TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You – S2 03 – Yanagi Brilliant Park

Ginga gave Nasa and Tsukasa day passes for the Muffy Land theme park, and Tsukasa is serious about having the best time possible. Tsukasa has been there before in his youth, so he’s hoping the park won’t disappoint. Things look grim when it’s raining the day of their trip, but Tsukasa finds a silver lining: adorable raincoats!

Nasa didn’t have to worry about the park coming up short, as Tsukasa is having a blast, from the haunted house to the Star Wars-esque rides (naturally she’s watched all the episodes). But the biggest attraction of all turns out to be Yanagi-sensei and her co-worker Taniguchi-sensei. It quickly becomes apparent Taniguchi didn’t “win” tickets, but just used that as an excuse to take Yanagi somewhere because he likes her.

That said, Yanagi is oblivious, thinking Taniguchi is just being nice because she doesn’t get out much. Tsukasa and Nasa make for a great soccer commentary pair in this little rom-com within the episode. Yanagi ends up scoring the first big “goal” by taking Taniguchi’s hand when they go on the scary ride. Nasa also learns a lot from Tsukasa’s perceptiveness that he’s possibly not as perceptive as he thought!

When an opportunity comes for Taniguchi to reveal his intentions (Yanagi comes right out and asks why he brought her to a place where people go on dates and even get married), he is actually about to tell her, but a high schooler in the exact situation beats him to it with his date. He says he likes her, she suggests they go out, he agrees, and Bob’s your uncle! Taniguchi is mortified, but notes that Yanagi found the exchange compelling.

Taniguchi may have hit the post on this try, but the beauty of a theme park is the opportunities keep coming, so he suggests they go get some lunch. Tsukasa and Nasa do the same, and Tsukasa decides to make a romantic game of it: who can make the better plate of the other’s favorite foods from the buffet? Tsukasa naturally nails it, and is almost telepathic in knowing Nasa probably put the curry next to the cakes, but it doesn’t matter. They’re both winners of this adorable game!

Throughout all of this, Chitose is shadowing Tsukasa and Nasa with Charlotte and Aurora in tow. However, at this point Chitose is resigned to the fact Tsukasa is in a committed marriage and isn’t interested in meddling, only observing. Along the way she and the maids have a lovely time at the park together, with large swaths of completely losing track of their targets. Call it Chitose’s deredere side simply wanting to bask a little in the marital bliss…and sink into the park mascot Muffy’s fluffy fluffy white fur.

When the nightly parade and fireworks take place, it’s Yanagi who ends up making the first move, telling Taniguchi what a fun time she had. When Taniguchi says he feels the same, Yanagi absent-mindedly asks if they should then get married, taking a page from her former student’s own remarkably efficient romance. She shakes it off, and explains that things just felt really comfortable and right today. They just make sense.

To that, Yanagi finally grows a pair, tenderly takes her hands in his, and just as a firework explodes above them, tells her he likes her. It’s just a sweet-as-hell moment. I was prepared for so many more episodes of will-they-won’t-they, but Tsukasa and Nasa helped paved the way for Yanagi to get out there, mix it up, and find a special someone. In this she was successful almost beyond belief … and almost as if Tsukasa and Nasa have a kind of cupid-like power to bring others together.

Three episodes in and we’re no closer to learning anything more about Tsukasa’s past teased in the OP, but just like last season, the need to learn more takes a back seat to enjoying her and Nasa, Yanagi and Taniguchi, and Chitose and the maids interact. Put simply, Tsukasa’s past is a bullet Tonikawa may never need to fire, should it choose not to. I’m almost leaning towards hoping the mystery remains just that!

Oshi no Ko – 02 – Dreams and Nightmares

About ten years after their mother was murdered by a stalker, Aquamarine and Ruby Hoshino have gone in different directions. Ruby is determined to follow her mom into the industry and become an idol, in keeping with her past self Sarina’s dreams. Aqua, on the other hand, is stuck in the past, dedicating the remainder of his life to tracking down his father and making him suffer before he dies.

He works under the table as an apprentice for the film director Gotanda, and he and Ruby are about to take high school entrance exams. Having already been rejected in an audition two years ago, Ruby applies once more, and once more gets a call that she isn’t one of the chosen few. She’s devastated, but what’s even more devastating is that the call came from Aqua posing as the agency. He won’t let Ruby go down the same road Ai did, period.

While this feels like a horrible betrayal, it’s understandable, because we watched the film-length first episode and know who Aqua is and what he’s been through. Of course, that Ruby went through the exact same stuff (and worse, when you consider she died so young and in pain), so I pumped my fist when Aqua’s plan is stymied by Ruby being scouted on the street, just as their mother was.

