see several more loops taking place as more information about the Shadows and this “Mother” come to light. Loving the analytical process that takes over Shinpei’s mind when processing the events and his observations across the “lives”. Very excited to see what he does now. Will Shinpei kill himself to reset the loop? And if Edge of Tomorrow/All You Need Is Kill is anything to go by, will further repetitions of the loop make the Shadows and this “Mother” more aware of his presence? Very much looking forward to the following episodes.

Enjoyment level: 9.5/10

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