H2O ~FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND~ – 02
Having regained his vision, Takuma has agreed to let Hinata and the other girls shown him around the village, but he first goes to see Hayami at the top of the hill where she always is. He invites her to come along, but Hayami reminds him not to get involved with her. On the way back down the hill, Takuma gets ambushed by Otoha, and she notices how he’s already gotten used to being able to see. When she warns him not to waste it, Takuma explains that he’s doing what he hasn’t been able to do up until now, so Otoha cheers him on and tells him that as long as he doesn’t give up, he can do anything. To Takuma’s surprise, Otoha disappears when he meets up with Hinata, Hamaji, and Maki. The girls start their tour by showing him the rice paddies where Yui is currently working with her two lackeys. When Yui makes a big deal out of how her family owns all this land that is feeding the village, Hamaji points out an even bigger stretch of land that belongs to Hinata’s family. The girls then show Takuma the river, the village head’s estate (aka. Hinata’s home), the church, and finally a suspension bridge. However, Hamaji warns Takuma against crossing the bridge and claims that there’s an evil oni on the other side.
After the tour is over and Hamaji is prancing around in a maid uniform, Takuma notices that Hinata has been looking worried ever since they passed by the bridge and asks her about it. Hinata sticks with the story that there’s an oni living on the other side, and when Takuma points out that there aren’t such things as oni in reality, she doesn’t respond back. To find out what’s going on for himself, Takuma later returns to the bridge and crosses it. On the other side, he finds two old cable cars sitting side-by-side, and there are signs that someone lives inside them, one of which is a girl’s school uniform. Further down the path is a small waterfall, and Takuma is embarrassed to discover Hayami bathing under it. In retaliation, she strings him up in a tree and starts sharpening a knife, but she only uses it to cut him back down. When she questions why he came, Takuma jokes that it was to see an oni. He has brought her some cup ramen to pay her back for last time, so the two eat together, though Hayami wants him to hurry up and go home. She warns him again not to get involved with her because nothing good will come from it, but Takuma points out that there was the delicious ramen of hers that he tasted. He feels that it’s okay for something that simple to get them acquainted and to lead to them becoming friends.
This reminds Hayami of how Hinata had once offered her candy in the church back when they were young and when she had been crying. It causes her to tell Takuma that she doesn’t need friends, and when he questions why she’s trying to be hated, she claims that it’s natural and necessary for her to be hated. On his way back across the bridge, Takuma runs into Hinata who had come here after hearing from her grandfather that Takuma had crossed it. When she asks why he did it, Takuma reveals that he wanted to talk to Hayami, and he questions her back about why Hayami is hated. Hinata doesn’t really answer him and instead insists that he doesn’t go near Hayami. Takuma does not listen to her though, and when Hinata comes to pick him up the next morning so that they can walk to school together, she finds him already gone. He had actually returned to Hayami’s place and had earned himself a slap from her for coming in while she was still sleeping. When Hinata sees him again, he’s chasing an angry Hayami and trying to explain himself. Other students also see the two together and refer to Takuma as one of the cockroach’s friends, and this frustrates Hinata.
One of the class activities today is to make a pinwheel, and since Hayami didn’t bring any of the materials to do this, Takuma offers to share his stuff in exchange for her showing him how to make pinwheels. After Hayami dismisses the idea, Hinata tries to get Takuma to pair up with her instead, but Takuma wants all three of them to work together. This causes Yui to get angry over how Takuma is putting Hinata and the cockroach together, but Takuma asserts that no one is a cockroach. Feeling that her presence is getting in everyone’s way, Hayami stands up to leave and offers to play with Yui. Along with her two lackeys, an angry Yui follows Hayami outside, and because their teacher is unwilling to do anything, Takuma decides to go after them. Hinata tries to stop him, but Takuma heads outside anyway and stand up for Hayami as she’s getting beat up. He hugs her despite how dirty she is from having been doused with toilet water, and he says that he wants to do what he can because he hasn’t been able to do anything up until now. Because Takuma helped Hayami, Yui deems him a cockroach too and sics her lackeys on him, but to everyone’s surprise, Hinata comes running to stop them and declares that she’ll rescue Takuma from Hayami.
In the aftermath, Hayami is mad at Takuma for getting involved, but Takuma offers his hand to her and the two end up working together to make a pinwheel. The two later head up the hill, and Takuma wishes that there were a wind to blow the pinwheel, but Hayami feels that the wind has already blown. She thinks that a new wind will blow away something that has stagnated, and, at that moment, a wind actually starts blowing, spinning the pinwheel in the process.
Somewhere between the first and second episodes, this series lost a lot of its charm, at least for me. I partly attribute it to the lack of Otoha (her existence really intrigues me), partly to the childish cockroach-outcasting of Hayami (which irks me greatly), and partly to the inconsistent animation quality, especially when compared to the first episode (yes, I know this was to be expected, but I thought it was a pretty severe drop in quality). It also bothers me a little that Takuma can see now, yet no one really makes a big deal about it. On the plus side though, the story appears to be moving pretty quickly, and they’ve dropped hints about a lot of the back story, particularly about Hinata and Hayami’s past together and a fire. There also appears to be the interesting aspect of the big divide between the haves and the have-nots, especially when you compare how wealthy Hinata’s family is to how Hayami doesn’t have a good home (not quite homeless, but cable cars aren’t high on my list of ideal abodes).
Normally, a promising story like this would be enough to keep me watching, however with Clannad and Shana II already on my plate, I’m not sure I can handle three Thursday shows. For now, I’ll say that I’ll watch H2O for at least another episode, but there are no guarantees that I’ll continue to blog it.