Now in Hachijo-jima, the girls head for the inn, which happens to be run by the family of the surfer, Koharu, who saved Yuka from the sea. The surfer has a twin sister, Chiharu. She knows about Dr. Mizukoshi’s impending move there, and alerts others that his daughter has arrived so they can meet her and show her around. A bit overwhelmed and still unsure of what to do, Saki becomes invisible and inaudible to all around her; she can only communicate by writing. That night Rin and Yuka convince Natsumi not to try to keep Saki from moving. The next day Chiharu takes them on a tour of the island, with Saki tagging along, after which Saki reappears, now more sure that moving won’t be so bad.
Natsumi is definitely a girl of absolutes. So when her best friend and neighbor relays to her she’s not quite sure she wants to move away, she takes it to mean Saki definitely doesn’t want to move, when the reality is murkier. So murky, in fact, a sudden wish on the big rock’s cousin at an outdoor bath essentially turns her into a ghost for most of the episode. By ghost, we mean the kind that are still connected to the living world in a way they don’t understand, and cannot move on until they figure out what that is and resolve it. Saki is similar: she hears one thing from Natsumi that seems to reinforce her desire to stay on the mainland…but she hears another thing from, well, everything around her.
The island is, as we said last week, a gorgeous paradise, a place where somebody could be quite happy; and a place where people are already lining up to be her friend. It’s also a place her father decided to move to not just to fulfill his dream, but to take over for his mentor, an old doctor who had to retire due to declining health and left the island. Koharu resents that Saki’s father is replacing the irreplaceable, but her twin Chiharu tells everything will be fine. And everything will be fine…even if Saki moves away from her closest friends, they won’t stop being friends.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Car Cameo: The gals pile into a Nissan Cedric Y31 taxi that takes them from the shore to the clinic.
Saki packs up the things in her room as the moving day nears. The group decides to visit the place where she’s moving, which is technically Tokyo but in reality it’s Hachijo-jima, 178 miles from the city proper. Saki’s dad tries to reassure her, but she has distressing dreams in which her friends can’t see or hear her. They soak in a couple of Tokyo sights before boarding the overnight ship, which they run around until lights out, when they huddle under a blanket. Yuka gets seasick, and if the waves get too rough, the ship will turn around. In the morning, though, the clouds are gone and Hachijo is in sight. Natsumi finds Saki on the deck and confronts her about whether moving is what she wants.
Every episode of Natsuiro Kiseki has had some form of supernatural phenomenon brought on by the wishing rock…until now. Even so, this may be the best episode yet, capturing the excitement and adventure of a voyage, exentuating how that journey can be the destination. To Rinko and Yuka, it’s enough that it’s an adventure with their good friends. But to Saki, it’s almost a dry run for her actual move, since they decided to visit her home in “Tokyo”, which is actually the most southern and isolated of the Izu Islands, which are indeed administrated by Tokyo. Moving from one’s friends is always tough, and it’s definitely starting to sink in for Saki, now that she’s packed everything in her bedroom away (making her sudden awakening from an unsettling dream in the empty, lonely room all the more unnerving). The episode perfectly captures the bubbly sense of awe one gets from visiting a great city for the first time, as the Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge make brief cameos.
Despite it’s distance, Hachijo-jima is still Tokyo. Despite not wanting to move at all – signifying a difference of intent with her father, for whom working on an island is his dream – Saki is willing to submit to her father’s wishes, not wanting to hurt or disappoint him by voicing her discontent with the decision to move. Natsumi picks up on this; it’s Saki’s M.O. to just “live” with things she believes she can “do nothing about”. Natsumi insists Saki fight for what she wants, and if she doesn’t, then Natsumi will do it for her. The island is a gorgeous paradise at first glance (and in the preview), but the first local they encounter (who has to rescue an un-stretched Yuka from the sea) takes an instant dislike to the “mainlanders”, unaware Saki may be a future neighbor. This was an all-round brilliant and beautiful episode, and we can’t wait for the conclusion.
Rating: 9 (Superior)