Joukamachi no Dandelion – 04

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This week was highly Akane-centric, but the episode really mixed things up by offering her story from multiple perspectives, starting with her cat Borscht, who through Shiori’s ability we know to consider plastic more fun to chew on than the substandard kibble he’s subjected to. He assumed wrongly that a royal family would serve better grub.

We also watch Akane through the eyes of her admiring best friend Karen, who seems to harbor a girl-crush on her royal friend. Because she knows Akane so well, she’s paralyzed when it comes to how to break it to her that she came to school not wearing a skirt.

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Karen knows no matter how she breaks it to her, Akane is going to die of embarrassment, so that lack of a skirt just hangs there, like a Chekhov’s Lack of a Skirt if you will, waiting for someone else to break it to her. Her classmate, “President” Fukushima, simultaneously points out to his male peers the possibility not only could there be no skirt under Akane’s long sweater, but no underwear as well. He also does nothing to stop the charge of every guy in school once they learn Akane will be climbing some steps.

It’s a little sophomoric, sure, but it’s nicely staged, and the built-up tension works right until Akane assures everyone that no, her skirt ripped so she’s wearing her gym shorts…only to lift up her skirt to reveal nothing but panties. And confirming her true feelings for Akane, Karen’s nose bleeds along with the he lads’.

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With that trauma behind her, the next day Akane learns (from StuCo Veep and older sister Kanade) that the school will participate in a town beautification mission, requiring she go out and be exposed to the world and all its cameras for far longer than she’d like. And yet, she doesn’t want preferential treatment, and is resolved to simply power through it.

That makes Fukushima change his mind about fixing things so Akane doens’t have to leave school grounds. As Kanade herself convinces him, it’s not just good for her to face such things, but he’ll get to see her get embarrassed, which is the cutest thing in the world and one of the reasons Fukushima gets up in the morning. That’s because he’s President, not of the StuCo (as Akane wondered, and goes on a failed wild goose chase to confirm), but of the Akane Fan Club.

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Pivoting the club to respecting her will to endure the clean-up day rather than simply make things easier for her gives Fukushima extra energy and motivation, which Akane is quick to pick up on, wondering if he was always so intense and commanding. When it comes to supporting her as President of a fan club devoted to her, he doesn’t mess about.

Borscht bookends the episode, first by communicating his dissatisfaction with the food (complete with flamenco guitar and a deep, passionate voice), this time he curls up on Akane, but not because she feeds him. No, her flat chest is the perfect balance of rigidity and warmth, reminding him of his bedding when he was a stray. It’s a surface that even Hikari (on a non-magic-related growth spurt, to Akane’s horror) can match.

Knowing a black and white cat who always sleeps on a slight incline, this is exactly the kind of stuff I imagine goes on in their heads.

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Joukamachi no Dandelion – 03

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Joukamachi no Dandelion – 02

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I had suspected it last week, but now I’m certain (after checking): this is, like Re-Kan!, an anime based on a 4-koma manga. The joke-punchline rhythm gives it away. But that also means it moves along nicely.

We get two separate stories this week: the first about the dynamic between Akane (third daughter) and Kanade (second daughter and twin of Shuu) as they walk to school. Akane gloms onto Kanade to avoid the cameras, but when she spots a cat about to get run over, she doesn’t hesitate to spring into Hero Mode, which in turn causes Kana to do the same to save her and the cat.

Kanade can tell her younger sister has what it takes to be king, if only she could get over her devastating shyness; and would likely vote for her if she weren’t in the running herself. I also like that Kanade has to constantly save up to afford her expensive materialization power, e.g. a surprise 40 million to save Akane!

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The second part interestingly doesn’t focus on the point of view of a Sakurada sibling, but one of their admirers, specifically Sato Hana, who has known Shuu since the fourth grade and has developed feelings for him. Hana is elated that Shuu remembers her, and would do anything just to talk or spend time with him.

When she tries to say goodbye to him for the day, she spots him with Akane and, due to Akane’s glomminess and their out-of-context banter, Hana believes they’re lovers, to her dismay.

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But since they’re royalty, the siblings know when they’re being followed, and confront Hana, who unexpectedly comes right out and confesses with Shuu. Coincidentally, Shuu happens to care for her more than any of the other girls due to her simplicity and honesty, but informs her his priority is keeping Kanade from winning (which, mind you, doesn’t necessarily mean winning the election himself!)

Hana says she’ll wait for him until after the election, and Shuu, for his part, promises he’ll return her feelings then. She declines his offer to walk her home (suggested by Akane, acting tough for the couple’s sake) but is delighted to get a glad-you-made-it-home/goodnight call from Shuu later that night. All in all, a cute and brisk little soliloquy.

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