That said, she shows Aqua the business card of the agency, which allows him to demonstrate his skills as both an actor and a private investigator, using his good looks and charm to invite another idol from that agency to Strawberry Productions. She is all too open and honest in her assessment of her current situation: lousy pay, huge expenses, favoritism, their manager dating one of the group, terrible chemistry, etc.

Both Aqua and Miyako agree it doesn’t sound like the kind of agency Ruby should be getting into. Aqua suggests Miyako (the new director of Strawberry with Ichigo blowing town) hire the idol they just interviewed, but Miyako doesn’t like how she badmouthed her co-workers, showing she has a keen eye not just for the talent but the quality of people.

The next day when Ruby has dolled herself up for her audition with this sketchy agency, she’s confronted by Miyako and Aqua: is this really what she wants, even though she knows what the industry did to Ai? Even if it means she’ll be miserable and exhausted and possibly fall victim to stalking?

She says she is, and knowing who Ruby is (and who Sarina was) I don’t doubt her resolve. So Miyako tells her not to join that agency. Ruby is about to get upset, but Miyako continues by asking her to sign with Strawberry instead. That’s right: the agency will be managing idols for the first time in a decade, and Ruby is their first signing.

It’s ultimately a compromise Aqua accepts (for now) since he’s smart enough to know Ruby isn’t going to stop until she’s an idol, so better that she be managed by a family-run business. While at Director Gotanda’s house, which is really his parents’ house—because why move out of a spacious family home in the middle of the city?—editing film, Aqua tells Gotanda that he’s fine working towards a modest production job in the industry rather than pursuing acting.

This isn’t just because he has an equally good chance of meeting his target no matter what job he has in the industry as long as it has access to talent. It’s because he doesn’t believe he has any talent for acting. We know this not to be true, not just because of the different people he’s pretended to be in this very episode, but because a film director hand-picked him to act in his films. Heck, unbeknownst to him, he famous child actress Arima “Tears in 10 Minutes Flat” Kana cry for real.

In between hilarious interruptions from his mom announcing dinner is ready, Taishi tells Aqua that he’s at least twenty years too young to be giving up on making it in acting, when he can tell the boy truly does care about it. Sure, he doesn’t know he’s actually talking to a boy with the mind of a doctor about his age who is channeling all of his energy into vendetta and revenge. But that isn’t all Aqua is. It’s just what he feels like he needs to be.

At the entrance interviews, both Aqua and Ruby excel in the general education and performing arts departments, respectively. As they chat in the hall, Ruby makes light of Aqua’s ostentatious name (he too joked it would be the only reason he’s not accepted), and someone overhears it.

Not just someone, but Arima Kana! Just as the Hoshinos have stars in their eyes, when she turns we see entire galaxies reflected in hers. When Aqua confirms he is indeed Aqua Hoshino, Kana embraces him with joy and relief. She’d feared he’d given up on acting, and is looking forward to being in the performing arts department with him. Then he drops the hammer…he’s just in gen ed. Kana is aghast…as she should be!

I’m not going to sit here and say Aqua is squandering his talents and his mother’s legacy by refusing to pursue acting. People are free to do whatever they want, regardless of what they’re good at. And Aqua is good at much more than acting. But I will most definitely say its wrong for him to waste his life on a revenge plot that likely won’t go the way he plans, may cost far more than he hoped, and certainly won’t give him and peace or solace.

So if even a little part of him dreams of acting as Ruby dreams of being an idol, I’d prefer if he’d get into that. Also, selfishly, I just want to see him and Kana acting together again, because Kana is great!

TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You – S2 02 – Love You Can Taste

Yanagi’s class-wide grades have fallen since her top student Yuzaki Nasa left. But there’s nothing she can do about that, so she works as hard as she can to make up for the loss. That means giving all of herself to her job and declining dates from co-workers.

That night while buying ramen at the konbini, Yanagi-sensei happens to run into Nasa. When she sees the ring she immediately panics, assuming he’s been snatched up by some delinquent. But when Nasa takes her home to meet Tsukasa and they feed her her best dinner in months, Yanagi’s opinion of her changes drastically. Nasa and Tsukasa’s love is so intense and natural that it makes food taste better.

Another party initially unaware of Nasa’s nuptuals is Onimaru Ginga, who storms into the bathhouse demanding to know where Nasa is. Tsukasa goes on the defense, matching Ginga word for word in posturing and verbal sparring. Kaname is frightened of Ginga, but Tsukasa is scared of nothing and nobody, and a slow, painful death awaits anyone who’d hurt her Darling.

