Oh, they finally decided to actually do something with this, huh?
Genre: Slice of Life, Supernatural
Once again we open the episode on ten-or-so minutes of fluff. The story’s fairly unimportant and is basically just there to be amusing. But much like some of the previous ones, it is reasonably entertaining. Satsuki accidentally takes some medicine that winds up shrinking her to about the size of a mouse. So now they have to wait for a medicine man to whip her up a cure for that condition. What follows is a bit of time wherein she has to ride around on Yuzu’s shoulder and continue on with their daily routine by having Yuzu do her work for her.
This affords Satsuki the opportunity to see Yuzu “from a different angle,” as she puts it. Does this yield anything particularly new? Well… yes, and no. I can’t really tell. I’d love to be able to say that the this teaches Satsuki a lesson in perspective. It’d actually be something almost hauntingly similar to the most recent episode of Blood Blockade, and the lesson that Riel learns in the end. But that was more a lesson reflecting the idea of “It’s lonely at the top.” Satsuki never struggled with that.
What we do get out of it is her recognizing, perhaps for the first time, how much Yuzu has “grown.” But as I’ve pointed out several times by now, she really hasn’t grown a terrible lot. She’s been more or less entirely the same from jump, at least as it concerns how good an attendant she is. We scarcely saw her struggle with it at all, aside from her klutziness, which the episode points out she hasn’t overcome. Thus the nature of Yuzu’s growth continues to be little more than informed.
That said, the episode isn’t entirely helped by Yuzu’s rather emotional response to the situation when even Satsuki doesn’t seem particularly bothered. Everyone’s fairly certain they’ll get the matter solved (and they do). Thus her getting down on herself over the matter, at least to the extent that she does, feels a bit left-fieldy. Which isn’t to say I think it’s unreasonable for Yuzu to at least partially blame herself. She knew where the medicine was and didn’t think to warn Satsuki about it. I can totally understand her feeling responsible. I just think the extent of the response was a bit out of place. I understand they’re essentially just trying to build the relationship between them. But it just comes across as a little forced, is all.
The segment closes out and, once again, Kiri. Just… if you watch this show for nothing else (even I’m barely hanging onto it), do it for Kiri. She’s amazing.
Following that segment, we’re introduced to the core of the episode. Satsuki’s sister, Hiiragi, stops by for a visit with another one of the shrine priestess, Ayame. Ayame… is the second best thing about this episode, but I digress. Kiri puts Satsuki in charge of attending to Hiiragi, because, as we’ve cleared already, Kiri is the devil.
Hiiragi is surprisingly not what one might expect. She’s sort of a fun-loving tomboyish character. She’s loud, energetic, and as antagonistic as she is toward Satsuki, it actually comes from a place of playfulness. She’s not being spiteful. At least not willfully. She’s actually pretty nice in her own way. Though she can also be a little rude, and it’s evident she’s… a bit of a flirt. She remarks on Yuzu’s plainness and even tries to seduce Ren, which… well…
What we get out of this segment is actually a genuinely nice bit of establishment around the relationship between Satsuki and her sister. In previous episodes, it was only teased to us at best. Ren even jumps to the conclusion of “sibling drama” between them, at one point. But it turns out to be something refreshingly different. It’s not a matter of one sibling getting something based on raw talent that the other sibling couldn’t duplicate. Not really. But that’s how it’s being perceived. Really the very idea of “winning” is challenged in its entirety. Yes, in order for there to be a winner, there must be a loser. But there can be no winner if all involved parties lose.
The dynamic between them is, on its surface, nothing more than a responsible sibling and a flighty one. But I found it refreshing that their circumstances didn’t actually breed any bad blood between them. In fact, if anything they seem to just admire one another even more. Yeah, there’s a bit of jealousy involved, but it doesn’t make them bitter.
This is all accented by Yuzu’s involvement in the story, which may actually be the first time she genuinely struggles with anything. She wants to help, but also acknowledges that helping in this situation may clash with her own desires. And when she does finally do something about it, she worries that she read the situation incorrectly… which she ultimately did, inadvertently causing Satsuki (and herself, due to what I can only assume is her superhuman empathy) more pain. She was actually wrong for once. It ultimately worked out in the end, yes, but this is still the first moment in the entire series that comes across as one of growth for her.
Overall, this was a marked improvement for Yuzu as a character. It turned her seemingly compulsive need to help into an actual fault for once. And it showcased a moment of genuine confliction for her, as she struggled with the very idea of losing something she treasured. Even when she does wind up making the decision one would assume is selfless, it doesn’t exactly yield the expected, and likely wanted result. Moments like these are the ones that help a character grow. At least in a series like this.
I don’t really expect that the rest of the season is going to continue the trend, though there aren’t many episodes left. But I’d certainly go as far as to call this episode Easy Viewing for the most part, with a hint of Junk Food in there if only for Kiri, and one or two of Ayame’s scenes. But if this show’s just not doing it for you, maybe you’ll be more interested in something with more consistent character development. We’ve probably got a recap or two for you. Feel free to check those out…
Of course, if you’re still liking the breezy, relaxing style of this one, then Konohana Kitan Simulcasts on Crunchyroll, Wednesdays at 8:00am EST.
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