The juniors (Futaba and Hikari) are excited to meet their two senior members of the diving club! Too bad one them is hella mad because the two broke into the club room at the beginning of the year and used the diving suits. How will the juniors apologize to their seniors? Also, what’s this about an Open Water Diving License?
First of all let me just say…THANK GOODNESS I GOT THIS EPISODE. The Muppet faces aren’t as crazy as Episode 2 but they are there and I can feel the heat wave of Scott’s wrath even though we live states apart. There’s sibling abuse wherein an older sister kicks her younger twin brother for laughs, and the nicknames…get a bit outta control (monkey panties girl and half naked track suit bloomers girl…hooo boy…), so Dan and Brendan respectively have probably broken all the furniture in their establishments.
This episode features a nonsensical runaround in its first half which doesn’t amount to a great payoff. Futaba and Hikari learn that they are to meet the sempais of the Diving Club and get all excited. While out on a run they meet up with Team Redhead from Episode 3. It turns out Team Redhead are the sempais and are twin sister and brother Ai and Makoto Ninomiya. Ai is enraged because she learned that the two junior members snuck into the Diving Club room before clubs had actually started and used the equipment. All this leads to a wild chase around the school, Futaba with her track suit pants down, and an huge apology for something that wasn’t that big of a deal to begin with.
I find Ai rather off-putting, as her character design is “Quick to temper girl who kicks her twin brother a lot”. Japan…if the genders were reverse for this scenario you’d have a lawsuit on your hands. Making the girl the violent one doesn’t make it okay or funny….
I don’t want to dwell on the downsides to this episode so let’s dive into the good parts (pun super intended). There’s no actual diving in this episode but there’s beautiful moments for Futaba and a cute/silly sequence in the latter half of the episode that had me smiling. After the “I’m SORRY SEMPAI” fiasco, the gang all sit around to discuss club related activities. They discuss Futaba and how she needs to do some strength training. This is addressed earlier in the episode as well, and I appreciate the show paying attention to these little details about diving and the toll the sport takes on the body.
Most important is the discussion of the Open Water Diving License. This allows a person to dive with a buddy but without an instructor. Futaba immediately states that she wants this and that she wants to go out diving with everyone. This is a huge shift for a character that could do nothing but shake in place and muppet face as she wilted into an anxiety filled puddle. We can see that Futaba is changing in subtle ways, but they aren’t extreme and I love that the show isn’t flat out using neon exposition signs to tell us this. It’s just happening, gradually and naturally, and it feels really satisfying. Good for you girlfriend.
At the end of the episode Hikari and Ai end up in an epic chalk board battle to draw underwater creatures and Futaba eventually colors it all in. The whole sequence is cute and reminded me of the way my friends and I used to goof around in school. It’s hard not to smile and enjoy everyone having fun. Futaba gets a new picture and you can tell she’s making important memories with her time here in high school.
The show remains beautiful with its vivid colors and realistic lighting scheme. Less muppet face/Ai and we’d have a much better show. Until then I’m looking forward to more diving and Futaba friendship action, as those are definitely the show’s strengths.
Two final notes:
(1) Butt cat doesn’t bother me that much. The guys are just silly. They need more chalk battles in their lives. 😛
(2) I love the fact that “clearing the mask of water” is constantly said IN ENGLISH as “Masko Cleee-aar”. Fan-freaking-tastic.