What JnD lacks in narrative depth, it makes up for in sheer quantity and variety of stories. This week, we get three of them, starting with an exploration of Sakurada Hikari’s power, which allows her to change her age and the age of others. She wants to be more popular (she’s fifth in the polls) so she tries to do a good deed by saving a cat from a tree.
To do so, she has to age herself up, and while she cuts a fine figure as an adult, her clothes remain the same size, and in any case, because she was with Akane, she wasn’t close enough to any cameras for the deed to make any difference in the next poll. Her need to age Akane down so they can swap clothes nets us the national treasure that is Mini-Akane.
The middle story is about the two youngest Sakuradas, Prince Teru and Princess Shiori. Teru has super-strength but often lacks common sense, but his younger sister assists him on their first shopping trip alone with both her ample stores of common sense beyond her years, and the ability to talk not only to dogs, but misplaced shopping lists!
I also like the callback to the first story, with and aged-up Hikari and anged-down Akane in disguise looking out for their younger siblings…and of course the running gag of Akane always drawing the grocery shopping lot. I can take or leave the shonen-y Teru, but I dug Shiori, who successfully toes the line between responsible young lady and endearing little kid.
The episode is rounded out by another Hikari story: this time, she wants to become an idol. Only problem is, she’s too young, so she ages herself up. But, like Teru, she often doesn’t sweat the details, like the fact she has to show ID and ends up revealing her identity. She also shows poor judgment by being lured to a studio by a male stranger, though to be fair he had no way of knowing she was only eleven.
In this segment Haruka decides to serves as Hikari’s coach, and after she’s scouted and her identity revealed, the scouts make a plea to the king, who agrees to let her become an idol. She gets on TV, but in her aged-up form, and with an alias that hides her royalty, defeating the original purpose of becoming an idol—to gain popularity and rise in the polls.
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the often ultra-cloying performances of Ogura Yui, but her voice is at least more tolerable when Hikari is aged up.