Manabi Straight! – 07
On August 31st, 2035 – the last day of summer vacation – a very tan Momo comes to the student council room where everyone else is hard at work. Having just gotten back from Hawaii, Momo has brought a box of Macadamia chocolates, but no one seems to care. She does manage to get their attention with some cell phone straps, but no one looks her way again when she brings out the beach videos. Mikan remembers that at the first term closing ceremony before summer vacation started, Manabi had announced that when the students returned in one month on September 1st, the school website would be updated with information about pre-festival events, a new game, and it would mark the beginning of student participation. Mei had initially felt that one month was enough time, but she’s now screaming because it’s not, and she takes her frustration out on a sleeping Mucchii by repeated slapping her. Manabi isn’t faring so well either as evidenced by the fact that she suddenly suggests that they need to remodel the room in order for everything to work out well. When Mucchii tries to calm her down, Manabi starts punching Mucchii as she repeats her Massugu Go motto. Mei goes over supposedly to help the situation, but she ends up slapping Mucchii again to get her to wake up (despite the fact that Mucchii is already awake).
After seeing that Manabi and Mei have seemingly lost it while Mucchii tries to control them and Momo is no help, Mikan starts to bawl. The sound of her crying stops everything else in the room, and they slowly return to work. With everyone back to normal, Mikan suddenly tells the group that they’ve forgotten something important. She then tries to talk about summer vacation, but the girls keep yelling to interrupt her before she can finish her sentence. Everyone except for Momo then heads outside to lie down on the grass for a little rest. When Mikan falls asleep, she dreams that she’s alone somewhere with a suitcase and sees the other four crossing over some train tracks. She tries to chase after them, but she trips right as a train roars by in front of her. When she gets back up, Mikan finds herself alone in the old and messy version of the student council room. She wanders around the entire school and can’t find anyone else there until she goes outside and she sees everyone waiting for her. Mikan looks so happy while she’s dreaming that Mucchii, Manabi, and Mei decide to let her sleep like this while they go back inside.
Sometime later that day, Kakuzawa Takako is on her way to Seiou via bus when she overhears a pair of girls talking about how nice it is to be a working member of society instead of being in school. By chance, Takako runs into Mikan at the convenience store looking at fireworks. Takako admires what they’ve all done for the festival, but she specifically wants to speak with Manabi. As the two student council presidents go around the school, Manabi talks about all the plans and where everything will be placed for the festival. Takako is surprised that Manabi seems to have everything memorized, but Manabi explains that she can see it. Though she initially doesn’t know what Manabi means, Takako starts to understand when she looks into Manabi’s eyes and sees the reflection of the crowds who will be there during the festival. To Takako’s surprise, Manabi thanks her for lighting the fire for them – every day now is fun because of her. Takako, however, remembers the conversation she had with the school board of directors chairwoman earlier that day where she had learned that Seiou and Aikou would be merging because of the decline of student numbers. They’re still unsure if they’re going to be keeping or changing the Seiou name, but more importantly, they’re considering suspending the school festival because they feel that it has no meaning.
With all the young people who are leaving school for more enjoyable things, the chairwoman had challenged Takako to say what the meaning was of a festival that was only for fun for the students who chose to stay in school. Now, as she watches Manabi and company work into the evening, Takako suddenly asks why they put all their effort into this. Manabi suggests that it’s because it would make them happy to see everyone else delighted at the preparations that they’ve made. Takako then takes her leave, but she doesn’t board the bus at the bus stop. Instead, she sits there thinking about how she couldn’t see what Manabi saw and how there are only things that they as students can do. With this answer in mind, she calls up the chairwoman. That night, Manabi, Mikan, Mucchii, Mei, and Momo head out by the pool to play with fireworks on this last day before summer vacation is over. With all the fun they’re having, Mikan feels that she’s somehow continuing to see that dream. However, she knows that this isn’t a dream because it’ll continue for a long time and thinking about it makes her quite happy.
This episode started out feeling really random with the way the girls were going crazy and how they kept cutting to the softball team training. However, the second half with Takako indicates that a major obstacle to this festival is developing. I suspect that Manabi will end up having to give another one of her speeches to make the chairwoman or whoever else understand the importance of having this festival. Speaking of which, although Manabi didn’t really give a speech this episode, I really liked the scene where Takako sees the reflection of Manabi’s vision in her eyes and how they showed the slowing of time with the water dripping and the bat hitting the softball. I think of it as another example of the production team using the right visual effects with the right music and sounds.