Potte and Kanae snap pictures all over school and town, but still haven’t decided on what to perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Dougou suggests they perform a dance as he plays the guitar, with the photos as a backdrop. They then visit the stage in the middle of the park, which contains one thousand cherry trees, each one planted in honor of someone. Potte and Kou’s mom tells them they have trees too, but they were planted somewhere secret. On the day of the festival Dougou is injured, but Potte and Kanae improvise, singing and dancing to a folk tune, and the crowd responds favorably. After the performance, Kou and Komachi show Potte and the others their trees, which Momoneko helped him locate.
In Bleach, Senbonzakura is the name for Kuchiki Byakuya’s bankai, a devastating cloud composed of millions of tiny petal-like blades. But here, it’s just the name of a cultivation project in Takehara’s public park. (Go figure.) One thousand trees were planted, each in honor of people the planters loved. In the case of Kaoru, Potte, and Kou, they were planted when they were born, and have grown larger and stronger as they did. Those trees are one more discovery that brings Potte closer to her dad, to the point where she even gets to “see through his eyes” by taking a photo of the tree from the same angle he did. The tree changed from photo to photo, but the sky and mountains remained the same.
They’ll be the same long after both Potte and the tree pass away, as well. But until then, Potte wants to return the love her father had for her and the town by making her mark on it as he did, through photography. When her performance hits a snag, President Potte refuses to give up, and she and Kanae put on a show not just to stir up interest in the club, but as thanks for everyone who pitched in with ideas, assistance, and emotional support. They didn’t bring the house down, nor did they perform beyond their abilities, suddenly turning into talented idols. They just hunkered down and did their honest best. We wouldn’t be surprised if they’re rewarded with more prospective members.\
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Potte hands in an application to start a photography club, but is weary of becoming its president, but Kaoru, Norie and Maon encourage her. Komachi shows them a magazine in which a photo of Potte was selected, taken by one Mitane Kanae. At school, Mr. Dougou informs her that her club was approved, and a new teacher, Ms. Shimokamiyama is her adviser. She confirms that Mitane is a third-year at the school and shows Potte to her club room, where Kaoru, Norie, and Maon present her with club-warming gifts. The photo studio owner tells her about the photographer who inspired her dad. Mitane shows up to join Potte’s club.
The new “aggressive” theme of Tamayura continues this week in its characteristically soft and fluffy way, as Potte is nudged by friends (and nudges herself) towards presidency of a photography club, which she is hopeful will help her grow as a photographer and as a person. When she’s confronted with the possibility of a superior photographer at school; someone who was “aggressive” enough to not only enter and win a contest, but do it snapping Potte of all people. How could soft, fluffy Potte possibly compete with that? Well, the answer is, it’s not a competition, and Mitane isn’t necessarily a better photographer, she’s just different.
Like her dad, Potte takes very candid and naturalistic photos that just happen to come out very lovely. But with the steps she takes in this episode, photography is becoming more than just a hobby to connect with and better understand her dad, but a means to discover the person she wants to become. She’s found her passion and she’s going to give it her all, even if the monthly club president meetings are a little scary. They’ll get less scary. When she gets her club and a fresh, empty room, it’s like a blank canvas, full of possibilities. It’s a canvas she never would have seen had she not been “aggressive.”
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Maon was on top of her game this week; first with her stories of captaining an adventure club, helming a fairy, plus her camera-camel thing. She’s an endless font of very random but sweet comedy.
- While it’s clear Komachi wanted Potte to see Mitane’s picture, she also seemed pretty proud of her photo of Potte’s brother Kou, complete with a blurry smear of Norie in the background!
- Shimokamiyama seems to be one of those stereotypical ditzy young teachers. We weren’t that impressed. At least the advisor in Free! has those obscure sayings…
- Proud of their Potte, Kaoru, Norie and Maon’s heartfelt gifts were products of their own passions: scents, sweets, and drawing, respectively.
- All we know about Mitane Kanae at this point is that she’s a third-year and she’s not a bad photographer. It will be interesting to see whether she fits in or clashes with Potte and/or the others. On this show, after so long, a new main character is a pretty big deal.
Hiratsuka tricks Hikigaya in accompanying the rest of the Service Club plus Komachi, Totsuka and the “it-crowd” to serve as summer camp advisors for elementary schoolers. Hikigaya and Yukino notice one of the youngsters, Tsurumi Rumi, is being shunned by the others, and Yukino decides to expand the club’s mission to helping her out.
Hiratsuka Shizuka is, on the surface, your typical “pathetic young bachelorette teacher”, a common sight in school-based anime. She chain-smokes, dreams of being back at college, and the amount of texts she leaves Hikigaya in quick succession may indicate her luck with relationships. But she’s not one note. She’s brought Yukino, Hikigaya, and Yui together in order to try to improve their personalities. In a way, she’s trying to make sure they don’t repeat whatever mistakes she may have made in her youth.
That’s the job of any “elder”, and as this episode makes clear, “elder” is a relative term, and not one that describes an all-knowing entity. No matter how old you get, there is always going to be something you haven’t learned; something you don’t know. This episode was full of people trying to help those younger, while not themselves knowing quite what the answers are. As their teacher tries to get them to get along with the it-crowd, they aim to help Rumi get along with her peers.
