“The Tsunade Islands Incident”
Aki is planning a trip to her family’s island resort and ends up being forced to invite her classmates. Warned by Yoshino that he needs to make a move on Aki quickly, Masamune plans to ‘save’ her during a test of courage, but her father’s secretary has a different idea in mind.
Despite the obligatory beach episode that manages to infiltrate every slice of life series, there were a few small details disclosed. A flashback involving Aki and Midori, Aki’s father’s secretary introduced this week, suggests that Makabe may not fully understand the events that led to the nickname “Pig’s Foot.” If viewers recall from the premiere episode, this rejection spurred his desire for self-improvement and revenge. Similarly, Aki’s contempt for the male species appears to be connected to this incident as well. This leads me to believe both share a disconnect surrounding what took place that day. Since there are plenty of possibilities as to who might have been involved with this misunderstanding (Yoshino, Neko, Yoshino’s older sister, etc.), any conclusion drawn at this point would be purely speculative. Viewers will no doubt be kept in the dark about what took place until the final episode.
Aside from these new details, the remainder of the episode seemed pointless. I’m still debating how significant Midori Yuisaki will be to the overall story. If she was introduced in this episode as a vehicle to disclose the information above (and offer additional eye candy), then any other series of flashbacks could have fulfilled that purpose. The emphasis on Midori, her position in the family, and time taken to semi-develop her character meant less screen time for the rest of the cast. The plot could have been forwarded much more this episode if the effort hadn’t been made to introduce a new character this late in the series. As I stated before, perhaps her character is more significant to the narrative then viewers realize but I have my doubts.
– Aki’s behavior seems less heartless given that she may have misunderstood Makabe’s true feelings.
– Introducing a new character this late in the series demands time that could better be served on furthering the plot.
Masamune never made itself out to seem very original, at least in terms of execution, so when even the OP hints at a beach episode you shouldn’t be surprised to eventually see one. Though the cliché train keeps rolling, not very much beach stuff is featured in this episode aside from the episode taking plenty of opportunities to show Aki and the others off.
The setup itself is rather contrived in the way Aki is tricked into inviting everyone. While she could have quietly gone off to her vacation, ignoring Masamune’s invitation to go to Okinawa, her inability to resist slighting him backfired when inviting Kojuurou led to the hapless boy to refuse to go anywhere without Masamune. The whole scene is rather comedic though, if only because of how easily the four of them team up against Aki. The episode on the whole is rather funny once you get past the obvious fanservice.
The inclusion of Midori does little more than add some backstory for Aki, but the revelation is an important one. Aki’s hatred of men, which is fetishized by Midori for some reason I can’t quite understand, may have been Masamune’s fault to begin with. Aside from this crucial flashback, Midori’s contribution is summed up by pointing Masamune toward the idea to endear himself to Aki during the test of courage, and completely flubbing her effort to make the plan backfire on Masamune. If we never see her again after this episode, I doubt you’ll be missing out.
One of the most telling parts of this episode was Masamune once again going against his best interests in order to do something nice. His reaction to seeing Midori struck with terror in the haunted house and subsequently knock herself out was to abandon his plan and help her instead. Even with Yoshino threatening to tell Aki everything if he doesn’t get her to like him, Masamune can’t seem to help but do the right thing as he confesses his plan to Midori in apology for what happened to her.
Despite all this, the episode feels like it doesn’t make much headway. Time spent on Midori was time not spent on Neko or the others who haven’t yet been fully explored. With Masamune no closer in his revenge plot either, holding out on key revelations, like the one with Aki’s past, much longer are going to really hurt the series.
– The revelation that Aki was hurt by Masamune in their youth was surprising.
– Cliché beach episode is cliché
– They spend almost a whole episode on a brand new character. The wisdom of doing so at this point is dubious.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party