Fortunately, Ginga’s not only a nice guy, but Nasa’s younger cousin who followed him around like a lost puppy growing up. He admires Nasa, and with good reason: Nasa’s great! He’s also in high school, and the yakuza is a chuunibyou-like delusion, wherein every activity he describes sounds like crimes but is translated by Nasa to be perfectly harmless high school stuff, like trying to find a home for an abandoned kitten.

While the kitten is (understandably) freaked out and hostile, once the vet is done his checkup and the little guy has been cleaned and groomed, he settles down, and Nasa and Tsukasa agree to take him in for now (i.e., forever). Tsukasa names him Toast, since the blotch on his back resembles a pat of butter. Thus the Yuzaki family grows by one tiny fuzzy member.

TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You – S2 01 – Wedding Hell’s Bells

With a school dramedy seinen, a misfit school rom-com, and a college-age rom-com already on my list, did the Tonikawa sequel arrive too late to make the cut, even if we’re only in April’s single digits? Less than two minutes into this first episode, my answer was as clear and direct as Tsukasa’s when asked if she wants a wedding ceremony: Absolutely not.

Rather than being satisfied with the first season, I wanted more of Tsukasa and Nasa being the absolute cutest young newlywed couple on TV, and we get more here. They’re still living at the Arisugawa’s cozy guest house, and after Nasa wraps up his work stuff they go to a fancy movie theater.

The OP features a lot of scenes from Tsukasa’s past, and she may well be an immortal moon goddess in human form who has walked the earth since the days of the samurai … but at this point it’s almost part of the comedy that this is never addressed during the actual run of the show.

Tsukasa vividly envisioning a movie with flying sharks in the skies above a city and getting that “why the heck is this happening” vibe cheekily mirrored the experience of watching the OP of largely non-supernatural slice-of-life rom-com, which was one of the very best and most relaxing hangs of the season during its first run. Fun to think about, but not the focus of the show, at least not for now.

When talk of a wedding—as in, an actual formal wedding ceremony—is broached by Kaname (who wants a gondola and fireworks), Nasa asks Tsukasa about it during dinner, which is when she voices her vociferous lack of desire to go through such an ordeal. Turns out Nasa is hilariously ignorant to the cost and complexities of such events.

When Kaname drops by with an watermelon, she and Tsukasa experience the full extent of that ignorance, as Nasa assumes a wedding taking no longer than a week to prepare costing, oh, around $5,000. The thing is, that kind of is possible, as long as you’re creative and focused enough to avoid the all-too-easy pitfalls and excesses of traditional wedding planning.

In a way, Nasa’s lack of knowledge on orthodox ceremonies helps him stand out from everyone else who is simply overthinking things. They say a wedding is often not for the actual bride and groom, but for their family and friends. It’s what’s expected, not always what the couple actually wants.

While doing some ridiculously high-impact combat training in her courtyard, Chitose admits to her maids that if Tsukasa were to go through with a ceremony, she’d not only attend, but also not make any effort to ruin things. She wants Tsukasa to be happy, and also for her Gran to see Tsukasa in a wedding dress. Who wouldn’t?

After his evening bath, Nasa encounters Aya slacking off in the lounge with her handheld game, and she echoes a lot of Kaname’s sentiments about a wedding being a no-joke elaborate hassle-and-a-half. What’s funny is, while she’s aware weddings can take a year or more to plan, she’s not exactly quite sure why.

Enter Tsukasa back and refreshed from her bath, listing all the preliminary steps like invitations, RSVPs, seating charts, favors, et cetera, ad nauseum, e pluribus unum. The bottom line is, she’s not interested in all that effort. But Aya, no doubt wanting them to have the kind of wedding she’d want, tells them they won’t know if it’s worth it until they try.

That brings us to another generally-held conception among the populace—not just in Japan or America but everywhere—that the stress and complication is the point. It’s not just a celebration, but a trial by fire: if a bride and groom can get through their wedding, they’ll be well prepared adversity later in their marriage.

The wedding mag they obtain at the konbini is as thick as a phone book. Couples sometimes get into fights during wedding planning. But here’s the thing: Tsukasa just…rather wouldn’t? She likes things the way they are, all easy, breezy, and lovey-dovey. She loved the simple day she just had hanging out with her husband, and wouldn’t mind many more days like it.

Nasa, who was never particularly married to the idea of a wedding ceremony (no pun intended), is in full agreement that they table the wedding plans for now and take time to think about it. There’s every possibility they can also put their heads together and come up with a more scaled back, economical wedding that won’t take years or millions of yen to execute.

