I was taken by how much sheer, serene naturalism lived this episode, one somewhat silly coincidence aside (though even nature can be full of surprises. We’re treated to shot after leisurely, painterly shot of this lazy, ordinary, yet gorgeous summer day, suffused with both idle and serious chatter, and with both orchestral music and pure silence.
Last week’s premonition of potential doom had us in a hurry to see them come to fruition, and the flashes Kakeru and Touko have early in the episode only reinforced that sense of anticipation. But this episode wasn’t going to play it that way. For now those flashes of the future remain there; not even the ones who sensed them knowing when they’ll come.
The episode is a patchwork of vignettes, where everyone is in their little world within the day (fittingly, Sachi is reading Saint-Exupéry, who knows a thing or two about little worlds). Touka starts out in her element, in the glass studio with her dad, but he warns her almost knowingly, to focus; glass-blowing can be hazardous work. But how can she focus when she just heard words from the future?
It’s not Sachi but Yana at the hospital, being treated for an ankle sprain that limits her normally excellent mobility. Yuki is there for her to literally lean on, but only in his capacity as step-brother (his piggyback fake-out is pretty epic). Later, in one of my many favorite little scenes this week, Yana grabs an ice cream out of the freezer, takes a load off, and simply enjoys.
The Summer heat and light outside do not penetrate the cool dark room, but she’s cozy and at peace. When Touko invites her out, she’s hobbling, both physically and emotionally. The two old friends reassure one another and laugh together, but those motions are punctuated by small, slightly pained looks from Yana. It may not be Touko’s fault, but she remains an obstacle to Yana’s happiness, at least where Yuki’s concerned.
Yuki for his part, shows no signs of getting over Touko. It’s not as if a switch went off after she rejected him that made him stop liking her. He follows her to the schoolyard where she’s back to drawing her chickens (again, in her element), where she betrays her feelings when she mistakes him for Kakeru behind her. During the palpable awkwardness that ensues, Touka assures him he’s not a stranger, something he’d just said to Yana after helping her walk.
While walking behind her in the school, his eyes wander to various parts of Touka; her hair clip, her arm, the bottom of her flowing hair…it’s all too much for Yuki, who “can’t be in a room with her alone,” then vents his frustration at her “waiting” for Kakeru before running off, knowing full well he’s said too much. He may not be a stranger, but he’s perilously close to becoming someone who can’t be just friends with Touka anymore.
The only somewhat problematic vignette we have this week is when the summer afternoon storm brews. Yana is stranded outside going nowhere fast with her ankle, and it’s Kakeru—not Yuki who just ran away—who happens to emerge from his own little world (alone in the woods)—and “rescues” her with his jacket and some shelter. They introduce one another, and Kakeru can’t help but analyze the symbols in her name in a complimentary fashion.
Then that stumble happens and he catches her right as Touka rounds the corner to see it, just minutes after realizing she likes Kakeru. After an episode that felt so hands-off to that point, this feels jarringly calculated; both Yana and Kakeru bumping into each other and Touka seeing them in that position. At least the rains that came and went were beautifully depicted.
That brings us to the best part of the episode: some sweet, demure Hiro+Sacchan action! Hiro stops by to return a book she lent him, she invites him in, and they simply hang out together in her room, reading quietly and drinking tea. It’s heaven. Like Yuki, Hiro is finding it increasingly hard to control his feelings for the girl he likes, but Hiro’s able to settle down after some initial nervousness.
He even musters the courage asks her out to the movies, and she agrees, but of course he falls asleep in the theater, likely due to sleeplessness in anticipation of the date. I was particularly invested in/moved by all their scenes together possibly because I’m aware of the cloud that still hangs over Sachi. But if there’s one thing I learned from Golden Time, it’s to savor the good times while they last. Carpe æstas.