Shirokuma Café – 13
「七夕飾り/パンダくんの願い」 (Tanabata Kazari/Panda-kun no Negai)
“Tanabata Decoration/Panda’s Wish”
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
If your heart is in your dream
If you’re not familiar with the above lyrics, let Jessica from SNSD perform for you a cover of this coveted Disney classic.
For me, this episode evoked a lot of the emotions that go with dreaming and hopes. It is silly, in a sense, with how naive the wishes are, but the fact that they honestly believe in them is heartwarming at the same time. They put their hopes into the impossible with an implied feeling that they’ll reach for those goals. The scene might not have been animated in great detail, but the whole tone set by the scene spoke for itself.
However, there was that one wish, that last wish, that most significant and touching character development. I’ll admit, it’s all a bit cliche, but there exists a charm in seeing certain resilient characters finally replace some of their rough with some glint. Panda, ever since stumbling in episode one, has been in an environment that he can live vicariously through. Granted, most of the things he does are to continue to live vicariously through others, but as a consequence, that same environment encourages him to wish the best for someone other than himself. It’s a slow process, but with another season ahead of us, this reaffirms my decision to stick it through with Panda and friends.
While I would like to see Penguin-san eventually make an actual stride in his relationship, the more important relationship I would like to focus on is between the main two human characters on this show. Ever since their portrayal in the OP, I had a feeling that they’d have to interact with one another sooner or later, but in terms of a romance…it’s a little surprising.
I’ll admit to it now: seeing the interactions between Handa (はんだ vs. パンダ) and Sasako made me shift in my seat awkwardly and make me cover the screen. However, I find this reaction weird. Handa and Sasako are perhaps the two plainest characters on the entire show, but their interactions with each other seem…intense. With Handa staring into Sasako’s eyes for many seconds at a time, it becomes too much for me to actually look directly at. However, it’s an honest kind of intensity that marks Handa’s own significant developments in his character, and thankfully Sasako’s increased exposure into the show. She’s probably said more lines in this episode than most of the episodes combined and I like it! Sasako ironically calms down Handa, whilst Handa gives Sasako more a reason to speak. They may make a plain couple, but sometimes plain couples are the ones that hit closer to home.
At first, I felt averse to Handa’s wish request, finding it a little too…objectified and shallow, but once he put that wish down, I feel like that washed away that tension, allowing him to focus on the true feelings of his wish. The man has hope now, a kind of hope that’s embodied in the song “When You Wish Upon A Star”. In fact, every wish, when Panda’s wish was shown, felt that way to me: genuinely hopeful. It was a heartwarming episode, and now that we’ve seen progression, I hope that it continues to produce more of these moments till October comes.