This episode was full of a lot of subtle social interactions that really rang true across all levels of life. Rumi doesn’t know quite what happened or why, and is afraid to ask for help because she was once on the other side of the shunning, and feels she doesn’t deserve pity. Whether it’s grade school, high school, or adulthood, “humans are humans.” They can get along and all be happy, but it takes work…work that is never done.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Things between Hikgaya and Yui get awkward, and she stops coming to club. To bring her back into the fold and express gratitude for her help, Yukino suggest they celebrate Yui’s birthday. Hikigaya and Komachi go shopping with Yukino, but Komachi ditches them and Yukino’s sister gets the wrong idea. Yui is also at the mall and her dog comes off his leash. The dog goes to Hikigaya, and Yui sees him with Yukino and also gets the wrong idea. When she comes to club as requested, Yui finds out the real reason they were at the mall, and Yukino helps mend the friendship between Yui and Hikigaya.
High school is one of those crucibles where lifelong friendships and even marriages are formed. It’s where children start to become adults and form more complex relationships. That’s not to say the relationships are simply formed and remain static throughout; they go through phases. Hikigaya and Yui experience just such a phase change this week, as both of them entered their relationship with very different ideas about what it was. Yui can’t put it into words exactly what went wrong, but that’s what Yukino’s for: mutual misunderstanding led to the awkwardness, so she suggests a fresh start. In this new phase, Hikigaya is aware that Yui’s not just being nice out of guilt or pity, and Yui is aware that Hikigaya wasn’t trying to help her.
Thus the beginning of their friendship has ended and a new phase begins. Just as so many people mistook Hikigaya and Yukino for a couple (and we’re sure deep down they actually wouldn’t mind that), Hikigaya and Yui mistook the nature of their relationship. Yui genuinely wants to be Hikigaya’s friend regardless of debts or pretense, which should satisfy Hikigaya’s refusal to be pitied or patronized. And now, in spite of his antisocial ideals, Hikigaya now has two friends who want to be his friends, even if one didn’t make it immediately clear and the other outright refuses to.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Yukino has a big sister that everyone believes to be perfect and amazing, and she doesn’t even deny it. Still, Hikigaya thinks it’s all just an act. Just because he was wrong about Yui doesn’t mean he’s wrong about this. He prefers the tactless Yukino.
- We’ve never seen two people strain so hard to give the impression they aren’t enjoying their date, even if its a “fake” one.
- We welcome Yukino’s twin tails.
- Yui needs to control that damn dog.
Hachiman’s sister Komachi comes to him with a new mission for the service club: Kawasaki Saki’s little brother Taishi is worried about her staying out late all night. Her attitude has deteriorated to the point she’s labeled as a delinquent at school. Yukino, Saika and Yui’s attempts to try to get through to her fail. When they recieve a clue and find her at her late-night job tending bar, a job for which she faked her age.
Meeting up after her shift, Hachiman figures out that she’s doing it to pay for college prep courses and doesn’t want to be a burden to her family, but Taishi doesn’t want to be a burden to her either. Komachi recognizes Yui as the girl whose dog Hachiman saved. The next day Hachiman tells Yui to stop being nice to him if she’s doing it out of guilt, or just to be nice.
While episodes thus far including this one have been episodic in nature, focusing on the club’s mission of the week, it nevertheless has never neglected the development of Hachiman, Yui, or Yukino’s characters. Their experiences reveal more about who they are and what they’re made of. So far, Hachiman is the only one whose mind we can read, so we also get his analysis as he learns about Yui and Yukino in tandem with us. We liked the Kawasaki Saki mission, and how she turned out to be less of a bad girl than everyone thought, but as that investigation unfolded, something unexpected happened.
Komachi, the go-between for the mission, gave Yui a funny look, and tells the previously unaware Hachiman that she’s the owner of the dog whose life he saved. We hear his thoughts tell us Yui is merely being nice out of guilt or obligation, but that’s just Hachiman’s view, informed by his experiences being hurt by girls. He’s not necessarily right, and in any case, he hurts Yui with the accusation. We’ll see if he doubles down on his rejection of what he sees as her “hollow niceness”, or if he can get past his prejudice and open his heart to someone. In any case, it’s a great development that lends momentum to the narrative.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Komachi was far more bearable this week.
- Yukino’s a rich girl with many dresses and tries talking to cats when she thinks she’s alone. She also still won’t call Hachiman a friend, nor does she pay for his drink at the bar.
- Con: they couldn’t resist putting Saika in a maid’s outfit, though mercifully it didn’t happen in real life, only in Yoshi’s mind.
- Pro: Yukino and Yui do dress as maids in real life, though we’re not sure why.
- Also Pro: Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui look pretty boss in their eveningwear.
- Apparently minors in Japan can’t work past 22:00.
- Wacnordo, eh?
- Hachiman’s final line is great: Yukino is the harsh mistress (the truth) while Yui is the nice girl (a lie). At least that’s how he sees it…the jury’s still out whether he’s correct about either.