The couple then heads home, slips under the futon together, and have what might be the perfect ceremony for them, not anybody else. Reveling in the peace and relief that resulted by tabling more complex plans, they exchange quick and concise vows, affirming their love and dedication to one another, and kiss right there in the bed. Tsukasa may still don a wedding dress, but she’s perfectly fine with just Nasa seeing her in it, in private.

I’m proud of our newlywed kids for not falling down the rabbit hole of wedding planning hell, because at the end of the day it’s not for everyone and something no one should feel pressured into. I’m as content to watch their peaceful lovey-dovey lives as they are to live it. I’m also as unconcerned with their lack of ambition with wedding plans as I am with the show’s refusal to explain Tsukasa’s past. Mostly, I’m just glad Tsukasa, Nasa, and the gang are back!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Vinland Saga S2 – 11 – Head of the Line

“Norsemen won’t follow a weakling”, says King Canute’s Gunnar as he and a worried-sick Estrid watch her brother sparring with Wurf, the head of his royal guard and a much larger, stronger man. Estrid is just shocked to see Canute even handling a sword, he used to fear touching them. And while Canute ends up using Wurf’s crush on Estrid to distract and beat him, impressing his subjects, Estrid can tell her brother is in pain.

The late King Harald’s body is barely cold when Canute assumes the throne and gets to the work of keeping the kingdom financially solvent; no mean feat when he insists (probably with good reason) on keeping a native Danish force under his direct command in England, at the cost of all of the English taxes. Raising the Danes’ taxes will only foment unrest and resentment, so Canute has a different plan in mind: requisitioning lands from wealthy owners.

Right on cue, one of the men singularly equipped to benefit the very least from Canute’s imminent policy, Ketil, arrives in Jelling, three days after Harald died. Ketil, who didn’t even know the old king was that ill, is suddenly in the position of having to win favor with the new one. His elder son Thorgil, one of the king’s guards, will ask for an audience on Ketil’s behalf. As for Olmar? He’s in town acting like a pathetic gangster, bumping into a simple merchant and soiling his cloths.

Ketil arrives to de-escalate the situation, and the young merchant’s father also appears…and it’s Leif Erikson. The lad’s name is Thorfinn, AKA “Bug Eyes”, and we can surmise pretty easily that he was the product of Leif’s search for Thors’ son. Rather than abandon him, Leif ended up more or less adopting him. When Ketil mentions one of his people has the same name, hair, and eyes, Leif suspects that Ketil’s slave may be the Thorfinn he’s been looking for for years.

Ketil gets an audience with Canute almost immediately, which should be a red flag to him. The meet initially goes well, with Canute accepting Ketil’s fine gifts (the bounty of his vast farms) and assuring him of the necessity of strong farmers to keep the kingdom strong. Then Olmar stands (which you’re not supposed to do before the king) and starts to unsheath his sword (which you’re definitely not supposed to do before the king) and asks if he can join his brother in the royal guard.

Canute humors Olmar, and brings him before a freshly roasted pig to show his prowess with the blade. Olmar makes a lot of martial noises that startle the folks outside, leading to perhaps the funniest goddamn jump cut in Vinland’s history, as he is barely able to pierce the pig’s skin, let alone its bones. Even so, Canute says he’ll consider adding Olmar to his ranks. But it’s a bad look overall for the Ketil family.

Not that it matters. As soon as Canute learns that Ketil is a wealthy landowner, Ketil was doomed to be the first victim of the king’s requisition plan. Call it bad luck. Canute also identifies Olmar’s usefulness, not as anything resembling a warrior (he’s “all pride, no skill, as Wurf says), but as someone who can be easily manipulated into facilitating the land takeover. I’d feel bad for Ketil…if he wasn’t a damn slaveowner.

How will the impending takeover affect Ketil’s plans to free Thorfinn and Einar? I imagine all bets will be off, to say nothing of Arnheid’s freedom (or even safety). That said, it’s possible that Lief, or Canute, or both of them may soon find themselves in the presence of the real Thorfinn once more. They may not recognize the man he’s become.

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 09 – Restaurant: Possible

Alina comes to Mitsuha’s store requesting a consultation: Her family’s modest restaurant is under attack from a wealthier rival after Alina rejected his son’s advances (she only has eyes for her dad’s handsome apprentice). Mitsuha is happy for another consultation gig, so she takes the job on, while Princess Sabine mimics her every move.

The plan is 3-pronged: get the restaurant back up and running under the current staff, recoup the losses from the days it was closed, and thwart and deter any further attempts at sabotage from the competition. Mitsuha asks Alina’s dad to ditch the usual master-apprentice process and directly teach his apprentice and daughter how to make the necessary dishes.

