We're very nearly at the halfway point (for this cour, at least), since after checking I found it has thirteen episodes, not twelve. I actually checked what point of the manga we were on, and with this episode, we've just reached the end of chapter eight out of twenty-two, so we're a little behind, unless they manage to do three whole chapters in the next episode, which seems unlikely.
Incidentally, I also realised that Suwa's voice actor is the dude who played Daigo in Kyoryuger. I kind of hated Kyoryuger, but he's doing a good job here, so that's nice.
In this week's episode, the Azalea Festival continues, as Naho and Kakeru plan to go see the fireworks together by the pool. Their plans are almost derailed, however, when Ueda, still bitter over Kakeru's rejection, conspires to keep Naho away from the pool. With Azu and Chino's help, however, she makes it there for the last of the fireworks. In the days following, the gang set Naho and Kakeru up on a date, which goes wrong when Naho pushes to find out about Kakeru's mother - and discovers that he blames himself for her death.
|Fireworks are pretty.|
Okay, first of all, my god, Ueda gets more and more moustache-twirling vaudeville villain every single episode. It was hilarious last week, but it's actually starting to get a little tiresome now, as it increasingly seems like her's and her friends' lives revolve around making Naho miserable and/or making her break up with Kakeru. Like, I know that Ueda is meant to be the most popular girl in school, but really, neither of her friends have any qualms about these increasingly convoluted plans to wreak havoc on the life of a second-year? Even the bullies at my school usually stopped short of going after people in the year below.
We also get a bunch of plot developments this episode. For starters, Naho finds out that Kakeru commits suicide - she reads forward in the letter, which apparently she hadn't done before this (I have no idea why, that seems to make no sense - if she had, she probably wouldn't have invited Kakeru out on their first day, since she'd somewhat know the consequences of doing so. Actually, future Naho, why didn't you explain the suicide thing at the beginning?), which of course has completely changed how she views the events happening around her, the contents of the letter, and her relationship with Kakeru.
This would, of course, had made the last five episodes much less frustrating had she already known, but never mind.
|Also, this episode has some great shots in it, especially in their use of colour.|
We also get it spelled out pretty clearly for us one of the major reasons why Kakeru commits suicide: He is wracked with guilt over his mother's suicide, since he knew she was depressed and more than a little unstable, and she had told him she needed him to go to the hospital with her - but he hadn't expected that telling her he couldn't make it and going out with his friends would lead to her killing herself.
It seems like we're meant to see this as a situation with some shades of grey, in which Kakeru has made a mistake with unforeseen consequences, like the mistakes Naho has made, but there aren't really any shades of grey here. A sixteen or seventeen year old can't be held responsible for their parents' actions, even if that parent is ill -- and this goes doubly since we know that Kakeru has a grandmother in the area who should have been filling that support role instead.
(I'm a little grouchy, since I've seen a few people going 'So, Kakeru was responsible for his mother's death,' when he clearly wasn't.)
|Naho also has very nice hair in this episode, so there's that.|
We also discover that Suwa did get his own letter. I called it, but then, I'm pretty sure everyone called that one. Naho is probably the only person who's even remotely surprised by it. It looks like Suwa also read forward to the end of the letter, although we have no idea when he did that. If he did that before inviting Kakeru out (since, you know, they all did, not just Naho), then that was a major lapse of judgement on his part.
Apart from that, I'm running out of things to say about this series, a little. It's all very warm and fuzzy slice-of-life stuff, and it's nicely animated, and while the pacing is glacial at times, it's a pretty good series so far. Currently, I'm speculating that Azu, Chino, and Hagita have all gotten letters as well, since all three of them are being very active in getting Kakeru and Naho together.
(Which seems a little odd, since -- I mean, Kakeru didn't commit suicide because him and Naho weren't going out, as far as we can tell.)
Anyway, this was a pretty good episode, and heading into the latter half of the series I'm kind of expecting the pace to speed up, and for some of the manga to maybe be trimmed away to make it all go a little bit quicker.