The Gist: Tsumugi and her class have a summer break sleepover, where they spend the night at school, make curry and play with fireworks. Tsumugi even gets to chop some vegetables — with a kid’s knife.
From the boys crying, to the girls using more proper language and talking about the different kinds of curry they know, it’s a lovely scene that expands on the various children’s personalities and relationships.
The scene where Kouhei is at home alone, which is almost completely without dialog, is also masterful. As often is the case, Amaama to Inazuma can express a broad emotional range without using spoken words.
Later, Kouhei finds his wife’s cook book where they used to keep spices (a place he never thought to look) and he and Kotori plan to make dry curry. Tsumugi even gets to cut the vegetables herself… with supervision and Kotori about to pass out from anxiety!
While the meal-making includes a lovely Tsumugi dance, this time about bubbles boiling, the real emotional power emerges after the meal, when Father and Child come to terms with Mother/Wife never coming back. Kouhei makes the special food now and, even though it is wonderful, even though it is the way mother used to make it, her death is all the more permanent now.
I love that Tsumugi bashes his chin with her forehead repeatedly while crying about this point. It’s painfully accurate to how a child responds, in my experience.
The Verdict: this was a masterful episode. It plays with scale of characters, silence, and emotional expectations. Joy as sadness. Sadness as joy. Being together but feeling alone and, of course, the bubble dance.
It also shook up AtI’s somewhat predictable visual range with the bright night pallet of the sparklers and seeing Yoki’s bar. I had not realized how in a rut AtI’s sticking with the Kindergarten, the High School, the Restaurant and the Apartment was getting until I saw these 2 new color arrangements –and now I hope we see more in the remaining episodes!