With her mother out of town for a couple days, Natsumi must juggle feeding Daiki, doing her homework, and practicing for an important doubles match against regional champs. Wanting to help, Yuka spearheads a wish that literally splits Natsumi into two people, so one of them can focus on tennis, while the other studies and does housework. When the day of the match arrives, Natsumi panics and makes lots of errors, until the wish wears off, and the Natsumi who got valuable advice from Saki merges with the other, and they bounce back and make a match of it. That evening the four friends attend a night festival where they place their wishes on a lantern.
Like body-switching, doppleganger episodes can be a lot of fun to watch, if done properly, as it was this week. The target of the cloning was Natsumi, who just happened to be in the middle of a week of hell which she might not get through in one piece…so Yuka helpfully wishes up a second Natsumi and presto, things are gettin’ done in Aizawaland. Her initial annoyance with the situation feels right, but so does her realization that having two of you has distinct advantages. Natsumi in particular was a good choice; she’s headstrong, stubborn, and proud, we always wondered how she’d interact with…herself. It’s bumpy at first, but eventually they get into synch.
As Saki tells her, Natsumi can also be single-minded to her detriment; by splitting in two she’s not only able to experience two things at once, but also focus on more than one single goal, in her case, winning her last mach with Saki. She gets advice from Saki as the other her tries to change up her game. Predictably, when she’s still split, the tennis match doesn’t go so well at first (we really enjoyed the graceful and powerful tennis animation, by the way), but thankfully the wish wears off just in time to save face and make the match close. All’s well that ends well, and Daiki never sees both Natsumis at once. Natsumi and Saki have also come a long way, which will make Saki’s eventual departure all the more painful.
Rating: 8 (Great)