Mitsuha also employs the maids who were her first customers to spread word that Paradise Restaurant is the only one in town that serves the vaunted “Yamano Cuisine.” She even hires the mercs Grit and Ilse to wait tables, something they’re all too happy to do after getting burned out from hunting. When the owner of the rival restaurant shows his face, Mitsuha is ready.

The rival owner rolls in with two royal guards in tow and with charges of wrongdoing, accusing Paradise of serving counterfeit Yamano cuisine. He’s brought Mitsuha’s apprentice, Mr. Marcel, to judge the quality of the food, a decision that ends up blowing up in his face when Mitsuha emerges from the kitchen and within minutes Marcel is in the kitchen helping out!

Before the rival owner can make any more objections to a situation already well out of his control, both the entire Bozes family and the King and Chancellor arrive at the restaurant; the former because they heard Yamano’s cuisine was being served, the latter because Sabine is working there.

The rival owner is arrested on suspicion of arranging the assault of Alina’s dad, and all’s well that ends well. Mitusha even enlists the king’s help matchmaking so Alina can get with the apprentice. She only makes a single gold coin, but considers it worth it because she had fun with her new friends. 80,000 gold may be the destination, but she’s enjoying the journey!

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 08 – The Messenger of Lightning

Thanks to word of mouth from the three maids, shampoo sales are booming for Mitsuha. One day a gorgeous doll-like girl aristocratic air makes a large purchase of shampoo, plushies, and other products. She thanks Mitsuha and promises to return, but Mitsuha is concerned such a well-to-do young lady has no security detail.

Sure enough, Mitsuha spots a suspicious-looking man following the girl, then grabbing her and forcing her into an alley with three others. Mitsuha puts and end to their human trafficking plot by trying out a nickname “Messenger of Lightning” and demonstrating the power of a pistol-style stun gun…and just plain-ol’ gun gun. The baddies try to flee, but are surrounded by guards in full plate armor: royal guards.

The cutie isn’t just an aristocrat, she’s the Royal Princess Sabine, and suddenly Mitsuha has the gratitude of the entire royal family. She uses this opportunity to present both the king and his chancellor Sahr with reading glasses, which are far better than the crude lenses they’ve had to use since their vision became impaired. Mitsuha assures the king she can procure whatever he wants…except women, of course.

As the king has Sahr look more into Mitsuha’s whole deal, a third party visits Mitsuha’s store: President Nelson Adler of the Adler Trading Company. Immediately condescending to Mitsuha and throwing his weight around, he not only offers to take the store off her hands, but to take her and Sabine in, with some uncomfortable subtext to that offer.

Mitsuha asks him to return the next day, and has Sabine deliver an invite to Sahr, her new “business partner”. Sahr arrives, Mitsuha explains the hostile takeover and kidnapping attempts by Adler, and Sahr throws the book at him, warning him that any interference in Mitsuha’s shop, and Adler will be the one personally punished.

So now Mitsuha has the double-edged sword of a legit royal warrant and the fast friendship of a very cute but very spoiled princess in Sabine, who has quickly become addicted to Japanese DVDs Mitsuha has to live-dub in the isekai language. All she needs now is an actual sign for her shop—a breathtaking oversight on her part to this point!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 07 – Laid-Back Adventure Camp

Mitsuha invites the adventuers Sven, Zepp, Gritt and Ilse to her store for tea and to hire them to be her bodyguards as she accompanies them on their next trip into the wilderness. Mitsuha impresses the others with her preparation, strange clothes, and general toughness.

While she’s paying them for protection, a nice side benefit of the adventuring trip is that Mitsuha gets to demonstrate a number of products that make camping and hunting easier, from a pop-up insulated tent to a firestarter. She also gets to show off her marksmanship as she manages to kill a bird with her crossbow that Ilse missed with her bow.

That night, Mitsuha also shares some more cheap, easy-to-prepare food from her world that nevertheless is the best-tasting food the adventurers have ever eaten. She vows to make the food and other equipment affordable enough for hardworking mercs like themselves. That said, when she dons a bikini to take her bath, she scandalizes her new friends; apparently this world is a lot more modest when it comes to coverage!

Other than that little snafu, the only snag in an otherwise educational and problem-free trip is when Mitsuha does into the bushes to go to the bathroom and encounters an ornery boar. When she runs, it gives chase, and she unloads her 9mm pistol at it. Luckily, it’s just enough stopping power to bring the beast down before it gets her, but now she knows to pack larger ammo in the future.

When the group celebrates a job well done at the tavern, Mitsuha breaks out one more artifact from her nation: a gravure mag with pictures that confirm that the swimsuit she wore is perfectly normal where she’s from. While Gritt and Ilse concede that point, wearing that kind of thing here is a different story.

