Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! – 12 (Fin) – The Hanging Out Continues

As expected, last week’s shocking cliffhanger is resolved within the episode’s first two minutes, as Uzaki clarifies she can’t hang out with him because she still has to do her college summer homework. Sakurai closes the door in her face, despite the fact she’s soaked by the rain. Pretty lame fake-out there, to be honest. Also, college summer homework? Sounds high schoolly to me…

When the cafe owner throws out his back lifting something he should have left to his hulking employee, it affords Ami an opportunity to ask Uzaki how she and Sakurai were like in high school. Uzaki basically reiterates that while she was initially intimidated by his scary face, she soon learned he’s a kind, earnest guy. What Uzaki didn’t realize until Ami tells her is that she’s picked up his speech patterns!

On to the next vignette, in which Uzaki, having shown her whole ass (figuratively speaking) to Sakurai when drunk, is determined to get Sakurai into a similar state of vulnerability. Sakaki tells her Sak intentionally keeps his alcohol intake down to avoid showing that side of himself, so she’ll have to work for it.

To that end, she cooks a delicious but spicy dinner for the two, pretends to drink so he’ll keep up, and brings bad shark disaster movies to distract him from his intake. By the end of the evening, Uzaki is successful as Sakurai is very drunk and for once couldn’t act cool if he wanted to, but when he earnestly praises Uzaki’s cooking and lets the word “love” slip, it leads Uzaki to binge drink in order to steel herself.

The end result is Sakaki puts drunk Sakurai in his futon to get a good night’s sleep, and drunk Uzaki crawls into the bed with him. When they wake up face-to-face, they have no memory of what, if anything, happened, and head to the cafe to treat their hangovers with quality coffee.

Naturally, Ami and her dad are eager to hear details about what happened, and are perhaps too amused by the fact neither Sakurai nor Uzaki can definitively state that they did not have a drunken tussle. One would hope that if and when they do it, they’d be in charge of their faculties and, more importantly, remember the experience!

The next college semester starts, and Uzaki has breakfast with her mom and previously unseen(?) little brother. Uzaki spots Sakurai on campus and catches up to his lumbering gait. She’s still experiencing post-summer break shock, and is mostly down in the dumps because she thinks they won’t hang out with classes in session.

Sakurai assures her, perhaps too earnestly, that it doesn’t have to be summer for them to hang out, and that “they’ll always be together.” That last bit brings out Uzaki’s mischievous flesh fang, and we’re basically back to their warm, cozy status quo dynamic.

While watchable and possessed of some nice moments here and there, Uzaki-chan wants to Hang Out! was a pretty ho-hum, take-it-or-leave-it rom-com. Too often the leads felt more like high schoolers than the adults they’re supposed to be. The antics of the Owner/Ami/Sakaki rooting triad grew stale, while the weird Tottori tourism ad episode was…a weird Tottori tourism ad.

That said, Oozora Naomi gave a solid performance as Uzaki, and I’ll be keeping an ear out for her in other lead roles (she’s also great in the far-superior Chio’s School Road). Other than that this show was a somewhat marginal-effort Summer time-passer…which will be back for a second season of hanging out!

Season Average: 7.5

Cardcaptor Sakura – 19 – Last of the Summer Swine

Sakura has procrastinated all Summer, and now on August 31 she has to do all of her homework. Thanks to her dad’s weather gizmo she can fill in her diary, while Touya exchanges five chores in exchange for building her birdhouse. Kero-chan offers to do her math homework in exchange for sweet potato sticks from Kumuya, but he doesn’t do it properly so that particular deal is off.

That just leaves her book report, something I myself used to dread for some reason during summer break. While at the library with Tomoyo, Sakura encounters Syaoran trying to use the same study space, but as his daily fortune said he’d have trouble with women today, he soon withdraws.

Turns out Syaoran has the last copy of Piglet Story, the thinnest book on the summer reading list, but it then falls into the hands of the very mischievous Move Clow Card. Sakura, Tomoyo, and Syaoran run all over the library chasing after the book (as quietly as possible), but it always slips away at the last second.

When the book starts to move outdoors, Kero-chan has Sakura close her eyes and concentrate so she can sense the card’s aura and anticipate its next move. The approach works, but Sakura is so occupied locating and sealing the card, she doesn’t realize she’s about to fall into the drink! Syaoran, being a chivalrous lad, grabs her hand, but to much of her momentum is already headed to the water and takes him with her.

That drenching would seem to be the “trouble with women” Syaoran feared, but it’s only the beginning. When he kindly offers Sakura to dry off and change at his place so she can also borrow the piglet book, Syaoran’s relative from Hong Kong, Meiling, makes her first appearance on the show, arriving quite by surprise, and at the worst time for Syaoran.

Characters who were overly violent to the boys they liked were kind of a thing in the 90s (see also Souma Kagura, whose character has eventually evolved in the 2019 reboot) and judging from her reaction to seeing Sakura in the T-shirt she bought for Syaoran, Meiling looks to be one of those types, at least at first. But like Sakura (and Syaoran himself), it’s just fun to see another character just starting out. Not to mention she’s positively stylin’ in those Chinese duds!

Hamefura – 06 – Pax Catarina

As it turns out, there are no negative repercussions resulting from the confrontation with Catarina’s mom. Instead, this episode is all about her Summer Break, split into seven parts and punctuated by the same crude crayon drawing of Cat and her friends. We start with Keith, who seems poised to kiss his half-sister Cat while she’s sleeping under a tree!

Geordo invites Cat out to an intimate day by the lake, but Cat ends up inviting everyone else, including those who consider themselves (and not Geordo) to belong by her side always. This includes Keith, but don’t count out Mary, who wins the Share a Boat with Cat sweepstakes, something she’s very happy about.

Cat goes out on a big shopping trip to town with Sophia for the first time, with Nicole in tow. While the ladies have a lot of fun picking out accessories and books together, Sophia seems to have an ulterior motive: excusing herself so that Cat and Nicole can be alone together.

The Stuarts hold a grand gala recital for Alan, where hordes of fangirls form a mosh pit in front of his piano. After he plays, Mary insists he spend time with his fans, and seems to be worried about Alan “catching on” to something…perhaps her love for Catarina?! Of course, Cat thinks Mary doesn’t like her fiancee being so popular.

It’s basically a continuous string of events in which Catarina is basically new New Maria: everybody loves her and/or wants to be her, they’re all in competition for her time and attention…and she’s oblivious to it all. “Bakarina”, indeed! She’s set things up so nicely for herself, her inner council takes a Summer Break of their own, since there’s no immediate business.

While attempting to do her Summer homework—the night before the first day back to school, of course—Cat has a dream about her life in the real world, discussing Fortune Lover with her friend Acchan. It’s an intriguing look back at a life we’d never seen before, but I wonder what bearing it has on the present, when the game is now her life and has completely changed thanks to her choices.