Cardcaptor Sakura – 18 – Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

After a trippy dream sequence in which Sakura is surrounded by glowing orbs, Sakura is abruptly awakened by Kero-chan, who is curious what she was dreaming about, since a Cardcaptor’s dreams may be premonitions. Unfortunately, she was so startled by Kero-chan waking her up, she can’t remember much!

Kero is also curious as to whether she’s completed her summer homework, as vacation drawing down. Sakura dodges the question by focusing on her dinner duties, but makes sure to stop by Yukito’s on the way home from the grocery store in case he’s home.

As fortune would have it, he is, and he serves her some tea and sweets, totally making her day in the process. While she’s on cloud nine crushing on him, it’s clear Yukito’s many gestures of kindness come from his essential nature; he treats her the way he does because he’s a nice guy…not because he “likes” her romantically. Still, a girl can dream…

With his grandparents traveling, Sakura is worried Yukito is lonely, so when he offers to walk her home (he has something to return to Touya anyway), the Kinomoto siblings invite him to join them for a delicious repast of okonomiyaki. When Touya hears Sakura is attening the summer shrine festival later that evening, he volunteers to tag along, and Touya follows suit.

When they arrive, Sakura resplendent in her sakura-patterend kimono made by her dad (his skill with needle and thread explains a lot of Sakura’s sharp everyday outfits), Tomoyo derives the most fun not by participating in the various festival games, but by recording Sakura having fun. It’s something Sakura’s never been super-comfortable with, but she respects Tomoyo’s wishes.

Also attending the festival are Chiharu and Yamazaki, who we’d already learned were childhood friends, but appear more like boyfriend and girlfriend here. Even when the former is choking the latter out for his elaborate lies about the history of things, it’s clear to Sakura and Tomoyo that the two make a good pair.

Syaoran is also there acing the shooting game, and when he spots Yukito he immediately hands him all of his edible prizes. When both Yukito and Sakura agree that a stuffed rabbit is cute, Touya and Syaoran engage in a heated competition at the ring toss. This allows Sakura to slip away to spend time alone with Yukito.

As they end up in a secluded spot and fireflies start amassing, Sakura deems it a good time to at least attempt to confess her feelings to Yukito. She’s interrupted by Touya and Syaoran—both of them having won rabbits for the two others—and I’m kinda glad she was, as she would have almost certainly had her heart broken by Yukito’s rejection, no matter how much he’d have tried to soften the blow.

Instead, Sakura get to exist in that lovely heady limbo where any answer might’ve been possible, but due to circumstances she couldn’t come out and say anything this time. Furthermore, she comes to recognize the fireflies as the same phenomenon from her dream, meaning Kero-chan was right about her seeing the future.

In a card-sealing that requires no confrontation or fighting whatsoever, Sakura gains the Glow card. Instead of being rejected by Yukito, she had a wonderful day and night. Now, on to that summer homework!

Grand Blue – 04 – Trying Hard in a Bad Way

There’s no diving in the ocean this week, but Chisa, Iori and Kohei all “dive into” a new experience: being on stage, in front of hundreds if not thousands of spectators. But first, they help man the Okonomiyaki stall at the Izu Spring Festival.

While on a break, Iori fails to clear up Asuza’s misunderstanding about him being bi, but only when Asuza tells him how nice it is to have someone else to talk to about it. This is how you know beneath all the drunken boorishness Iori has a good heart: while the truth is always better, it also hurts, and he doesn’t want to hurt a friend if he doesn’t have to.

However, he does want to talk about it with Chisa, so on the next break the two are left alone, and I love how they work the griddle like a single highly-polished unit, dazzling the customers—but they don’t notice how skilled they’re being! Unfortunately, not much comes of the talk; Chisa assumes Iori is nervous because Asuza is so pretty, not because Asuza thinks he’s bi.

Asuza and her sister also insist she wear something more appropriate than her regular street clothes for the 4PM women’s pageant. Iori knows Chisa well, and so knows when Chisa is nervous. She stiffens up, and her aura and responses initially come off as cold and curt. They want to help her, but he and dating-sim expert Kohei only have bad ideas that make things worse.

When they try to make her smiling by smiling at her, but their grins come off as creepy and off-putting. Ditto posing shirtless as a club and raising a banner professing their love for her.