The episode wraps up with Mitsuha trying to create large works of art to sell by teleporting to a quarry and teleporting back while thinking of the form she wants the stone statue to take. But since her art sensibilities are limited, the resulting statues are assumed by customers to be ugly on purpose so they’ll ward off evil. Ah well…you can’t excel at everything!

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 06 – Visiting Friends

Mitsuha raked in 260 gold for Adelaide’s debutant ball, which she converts to 26 million yen. That’s nearly $200,000—not too bad! That also means 1 gold = 100,000 yen, or about $760. It also means 80,000 gold is worth $60,871,200. I guess Mitsuha will be spending her retirement in Beverly Hills!

In any case, the success of the feast in particular had every noble in attendance to order their chefs to step up their game, or else. That’s why Baron Turk’s chef is perhaps a little on edge and overly aggressive in his demand for fish, which Mitsuha makes clear she doesn’t sell direct.

Fortunately for Mitsuha, Lady and Duke Bozes enter the store and scare the chef off. Unfortunately for Mitsuha, she must close her store for the day because Lady Iris drags her back to their manor in the boonies for a long-delayed visit.

Beatrice in particular is jealous of being the only one not to attend Adelaide’s ball, and gets Mitsuha to commit to planning her ball when she comes of age in two years. That night Mitsuha is feted with a celebratory feast, the quality of which she does not comment, and also has to come up with some pretty wild explanations for how the logistics of Adelaide’s ball played out.

Mitsuha talks for so long, she ends up staying the night, and Beatrice visits her late at night to get her to reaffirm her promise to handle her debutante ball. Beatrice impresses upon Mitsuha how ladies are engaged at 10 and become adults and marry at 15.

Beatrice also starts asking pointe questions about Mitsuha’s love life, which we know to be non-existent. At one point Mitsuha wonders if Beatrice has the hots for her, then finds notes under her sleeve from both her brothers and her dad, who paid her to pump Mitsuha for info.

Mitsuha agrees to provide Beatrice with intel, but she’ll pay her for it as well (never doubt Mitsuha’s ability to make a profit from any situation!) Also, the information will be completely manufactured, in order to best mislead the Bozes men and maintain her intriguing, mysterious persona.

When Mitsuha returns to her store, a fight between a fugitive and a bounty hunter bursts inside. Mitsuha takes a quick check of her armaments, but ends up wisely using a non-lethal pepper spray. When the fugitive runs out with one of her knives, she gives chase along with the swordswoman.

She then meets an archer girl, babyfaced spearman, and grizzle greatsword-wielding veteran: the perfect fantasy adventurer/mercenary guild party. Liking the cut of this quartet’s jib, Mitsuha immediately hires them for a mission—the nature of which we’ll no doubt learn next week.

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 05 – The Debut

Lord and Lady Reiner accompany Marcel and his sous chef to Mitsuha’s for a tasting session. Once again, the menu is exclusively pre-made/boil-in-the-bag dishes, which saves Mitsuha time and money while still exceeding the standards for taste in this world. When the Reiners agree to avail themselves of her services, she doesn’t just want to provide the ingredients and training for the kitchen staff.

If she’s in this, she wants to handle every aspect of fair Adelaide’s big debut party. This marks the first time she’s taken someone with her back to her world—in this case, to a hyper couturier friend of hers who is instantly inspired by Adelaide’s striking beauty. Needless to say, the ethical and metaphysical ramifications of sending someone to her world are skimmed over…we’ve got a party to plan!

Throughout all these preparations, Mitsuha’s store is closed, and we see someone trying to open her door. That made me weary—what if someone got their hands on modern Japanese tech when she’s not there to shoot them? But the debutante even starts off without a hitch, with Mitsuha using projected backgrounds from her laptop and dry ice smoke to add to the theatricality of Adelaide’s gorgeous outfits.

While impressed by the special effects and charmed by Adelaide, the assembled nobles chafe at the paltry portions. But that complaint is answered when they’re presented with an elaborate buffet of foreign delicacies, including fresh fish and seafood. The Bozes family are among those nobles, and Lady Iris snags Mitsuha to chat while her son talks to Adelaide. It turns out Iris was the one trying to enter Mitsuha’s store.

The only real snag the party hits is that it’s been such a blast for all in attendance, no one leaves when they usually would, and the kitchen starts running out of food (and energy). Coach Mitsuha excuses herself from the Bozes, rallies Marcel and the chefs, and improvises, prepping a huge batch of French fries and breaking out a big spread of desserts.

The banquet and ball are a massive success, and Adelaide even flashes an angelic smile of gratitude. Other nobles with daughters about to come of age will have to step up their games, which likely means they’ll be reaching out to Mitsuha for her consulting services—where the real big bucks are.

