Yamada Tarou Monogatari – 05
When the results for final exams are released, Tarou and Takuya once again sit at the top of the list with perfect scores. However, it is because of this that his teacher Torii is puzzled why he would write down that he intends to find employment instead of going to college. Even when he repeatedly tells her that it’s due to his family being poor, she still doesn’t believe him. As it turns out, there’s a lot of work for Tarou to do and money is particularly tight right now, whether it’s for Jirou’s camping school or the frying pan being broken or roof repairs. His little sister Yoshiko also mentions wanting to go to a Tanabata festival, so Tarou adds it to the end of the list he compiled. Meanwhile, Torii meets with Takuya concerning his future plans too, and it seems that Takuya is undecided about what to do. After she suggests a college for him, she asks him about Tarou and what he said about being poor, so Takuya suggests that she conduct a home visit. Torii ends up doing just that and is shocked to discover the run-down house that Tarou lives in and the large family that he has to take care of. In trying to convince him that he should go to college, she tells him that there are student loans, but he points out that he has to pay those back, and the family rule is to not borrow money.
At school the next day, Torii talks with the principal about the topic, and he ends up revealing that Tarou might have an interest in the research that Nagahara is doing. Around the same time, Tarou admits to Takuya that he is indeed interested in biotechnology, but his duties at home are more important. After watching Takako get flustered and stumble away when he catches her staring at Tarou, Takuya decides to offer her a ride that afternoon. It is during this ride that Takuya finds out how much Takako wants to marry into a rich family and cares about money. This same afternoon, Torii heads to Nagahara’s research lab to talk to him about Tarou, but Nagahara blames Tarou’s not wanting to go on to college on Torii’s helplessness and inadequacies. She wants him to help her with this, but Nagahara asks that she become his bride in return. After Torii tells him not to tease her, Nagahara explains that he can’t do anything as long as Tarou has no intent to go to college, so until then, it’s still her job. With this in mind, Torii starts researching financial options for Tarou, all while Tarou continues earning money through his jobs and getting things done off that list. Torii eventually brings the documents she’s collected to his house, but Tarou still says that he really doesn’t intend to go to college and soon has to leave for his next job.
Tarou eventually is able to cross off everything from the list, including the Tanabata entry, so he asks everyone what wishes they wrote down. In particular, he learns that his sister Yoshiko wants a new outfit and teases her about having a boyfriend, but he’s shocked when she doesn’t deny it. Tarou later confides in his mother that he felt that they were still children, and she tells him that everyone will grow up soon. Although he’s determined to grant Yoshiko’s wish, Tarou doesn’t know what a fourth-grade girl would want to wear, so he asks Takuya at school the following day. Since Takuya refers him to Takako, Tarou asks her, and she suggests a yukata. The problem then becomes the fact that Tarou doesn’t have enough money to buy a yukata for Yoshiko, but he finds a solution to this when he discovers Sugiura carrying a rolled up banner made of cloth. Since Sugiura and Masami had been cleaning up the school and were going to throw this away, they give it to Tarou instead. Tarou then rushes home and spends the better part of the night trying to make a yukata out of what turns out to be a lacrosse team victory banner.
At the same time, Takako is struggling with her own feelings because she wants to give her old yukata to Tarou and see him happy, but she also wants to forget him since he’s poor. She eventually does bring the yukata to his house and presents it to him, and he surprises her by hugging her in thanks. Tarou then makes some adjustments to the yukata, and when the day of the festival arrives, it fits Yoshiko perfectly. As the Yamada family is heading to the festival, they run into Torii and Takuya who are together because she wants him to help persuade Tarou into going to college. Takuya had just moments ago told her that there are a lot of good reasons that Tarou doesn’t want to go, and his point was exemplified by the sight of Tarou with his family. The group then arrives at the festival grounds where they see Takako, and Yoshiko thanks her for the yukata along with thinking that Takako is Tarou’s girlfriend. When Yoshiko joins her friends, Tarou watches like an anxious parent as a boy presents her with a goldfish as a present. Jirou then drags Tarou off to a ring-toss booth that has a watermelon as a prize, and since the entire family wants it, Tarou is willing to spend the 100 yen for three rings. After Tarou misses his first two tries, Takuya steps in and successfully makes the toss with the final ring, winning them the watermelon and bringing a smile to everyone’s face. All of this fits perfectly with Tarou’s Tanabata wish for everyone to have their smiles for a long time.
The whole festival scene here was just absolutely wonderful and made up for any disappointment I had with last week’s episode. Seeing Tarou so torn up over watching his little sister with a boy was both touching and funny, and they again ended on heartwarming note with the watermelon and Tarou’s wish. As for the topic of Tarou going to college, I can’t imagine a good ending that doesn’t include him eventually going to study biotech since they make such a deal out of it. This’ll probably require him to come into some sum of money or make some arrangement to take care of his family, but just about anything could happen at this point that could lead to that. Anyway, next week appears to be the introduction of a new girl, and it looks like Takako might confess her feelings to Tarou. I’m still not a big fan of her character, but her part in this week’s episode didn’t bother me at all, and hopefully next week will be similar in that respect.