As is the case with Ao Haru Ride, we’ve still got a ways to go before the core group is “getting on like a house on fire,” but all the pieces are there after this week. The Ha and the Na are locked in, but to be an official club they need at least two more members. That leaves Ya, Ma, and Ta, all of whom make apperences, but none of whom seem to be in a hurry to join. But they will of course; it’s in the OP. It’s not a matter of if, but how and when.
First up: Yaya. At the beginning of the episode she considers Hana a dangerous, annoying rival; gobbling up precious time Naru could be spending with her. Her position doesn’t necessarily change by the end of the episode, but after hanging out with Hana for a day (when Hana appears passed out in front of her family’s ramen shop), Yaya finally understands Hana’s appeal. She may be a small, clingy dunce, but she’s so open and positive you can’t help feel happy around her.
Yaya has to admit there’s something to her, as they have so much fun they accidentally ditch Naru, who Yaya was meant to meat for the movies. Of the three girls left to recruit, Yaya is the closest to coming aboard. Not only is she well on her way to becoming friends with Hana the Ball of Positive Energy, but Hana moves her with the notion that its best to spend what little time we have on this world doing things we like with people we like. Things like yosakoi.
The other two potentials remain on the periphery. The bespectacled student council president, Tokiwa Machi (Nuakura Manami)’s only interactions with Hana and Naru are scolding them for illegal club marketing, but ironically she becomes the catalyst for them taking this more seriously. Well, that and gathering the courage to get past the suspicious shop manager and learning about an upcoming show.
The stern, standoffish Machi looks like the toughest nut to crack, but she seems to be acquainted with Nishimikado Tami, a longtime family friend of Naru’s, so maybe Tami will help out with her. Machi also seems like the one least likely to get into yosakoi, but I won’t judge a book from its cover. Members, adviser, costumes, gear, music, routine…there’s a lot to do, but Naru and Hana just have to take it one step at a time.
- The James Bond-style cold open was pretty damned cute.
- I now know how to properly strike a naruko…that being said, I’d be handling a flag.
- I loved Hana’s observations of Japanese culture: the perfect woman; pop songs with random English words; tiny portions of food…
- Yana dresses Hana in her little brother’s clothes. Hana pulls it off.
- I liked how Naru milked her outrage at being ditched for all it was worth, and Yana accedes.