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 04 – Fish Tales

Mitsuha finds a centrally-located storefront in the Capital, hires a craftsman to renovate it, then stocks it mostly with specialized, semi-useful items from the 100-yen store. But even after pounding the pavement distributing flyers, the day of the grand opening passes without a single customer. The second day reaches 4:00 PM and still no one.

Even when the first three marks customers step through, they’re a little weirded out by how random everything is, and seem particularly off-put by the fish scaler. The three young women are interested in the “hair elixir”, but the 16 silver price tag is a little too steep, so they prepare to depart for lunch. Mitsuha believes if she loses these customers she’s done for, so she makes them an offer they can’t refuse.

First, Mitsuha demonstrates the near-magical power of modern-day budget shampoo in a world with renaissance level of development. In short: a few more pumps are needed for hair that has never been shampooed, but eventually Anke’s hair is as soft and shiny as Mitsuha’s.

Then Mitsuha treats the ladies to a sumptuous multi-course feast…made up entirely of boil-in-the-bag meals from said 100-yen store, fine delicacies of unprecedented flavor to the palates of this realm. When one of the women suggest they might be dealing with a witch, the others shush her.

When they return to the manor where they work with a gift of chocolate almonds (remember to take off the wrappers!), the chef Marcel calls a meeting with the Lord and Lady of the House. The three servants give a detailed report on their unusual visit to General Store Mitsuha.

They all agree that the only plausible explanation for serving fresh fish in a city ten days’ ride from the sea is that Mitsuha is a witch…but maybe a kind one? I love how far into the weeds they go contemplating the logistics of transporting fish to the city.

Marcel pays Mitsuha a visit, and Mitsuha is thrilled that the women spread the word like she’d ask. Marcel buys a basket full of mostly cooking-related articles, then asks her about fresh fish. Specifically, he is unsure of his ability to put on a top-shelf banquet for Viscount and Lady Ranier’s daughter Adelaide’s upcoming debutante ball, but fresh fish could be just the ticket.

While Mitsuha initially envisioned hordes of customers of all stripes packing her store and filing her pockets with that sweet, sweet silver and gold, she instead has unexpectedly received something arguably more important than immediate hard cash: connections.

If her consulting leads to a successful ball, she’ll have powerful, grateful new friend in Ranier, and all the other nobles who attend will want her wondrous services as well. Mitsuha’s store may have endured a slow start, but things are looking up for her overall business. Because even if the products need tweaking, her talents for salesmanship and improvisation are legit.

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World – 03 – Swiss Army Mitsuha

With all of Mitsuha’s intricate preparations complete, all that’s left is to get chummy with the nobles of this world. When she’s stopped at the gates for lack of appointment or invitation, she improvises. She pretends to have been struck by the Count’s sons’ carriage, and they bring her right into the manor. This way, their first interaction is one in which they have done her wrong and owe her amends.

Once she’s “recovered”, Mitsuha formally introduces herself as “Mitsuha von Yamano” of the distant land of Japan. Her story is that she was separated from her traveling companions and her life was in danger, but she was saved by the people of this land. She offers a Swiss army knife of all things as a token of her gratitude, and her hosts are impressed by its craftsmanship.

That night she wows them with an evening gown and pearls, which while the cheaper cultured kind, are deemed so perfect by the Count’s wife Lady Iris that she goes on a tirade about how they can’t possibly exist in this world. She also meets the Count and Lady’s two sons and daughter, all younger than her, and explains the true reason she’s here was due to a succession dispute in her land.

Freed from that dispute, and from the titles and riches of her homeland, Mitsuha is determined to start over and make her own way by opening a general store in the capital. Mitsuha manages to appeal to Lady Iris by offering her “priceless” necklace because she reminds her of her own mother. She also tells them that all proper ladies in her country are trained in the “knife arts” and carry a blade on them at all times.

As the night goes on, Mitsuha continues to entertain her hosts over tea with her stories and ideas about how they can boost their flagging crops, her ambition on full display. The Count notes how it’s so fun chatting with her he’s lost track of time, and when she accidentally knocks over her cup, she’s suddenly reminded of a real interaction she had with her parents back when they were still alive. She realizes that she never truly wept for her lost family members, and finds herself unable to hold back genuine tears.

After how the interactions with her brother were happening in her head for mostly comedic and expositional purposes, it was surprisingly touching to see that this interaction with another family made her yearn for her own, and properly grieve them for the first time. And even though that wasn’t her intention, it only supported her calculated plan to gain the nobles’ trust and affection.

