Sawaki is having a perfectly normal day, until he comes across a walking blob covered in various bacteria on the street. Sawaki assumes that this lump of bacteria is some kind of ghost, and hurriedly rushes to the microbiology lab.
He tells his findings to Haruka, who seems completely uninterested (“You see all humans as blobs covered with bacteria, right?”). Sawaki continues with his story, saying that what he saw resembled myxomycete (粘菌/nenkin), or slime molds rather than a regular cluster of microorganisms. Still unimpressed, Haruka instructs Sawaki to join Hazuki, Kawahama, and Misato in their experiment with physarum polycephalum. The experiment is quite simple: physarum polycephalum is placed in a center of a maze, with some food located on both ends of the maze. The physarum polycephalum will “grow” and shift its form to reach the food that is located closer to it. Haruka sarcastically comments that the usually noisy (and stupid) Misato and Kawahama are alert and quiet for once thanks to the experiment, and says it helps to keep her focused on studying.
Kei enters the lab and hands some paperwork to Haruka. It contains some documents from a company, which prompts Sawaki to inquire why large industries will be interested in working with professor Itsuki; she answers matter-of-factly that more and more corporations are partnering with research universities since it benefits both parties. She gives an example with a renowned automaker that succeeded in the mass production of biodegradable plastic. She recommends Sawaki and Kei to find a job at these firms interested in biotechnology, although Sawaki is positive he will just return home and succeed his father’s business.
Haruka now yells at Misato and Kawahama, and the group departs from the lab to get sake from the nearby liquor store in preparation for the spring university festival. Although Itsuki will be responsible for the bill, Haruka tags along anyway, claiming that she does not trust Misato and Kawahama in anything that involves money. The two sophomores tell Haruka to relax, calling her “fellow researcher”; she swears she will violently murder the two if they ever call her that again. lol.
Sawaki tries to appease the increasingly irate lady of destruction – he questions her if she knows anything about Itsuki’s past. Although even Haruka admits that the professor rarely talks about himself, she does answer that professor Itsuki was heavily involved in the development of the university of agriculture. He also apparently had some involvement in trying to create biofuel for warplanes back in World War II. Haruka and Sawaki’s conversation continues – in one scene Haruka expresses that she is actually envious of Sawaki’s ability to see microbes, as he is able to do this without exerting serious effort. She goes so far as to say that if she can gain Sawaki’s ability by sucking his blood, she will gladly do it. Oi.
The Hiyoshi Liquor Store is quite plain looking. Sawaki tries to have Kei enter the store, although Kei stays outside – he stares in disdain at the sake being displayed outside under direct sunlight. Kei is about to complain to the person by the cash register, although he stops himself; the store employer laments about the current state of business as hardly anyone stops by anymore (sake and similar alcoholic beverages can easily be obtained in convenience stores and supermarkets nowadays).
Haruka proceeds to make the payment for all the sake, and asks that Itsuki Keizo will be responsible for the bill. The mention of the professor grabs the employee’s attention, as he calls out to his grandfather; Sawaki looks on in fear as he recognizes the person to be the same bacterial blob he saw earlier on the streets.
The old man (his name is Hiyoshi Kikuji) invites the group to his private sake bar located inside the building. He takes a particular liking to Kei, and a passionate conversation about fine sake takes place. Some of the things mentioned in this conversation include ginjoushu (吟醸酒), a form of sake that uses polished white rice, low fermentation temperature, and meticulous technique – the result is sake that is surprisingly sweet with fruitlike fragrances. (mewmew’s note: Those who are interested in the different varieties of sake should check this informative website for more information.)
While Hazuki is bored to death with all this talk on Japanese liquor, all the bacteria attached to Kikuji floats up to the ceiling; Sawaki observes that it is as if the bacteria “love” him. Itsuki now appears out of thin air, and takes a sip from one of the sake Kikuji keeps in his bar.
A new character interrupts the scene now. A woman with disheveled hair and unusual taste in clothing barges into the private saloon, calling for the professor. Her backpack is overfilled with something, and before anyone can stop her, the contents spill out. The rancid and foul goop splatters everywhere – only the surrounding microbes are happy with this sudden happening. As the students and the professor leave, Kikuji tells Sawaki to love the microbes he sees; Sawaki muses over this advice as he looks at the aspergillus oryzae perched on his t-shirt.
Microbe Theater: Sawaki’s pet aspergillus oryzae takes a look at all the bacteria swirling around the Hiyoshi Liquor Store. He (it?) is greeted by saccharomyces cerevisiae – budding yeast responsible for converting sugar to alcohol. Artificially-bred saccharomyces cerevisiae also make an appearance; they are differentiated by a number stamped on their forehead, which indicates the particular type of alcohol they are involved in.
Another hilarious episode of Moyashimon, as they deliver another winner once again. Mutou Aoi appears in the last few minutes, which completes more or less the main cast of the show. Noto Mamiko voices Aoi, and it’s always nice to hear her use a slightly rough tone in place of the usual soothing voice she is famous for. The animation is still quite funky, though – Kei’s character design joins Sawaki in the inconsistency department, which is a real shame. On another note, I do find it curious that Sawaki likes to cling onto Haruka for comfort… Why her?
Next time: We are treated to an episode focusing on the newly introduced Aoi. Microbe Theater, meanwhile, presents us to five species of bacteria involved in food poisoning. Five is a good number, it really is.