Manabi Straight! – 05
When Manabi comes down with the mumps and has to miss a week of school, Mikan and Mei are left to take care of the student council responsibilities. However, the two girls aren’t very close, and although Mikan wants to talk with Mei, she doesn’t get to as the day passes her by. When Mikan calls Mucchii over the phone to whine, Mucchii suggests getting Momo to help, but that doesn’t help at all because Momo just stands around the room while she’s there. Mikan eventually gets bumped into by a guy checking his phone messages and that inspires her to write a letter to Mei since she can’t verbalize her desire to become friends. It just so happens, however, that Mikan runs into Mei at the store as she’s about to buy the materials to write a letter. Mikan ends up claiming that she’s writing a letter to Manabi, and when she goes home that night, she never gets past writing Mei’s name on the top of the paper.
The next morning, Mikan’s mother shows her a letter with no postmark that, to Mikan’s surprise, is from Mei. In it, Mei writes that Mucchii advised her to write a letter. She knows that she’s not good with talking to people, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want friends. Mei sees Mikan as a kind and cheerful person, and she hopes that they can work their hardest together in the student government. Mikan rushes to school after reading all this and goes straight to see Mei. With the two girls having broken the ice between them, their next challenge comes in the form of the theme for the festival. From what Shimojima tells them, Mei deduces that the teachers who dislike Manabi’s way of doing things need to approve the theme first. After Shimojima leaves, Mikan tells Mei that the two of them can work hard to think of a theme together.
Although initially unsuccessful, the two spend the next several days working hard on the theme. On the night of the deadline, the two girls sneak into school and use the home economics room to cook dinner for themselves. After eating, Mikan gets Mei to lie down on the grassy roof with her, and when she does so, Mei finds herself looking at a clear night sky with a full moon. The two girls then hold hands as they close their eyes under the starry night. The next morning, Manabi returns to school and heads straight for the student council room where Mei and Mikan are asleep together on the couch. On the table is a set of official documents detailing the festival plans, and Manabi loves what she reads. As Mikan explains, she and Mei became friends through all of this, so they decided on a festival theme based on that: From Friends to Close Friends.
Given her past successes, I would have thought Manabi would be the one who came up with the festival theme, but given that she came down with the mumps (a scary sight), Mei and Mikan had to do it. I could really identify with how the two were on the same team, but didn’t really know each other except through Manabi. Seeing them become friends was almost heart-warming, and I really liked how it developed into the festival theme.
On a side note, Hirano Aya speaking English wasn’t great, but it wasn’t that bad either. I think she was talking about a spear…?