The next morning they send her off on a carriage to the capital with attendants with both the financial and moral support to get her empire started, with the understanding that she’ll always be welcome in their home. It’s a win-win-win situation for Mitusha “von Yamano”, and her future is looking bright!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Tenten Kakumei – 03 – So Far From Me

It is a crying shame that such an intelligent, capable, and beautiful young woman as Euphyllia finds herself in such an existential purgatory. She’s immediately sympathetic as someone whose life has taken such a sudden, sharp turn, she’s still recovering from the whiplash. This episode focuses on the young lady and the unmoored feeling that now suffuses her days.

There’s no morning bed talk between Euphie and Anis, as the latter had flown of on her broom at dawn. She reappears during Euphie’s breakfast, setting off the house alarm system she invented, and offers Euphie a chance to ride the broom. While Anis promises not to let go, she does so, and Euphie takes to the skies full of joy and excitement. It’s only when she realizes Euphie isn’t behind her that she comes crashing down.

It’s a fitting practical symbol of Euphie’s difficulty acclimating to the sudden freedom Prince Algard’s shunning and Princess Anis’ friendship has afforded her. Ilia, the not-so-secret MVP of the show so far, assures Euphie that Anis was once even more absurd, idiotic, and insane, while at the same time calling her duty to her mistress a perk.

Ilia tells Euphie if she “doesn’t like” the current arrangement, she should say so now and save both of them. But Euphie doesn’t dislike it, she simply doesn’t quite yet understand Anis, saying she feels “so far from me.” Iwami Manaka delivers this line with such longing and vulnerability, I almost felt like Honda Tooru had entered the room.

There’s some foreboding about Euphie’s audience that day, but once it takes place I see that I had nothing to worry about. Both her father Duke Grantz and King Orphans contine to be the Best Dads. Both the prince’s and his friends (themselves sons of powerful nobles) have one version of the story, while Euphyllia has another.

Neither man questions Euphie’s version of events nor blames her for giving Lainie Cyan advise. Euphie refrains from vilifying Algard, as even in the moment she was being insulted and humiliated, she felt more righteousness than malice, like the prince was yanking against that which tied him down.

In this scene Iwami Manaka once more shows how good she is, resigned as she is to the fact the prince’s heart never had any room for her, but that fact isn’t a source of great pain. What she truly feels is nothing; numbness. While her father meant well, telling her she doesn’t have to worry about the future, and there’s “nothing for her to do” might just hurt her more than Algard did.

When she pays a visit the royal servants who had been preparing her portrait and wedding gown, Ilia mentions how bad Anisphia is at maintaining her measurements, and how it requires constant mending of her dresses. At the same time, Ilia adds that Euphie is now free of corsets and bustiers. There’s nothing to tie her down. Nothing at all.

The next morning, a totally sleep-deprived Anisphia bursts into the dining room like a bat out of hell, wearing practical work clothes. She’s extremely excited to present Euphyllia with the magical tool she promised to make. It’s a sword that allows Euphie to summon and focus all of her various magical skills. Fittingly, Anis names the sword Arc-en-Ciel.

This is another subtle yet effective nod to Anis’ past life in our world, as it is a French word for rainbow. Rainbow also carries double meaning as a reflection of the many colors and kinds of magic Euphie can wield, as well as its status as an LGBT symbol. With Arc-en-CielAnis hoped to unlock Euphie’s smile, as well as to see her magic, which Anis considers more beautiful than anyone else’s.

So much great dialogue and vocal performances and nuanced facial expressions fills this episode, which is the most melancholy of the three and the closest look yet into Euphyllia’s personality and present situation. It all culminates when after Euphie’s badass demonstration, she and Anis sit under a tree together to rest.

Anis, who stayed up all night working on Arc-en-Cielnods off and rests her head on Euphie’s lap. But before she does, she says the sword and Euphie are a “perfect match” because Anis always thought she was “pretty as a rainbow”, and “so pretty it’s unfair.” It’s the first time anyone’s rested their head in her lap, and it makes Euphie cry.

She cries because she envies Anis so much for being who she is, and how badly she wants to be “even the least little bit” like her. But after harrowing days of being told she has nothing more to do, nothing to worry about, and nothing tying her down, here’s this feral princess literally weighing her down, keeping her tethered to the ground, with her. It’s something that must feel so good one could cry.

Euphie may still be overwhelmed by a personality so opposite hers, but at the end of the day, she has a good heart and kind soul just like Anis. In time she’ll surely feel more comfortable and more like she belongs. She may even find some of the Euphie she envies so rubbing off on her—and vice-versa. Freedom can be terrifying, so it’s best to have a guide.

%d bloggers like this: