As the episode begins, Hitomi lets the audience know that her ability to see colors is gone once again. Meanwhile, the club goes on a one-day summer training camp. Chigusa’s usual teasing of Kurumi isn’t getting the same snappy comebacks, however, as it turns out she’s feeling down about her future and lack of passion. Hitomi offers an ear and listens to her troubles, while Chigusa eavesdrops. Eventually, he offers Kurumi some advice to cheer her up.
This episode is a perfect showcase of the show’s approach to its plot. Nothing really happens – the characters go camping, eat some food, and take some pictures – but there’s a lot of movement at the interpersonal dramatic level. The lack of anything “physical” to focus on means that the characters are thrown into much sharper focus. It’s an effective technique for getting the viewer to focus on what the show wants them to.
For me, the big star of this episode isn’t Kurumi, but Hitomi. It starts with my personal pet peeve from Episode 3, the heaviness of objects in the distant past of 2018 and Hitomi’s complaints about them.
It’s a little moment, but it means a lot in the context of the show. Before I could even recover from this, though, it was time for an even greater surprise.
For the first time, really, Hitomi shows legitimate concern and interest in another person’s problems. She may not know what to say or do to really help, but the fact that she noticed and wants to help is a seismic shift. It’s real character development, and very welcome.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really say the same for the ostensible focus of the episode, Kurumi and her lack of passion and direction.
Unlike Asagi and Sho, whose mild relationship troubles have been on subtle display since the show began, Kurumi’s problem seems to come out of nowhere, and is more or less resolved just as quickly. She’s feeling down, she tells her friends about it, and one of them offers her (some pretty trite-sounding) advice that seems to solve it.
The fact that this advice is offered while the characters are dashing at top speed to try and photograph a passing boat is even weirder. The show has proven it doesn’t need action or do-or-die situations to show good drama, but this scene gets the full Hollywood treatment, with characters running, an inspirational speech, and a swelling soundtrack. It feels forced and a bit cheap.
Leaving aside that relatively minor complaint, the show also gives us another glimpse at what magic can do.
Kohaku takes some sand from the beach and puts it in a dated vial, capturing the day’s memories. As she said it, I found myself wanting this magic more than any other in the show thus far – a way to be transported back to a specific day of good memories and relive them. I don’t think I’ve seen magic in anime used for such soft, creative ideas, but I’m really liking this take on it.
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