「レーダーマン」 (Reedaa Man)
“A professional manga artist and a pervert!?” Why Hajime acted so surprised about that I don’t know, because those sure seem to go hand-in-hand a lot lately. I got a good chuckle from that, but this episode really shines with Kobayashi Yuu and Koshimizu Ami making guest appearances. Knowing Yuu’s role as Mariya in Maria Holic, the craziness she can exude is well-suited for director Shinbou Akiyuki’s works, much like it is here.
Yuu also happens to be singing a couple of the songs heard in Hakobune this episode, but her actual role is the aforementioned manga artist, Anamori Yoshimi. Yoshimi happens to be at Hakobune and strugging to draw a kissing scene for her latest chapter, so she asks Arashi for help by reenacting one for inspiration. While initially hesitent because of the kiss, Arashi spouts out a dazzling flurry of ideals and agrees to help out when editor Umeyashiki (Koshimizu Ami) barges in and pressures Yoshimi to finish. As for her kissing partner, Sayaka feels that Hajime would be the most obvious choice, but he surprisingly refuses.
This leads to Kaya, Yayoi, and Kanako standing in as substitutes, but they all end up ruining the atmosphere for various reasons. This includes Kaya’s gyoza breath, Kanako’s inability to contain herself seeing Yayoi with Arashi, and Kanako getting embarrassed over having kissing experience. With Sayaka bowing out to save Arashi’s first kiss, Hajime gets paired up with Jun for some “boy” love. Unlike earlier, Hajime wholeheartedly agrees to do so if it means saving Arashi from kissing anyone, so he takes Jun’s extremely reluctant self by force. However, Arashi ruins the moment at the last second by pretending that some Sugawara Bunta strolled by outside.
With no one able to pull a scene off together, Hideo and Yamashiro get pulled into things, before Yoshimi suggests that Hajime and Arashi have a go at it. The two of them refuse out of embarrassment and Hajime goes as far as saying he’d much rather do it with Jun. Out of options, Yoshimi decides to try things out for herself and manages to get some inspiration when Hajime butts in to prevent Arashi from getting kissed. As Umeyashiki and Yoshimi leave, the latter reveals that she is actually the old man who always sits in the back of Hakobune — Sogoru (who’s also voiced by Sugita Tomokazu for the record).
I never know quite what to expect with each episode of Natsu no Arashi, but the series has a tendency to surprise me every so often. Here, we were treated to a lot of yuri-esque scenarios, which admittedly upped the appeal of each of the characters. Hearing Hajime profusely refuse to kiss Arashi and much rather do it with Jun was hilarious, and along with all the other quirky build-up before it, really helped set up the last scene between him and Arashi. On the rooftop, it was really cute how Arashi said they wouldn’t have gotten into this mess if Hajime just agreed to be her kissing partner from the start. That, in conjunction with them asking why the other stopped their kisses with Yoshimi really gave them a good couple-like moment. To help seal the deal, Arashi even kissed Hajime on the forehead, before the latter explained it’s a waste having everyone witness your first kiss with the person you like.
Having seen this turn of events, I wonder if they’re going to build much more on their relationship. Compared to the first season, this is already a drastic step up in the romance department. With the next episode being the last, I’d actually be okay if they left things between the two of them there. In lieu of further development, I’d rather them focus on the end of summer and Arashi and the others disappearing. The last episode is titled “You Guys Are Kiwis, Papayas, and Mangos” though, so who knows what they have in store. In retrospect, these last four or five episodes have been quite enjoyable, which is hopefully a precursor of the finale to come.
(You just know it’s a good episode when they don’t have any Kanako/Yayoi stories to pad the time.)