Finally they agree to throw a bunch of bouncy balls on the stage that will flip her skirt up and show her bashful side. They get it, but it’s bashfulness cut with seething rage. Iori knows he went too far, and only went as far as he did because he thought everyone would do it.

While Iori is hiding from Chisa’s wrath with Kohei, the latter is pounced upon by another woman who was part of the pageant; one with makeup so thick they use the nickname “cakey” on her. She asks Kohei out; Kohei hesitates and she storms off.

They go to the drinking party hosted by the rugby club. Chisa initially forgave Iori for the upskirt incident, but when he mentions how he’ll buy her sexier underwear, he’s back on her shitlist, and she intends to make him suffer with two liters of shochu.

While getting some air, Iori and Kohei again encounter Cakey, whose real name is Yoshiwara Aina. She’s deep into her own cups, and proves a very…emotive drunk. But she also provides the lads with a clearer picture of her deal; she was accepted into the tennis club of beautiful people, but basically only so they could laugh at her, and when they got bored, they told her she could leave.

Iori and Kohei decide to use the pageant as a means to not only raise Aina’s spirits, but to give the cocky blue-haired tennis captain a dose of his own medicine. And yet by getting swept up in this new mission, they forget about Chisa.

Kohei sets a trap by confessing to Asuza on stage; the captain does the same, only for the lads to reveal “Asuza” was really Iori in disguise. In other words, they balance the distribution of laughter, disproving her belief it was eternally directed at her.

All’s well that ends well, as Iori and Kohei may well have made a new friend who is grateful for what they did for her…but the partying that follows leaves the lads horrendous wrecks, unable to protect the winner of the women’s pageant—Chisa—from another round of advances from guys, which she hates more than anything.

Up to this point, I had felt like Chisa was too often being defined through Iori, as Iori’s love interest. But Asuza makes clear to the other guys why exactly Chisa is upset: Iori and Kohei worked hard, but for the other girl, not her. In a rare instance of seeking/expecting protection from them, they let her down.

And so just as the tennis captain got his comeuppance, so must Iori. Upon receiving her award for winning the pageant, Chisa delcares to all assembled that she’s off the market: Iori is her boyfriend. Iori can’t protest, because he’s passed out.

In effect, Chisa has made delicious lemonade with the lemons she was dealt: Iori will repel other guys for her. He’ll be her shield. Considering how popular the pageant made Chisa with the guys, it won’t be an easy job; Iori may well prefer the tranquility of the ocean floor!

Tamayura: More Aggressive – 09

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As the town prepares bamboo lanterns for the annual Walk of Longing, a high school friend of Potte’s father, Natsume Nozomu, pays a long put-off visit. He doesn’t mince words while criticizing Potte’s work. When she and Kanae bump into Shihomi while snapping pictures, she tells them she’s also endured her share of criticism, and encourages her to keep cultivating her love for photography. Potte, Kanae and the others have okonomiyaki at Hoboro’s with Nozomu. Later he tells Potte a little about what her dad was like in high school, and is glad he visited, and lets her take a parting photo of him.

This week is an interesting new exercise in subjecting Potte to perhaps the prickliest person she’s had to deal with all season, someone immune to her charms and seems determined to pop her pleasant little bubble, and Kanae’s along with it. He says what some of us may have been thinking all along: all she does is impulsively point and shoot at things, keeping her subjects right in the center, just like her dad. As a guy who has no qualms about dispensing with pleasantries and picking on his dead mate’s daughter, having missed his wedding, her birth, and his funeral. He also stopped taking photos, even though he was the one who inspired her dad in the first place.

So this guy’s just a pompous dick, right? Well, fortunately, the more we see him interact with Takehara and Potte, the more he softens and becomes (slightly) more likable. His other mate Hinomaru knows the sourpuss is just a front. Kanae talks a lot about how Potte’s heart races when taking photos, which leads to the hearts of the people who see them also racing, as if catching a wave. Nozomu admits that while Potte’s dad’s (and her) photos aren’t the most technically adventurous, he admits that they’re all “overflowing with love.” Enough that they, along with a nostalgic taste of okonomiyaki and a wistful tour of the Walk of Longing, touch his heart.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)