「残暑見舞い！」 (Zansho Mimai!)
“Late-Summer Greeting Card!”
I never thought I’d describe an episode about our favorite light music band as “trippy”, but that’s exactly what this one revolving around Azusa felt like as she kept zoning in and out of daydreams. It was like she was stuck in some sci-fi thriller she couldn’t escape, especially with how deceivingly happy some of her dreams were. The main emphasis seemed to be on Azusa feeling lonely with Yui and the others busy studying for exams over the summer break, which incidentally gave her and Ui a lot of screen time this week. There were a lot of the usual quirky moments between the two of them, but I got so psyched out by the seamless transitions to Azusa’s dreams that I lost grasp of what was real a lot of the time. While they did make it fairly clear after the fact, it was pretty hard to discern what was Azusa’s delusion and what wasn’t during the scenes themselves, which got even trippier when some of the stuff she imagined actually happened later on. It looks like the horror-themed summer anime season has already started with the Bon Festival in K-ON this week, as I couldn’t help but think of Flatliners during all this.
Reiterating that notion, Azusa and Ui even hit up the movie theaters for a summer horror flick, where it looked like Mio showed up for some special training to get over her fear of… almost everything. It was funny how Mio fainted almost instantaneously, provided that it actually happened. It turned out that was all just a dream and they ended up seeing a tearjerker instead, during which Azusa was caught up in another one about taking up an urgent lottery assistant job. As cute as it was to see Mugi thrilled about winning the pocket tissue pack and Azusa winning the seven days/eight nights vacation to Finland, I was not so thrilled when that turned out to be a dream too. Something didn’t sit well with me when Mugi and Ui pinched Azusa at her request and very eerily said how it’s all right if it’s just a dream. I have to say that I was even disturbed on some level because these random delusions were getting pretty creepy.
In terms of fan-service, the sight of Azusa’s clear tan lines may appeal to some though I can’t say I’m a huge fan. However, the recurring joke about how no one recognized her because of her tan was pretty cute at times. The “yakisoba slider” delusion at the pool was just plain weird more than anything else, but I’m not the least bit opposed to the swimsuit shots of Mugi, Yui, and Mio that came from it. For whatever reason, I got a good chuckle out of Azusa’s sarcastic remark about how easily she was able to even out her tan when Jun was praising her about it, as well as Jun getting all envious about the K-ON club’s trips to Mugi’s summer villa and the recent summer music festival. Interestingly enough, that did result in Jun agreeing to join the K-ON club next year if Azusa can’t find any more members.
Anyway, the actual summer festival had me laughing when Yui was chomping away at roasted corn, but once again questioning what I was watching when Yui dragged Azusa and ran towards the fireworks in the distance. With the surreal slow motion way that scene played out, it sure as hell felt like another dream of hers, but turned out to be the real deal. After feeling toyed with this entire episode, I was happy about the Azusa bath scene fan-service to make up for it. It was still eery how her first delusion about mixing shaved ice with tempura will make your stomach sick proved to true for Yui in the end though, albeit her original “vision” entailed watermelon and tempura. Upon seeing that, I couldn’t help but think that Azusa was possessed by a wandering spirit during this episode. Next time it looks like we’ll see some summer training of sorts, and things will be about cake again rather than trippy dreams. Whew.