Mokke – 05
It has been raining for days on end. Shizuru and her classmates are not too pleased with this continuous downpour although one of them, Fumi, seems to be completely unaffected. Instead, she boldly declares that the weather will be sunny and clear by Sunday. She brings out several talismans (nafuda) and teruteru bouzu (てるてる坊主) to prove her point. One of the students in class, Takanashi, isn’t as positive but rather wishes for the rain to continue.
Fumi overhears this statement, so she forces Takanashi into a bet – if the skies are clear by Sunday, Takanashi has to follow her order (and vice-versa if it remains raining). Takanashi shrugs the idea off, but Fumi remains strong-willed…so strong-willed, in fact, that she forces Shizuru and the other girls into helping her build more teruteru bouzu to stop the rain. Before this happens, though, one of Takanashi’s friends approach Fumi and tells her to not be too hard on him – on Sunday he will be pitching against the Minami Middle School baseball team, where he was absolutely thrashed the last time they faced each other.
Melancholy talk on defeat aside, we shift gears to Fumi’s house, as the girls keep themselves busy making teruteru bouzu (the girl in glasses, Shino, has refused to come and help). We learn that Fumi is so engrossed to have the skies clear by Sunday because…a neighboring town is having an omatsuri/お祭り.
Back at home, Shizuru tends to Mizuki, who injured herself from playing catch-ball with the boys in her class. She expresses interest in watching the baseball team from Shizuru’s middle school play that weekend. Shizuru mentions Fumi here, and they make a promise to attend the baseball game together.
The day of the baseball game is approaching and Takanashi has started practicing again. The weather is still dim and drizzly, although Fumi is still bubbly and upbeat. She approaches Takanashi after school, and talks some sense into him – she also hands him one of her homemade teruteru bouzu. Shizuru finds Fumi back at class, and offers to help. She suggests hanging the teruteru bouzu upside down, as was practiced back in the Edo period. This tradition has in roots in a folksong that mentions the teruteru bouzu – while the teruteru bouzu are revered and given offerings in the first and second lines, by the third line of the song, they are in fact threatened (hence being hanged upside-down).
Sunday arrives, and rejoice – the sun shines, and there is no indication of rain in sight. Fumi stops by Yamanashi’s home and hands him a bag of teruteru bouzu for him to purify and discard after the baseball match, since he lost the bet. The baseball match starts quickly after, and despite having an early struggle, he pitches well to defeat Minami Middle School’s team after all. After the match, Mizuki and Shizuru talk about the match and run into Fumi on their way home. Yamanashi, meanwhile, releases the teruteru bouzu in a river nearby – one of them is attached to his bag as a memento – as they float on into the sunset.
The question here is obviously whether a spirit was involved in the rain, and whether hanging the teruteru bouzu upside down was actually helpful. It could just be coincidence that the downpour stopped, although I’m positive that isn’t the message this episode was hoping to get across. Now, the episode wasn’t necessarily bad, but like vexx mentions quite accurately, it doesn’t quite enter the realm of amazing – it stops somewhat shy of that. This doesn’t stop Mokke from being a pleasant show in the slightest, of course.
Next time: Shizuru and Mizuki’s parents appear for the first time, and Mizuki picks up a spirit that brings good fortune. I am bothered by how Mizuki looks next episode though – it indicates some character design discrepancies that just scream outsourcing, if you know what I mean…