Is there anything you’ve forgotten?
Night World Chapter 2: The 26 O’Clock Search follows the footsteps in of its predecessor. It explores how our dreams dip into our internal conflicts and makes us realize an important lesson about our lives by reviewing our memories.
The theme of the second short is friendship and things get complicated when jealousy manifests into possessiveness. Tsumugi and Hina are best friends, figuratively attached by the hip ever since they were kids. They share a friendship diary detailing events from their life and their thoughts. (I’ve only heard about diaries shared between couples in anime and manga before watching this original short.) When Hina decides to befriend Kotoko and asks to include her in their shared diary, Tsumugi feels betrayed and alone.
Tsumugi’s dream world can be described as a fairytale princess’ home with a large castle and a luxurious flower garden with a gondola pillar. However, upon passing through the castle’s front door and corridors, portions of the inner castle are destroyed. As mentioned in the previous episode, the dream world reflects the heart or internal world of the dreamer, therefore, Tsumugi’s relationship with Hina is presented as damaged areas within the castle.
The moral of the second episode was nicely delivered through flashbacks in a round vignette style where the memories’ borders are coloured with light pastel yellow or green. Tsumugi’s recollections remind her of what a kind and wonderful person Hina is.
Aimer’s Gracenote is the episode’s theme song. After running it through DeepL Translate, the lyrics feel they’re written from a place of regret and longing for love when thinking about a past relationship. This person can’t muster the strength to do anything to rectify these emotions and it hurts.
I like how the relationship between Tsumugi and Yoru differs from the one I’ve seen in the first episode. Since Tsumugi is older than Chiyo from Night World’s first episode, she is cognizant of how Yoru can be a dangerous entity. After all, he is a strange creature appearing in her dream, who is downright intimidating due to his height and how much he towers over her. Tsumugi is taken aback but feigns control over her discomfort and fear, stubbornly refusing Yoru’s guidance in their initial encounter and choosing to selectively listen to him. I swear, Yoru has so much patience dealing with Tsumugi and taking time to repeat himself to help relieve her mental anguish and focus on the truth of the situation.
Watching this short reminded me of my rambling post about high school friendships. Little misunderstandings can be easily resolved through communication, but our fear (of rejection and being disliked or isolated from others) oftentimes triumphs and forces us to be silent, leaving us to deal with our self-inflicted emotional pain.
Tsumugi’s decision to expand her social circle is left up in the air for now. Will she embody the qualities she loves about Hina to change herself? Does she want to place more effort into befriending Kotoko? Despite feeling hesitant, Tsumugi’s determination is shown in her response. She’s unable to change herself right away.
Yoru’s response to her answer is so important. Healing takes time and it’s okay to rest when you’re tired. It’s difficult to let go of our emotional anchor to make ourselves and the people around us happy. An unspoken fact about relationships (in general) I thought of while watching this short is how not everyone “clicks” with everyone else. I hope that Tsumugi comes to understand that she has a choice in the people she befriends and recognizes that there is a distinction between how you can define what a friend and an acquaintance is.