「あかね色のアプローチ」 (Akane Iro no Apuroochi)
Episode at a Glance:
As per her father’s instruction, Yuuhi moves in with Junichi and Minato in order to assess this new fiancé of hers. Off in a photo booth somewhere, a strange pinked-haired girl (Shiraishi Nagomi) reports Yuuhi’s kiss with Junichi and her arrival to another party. Back at the Nagase household, Junichi and Minato are surprised to find out that Yuuhi’s family runs the Katagiri Group, who’s famous for its influence in commodities, computers, communications, architecture, and even the military. Yuuhi however is still pissed off about how Junichi stole her first kiss. Only after she arrives does Junichi get a phone call from his father, informing him that he’s picked a fiancée for him — much to his disbelief. Exhausted, Yuuhi decides to unwind with a shower, where she learns from Minato that she and Junichi don’t know what their father’s thinking. Reassured that they’ll figure out what’s going on, Yuuhi later falls asleep on the couch, only to wake up in the morning with huge bags under her eyes because she couldn’t sleep with Junichi’s kiss on her mind.
At school the next day, Junichi is teased by Tsukasa and Fuyuhiko about his bold act the other day, with the former emphasizing that taking care of a girl after the fact is important. Karen on the other hand offers to guide Yuuhi around if she still needs help, and is surprised to see her so solemn and polite. After school, Yuuhi can’t find her way home and waits for Minato, after which they go grocery shopping together. Experiencing a supermarket for the very first time, Yuuhi is amazed by instant curry and Minato’s know-how when it comes to selecting ingredients and saving money. Back at home, Yuuhi’s curiosity continues in the kitchen where she starts playing with all the appliances. Unbeknownst to them, Junichi and Minato’s parents are handling a dangerous job elsewhere where they recover a briefcase from a train before fleeing in a helicopter. Over dinner, Junichi is annoyed that preparing curry took so long, but finds out that it actually tastes good, much to Yuuhi’s relief after having helped prepare it. Afterwards, the power breaker suddenly blows from all of Yuuhi’s tampering in the kitchen, leading to an incriminating situation for Junichi when Yuuhi runs into him. This leads to Yuuhi putting Junichi in an armbar, which inadvertently allows him to assess her breasts when he gets an indirect feel for them.
Getting ready for bed, Yuuhi wonders how a guy like Junichi can have such a wonderful younger sister, so Minato explains that her brother’s not that bad of a person and that she feels sorry for him having been separated from his family when he was a kid. Minato adds that she lived in the jungle with her parents during that time, and shows Yuuhi the only picture she has of them then, prompting Yuuhi to joke that they’re not really siblings. The next morning, Yuuhi is sleepwalking and mumbling random things, making Junichi feel that he’s found an unexpected weakness of hers.
「怪奇色のスクリーム」 (Kaiki Iro no Sukuriimu)
As some people already expected, the action-filled opening seen in the first episode involved Junichi and Yuuhi’s parents, with the former’s father saving the latter’s. As explained in this episode, this led to the arranged marriage they decided for their kids, bringing us to where we are now. As such, I found this to be a rather strange way of establishing the premise here, but was happy to see this series strive to be different from the norm. It’s not everyday I see semi-serious explosions in a romance comedy after all.
So what started off as a very different Kugimiya Rie for this series ended up becoming the more typical tsundere Rie this time around (for better or worse, depending on your take on it). I would’ve preferred it if she continued using her more lady-like voice for Yuuhi simply because it’s something new, but I imagine it’s hard to do so for comedic outbursts. I still find it a bit strange hearing Hirano Aya play a prestigous character like Minato for a change, but she actually does a really good job of it. Junichi on the the hand is proving to be more of an imperfect male lead (in a good way), who’s still sensible for the most part but provides the teasing-type of comedy I would’ve liked to see in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu.
Story-wise, it caught my eye when Minato seemed surprised by Yuuhi’s joke about Junichi and her not being real siblings, making me wonder if we’re in store for something along the lines of Canvas 2 and Da Capo. Judging from the opening sequence, I sort of figure that Minato is going to be the only formidable rival for Junichi’s interest, but I’m still hoping we don’t have some siscon type of series here. Even if it turns out that they’re not blood-related, I still find it strange when a male lead chooses a person who he’s only seen as a sister up until now over the alternative. Despite this, I get the feeling we’re already headed that way, but I hope to be disproven when more characters show up and mix things up. I don’t feel that there needs to be an “official” love triangle to make this a fun romance comedy anyway.
Out of the huge slew of shows this season, I think it was pretty apparent from my Snapshot that this is one I would’ve likely blogged. As such, I’m happy to see my personal interest coincide with a lot of others, based on the feedback that ranked Akane Iro in 6th by my last count, behind Toradora!, Gundam 00, CLANNAD, To Aru Majutsu no Index, and Tales of the Abyss (in that order). While I have a complete post here, I rather enjoyed the writing format I used in my experimental Snapshot yesterday, which allowed me to focus on saying things that I felt inclined to. Call it writer’s inspiration if you will. However, I realize that there are benefits to our readers for comprehensive coverage (e.g. a summary), so I’ll try and make time for at least a couple of shows this season. One thing I decided to remove from my posts though is the cast section, but I’ll probably still point out any notable names as they show up. While writing up the cast list didn’t take too long, updating ANN usually did, so I’d rather not contribute there as well when I don’t have to. 🙂