Wakana is impressed and Marin is in awe of how talented and mature Sajuna’s little sister Shinju is, and how adept and knowledgeable she is about photography. By the same measure, Shinju really comes out of her shell when bombarded with questions about something she loves to do.
Indeed, Shinju resembles a magical girl with her complex flowing locks when she brightens up about how much she loves her sister and the “Juju-sama” identity she created for her. Despite looking the part, Sajuna ironically has no interest in cosplaying herself at the moment, wanting to focus on taking photos of her sister.
Chatting with Sajuna gives Marin and Wakana a lot to think about going forward with their own cosplay photography venture. Wakana in particular really gets loud when he finds out how expensive cameras that don’t even come with lenses can cost, which in turn causes Marin to burst out laughing, since Wakana is so rarely so loud!
The four really hit it off, to the point Sajuna invites Marin and Wakana to join her and Shinju as they scout an abandoned hospital that resembles the place in the anime where Shion does some soul-searching. Marin and Shinju run ahead and have a lively conversation about lighting, but Wakana stays back as he notices Sajuna doesn’t do very well at all in dark, creepy places.
He offers to scout the place for her, worried she’s pushing too hard, but Sajuna tells him straight up she has to do this. She asks him what his dream is for the future, and Wakana has it locked and loaded: the guy who paints the faces of Hina dolls. Sajuna admits it’s a beautiful dream, then tells him hers: to be a magical girl. As she grew older she learned that magical girls were make-believe, but then one day in middle school she discovered one could cosplay as Shion.
She snatched up the pre-made dress in the store, locked herself in her room, and donned the ill-fitting costume with a sloppy wig and no makeup. As Sajuna recalls, it looked awful, but at the same time, she’d never felt happier. Her dream had come true! Then, much later, after she’d been established as a social media cosplay star (thanks to Shiju), she found those photos of Marin in the Shizuku-tan cosplay Wakana made…and she was jealous.
Sajuna surprised herself with this jealousy, but knew she had to find the person who made Marin’s outfit and have them make one for her. Sajuna struggles with the words to describe how she felt, but settles on “love at first sight,”, which not only resonates with Wakana, but takes him back to that very same pivotal moment when he first laid eyes on his gramps’ dolls.
He knew right then and there he wanted to follow in his footsteps. A weeping Wakana takes Sajuna’s hand to thank her, unaware that since she attends an all-girls school and has never held a boy’s hand! Combined with her lingering fear of the abandoned hospital they’re in, she promptly passes out!
I for one was charmed and moved by Sajuna’s story, and loved how it butted up against Wakana’s since both of them can track their passions back to their exact moment of origin. But as much as I’ve come to love the Inui sisters, I was also miffed by the relative lack of Marin-and-Wakana time. Thankfully, the remaining third of the episode is all them, as they go to the beach after school.
It takes a minute for Wakana to realize there’s no practical purpose for going there, nor any reason related to their cosplay venture. Marin just wanted to go to the beach…specifically with the man she wuvs (not that Wakana is aware of that yet).
The two deal with a hawk stealing Marin’s burger, then they share the second one (which technically counts as indirect kisses). Then Marin ditches her socks and wades in the cool water, and when Wakana joins her she learns he’s never been to the beach.
Wakana is happy he came, which is to say he’s happy Marin brought him, since it fulfills his gramps’ wish that he’d get out in the world and observe more to become a better dollmaker. Tickled pink by Wakana’s sentiments and how she helped him experience something for the first time, Marin blurts out that she wants to invite him everywhere this coming summer…just the two of them.
And while I’m not 100% sure Wakana fully understands that heartily agreeing and stating how happy it makes him essentially means he and Marin are going steady now, I’m sure he’ll find out before long. Even if Marin runs away to hide her red blushing face, shocked, surprised, and delighted that she managed to say what she said. We’ve got ourselves some solid forward momentum!