「夏期講習！」 (Kaki Koushuu!)
We’re past the halfway point of this sequel’s run, which means we have new opening and ending themes! I don’t know what the deal is with getting Toyosaki Aki to sing high pitched songs this season, but “Utauyo!! MIRACLE” has a very similar sound to the first opening, “GO! GO! MANIAC”. The opening sequence is pretty fun to watch though, with Yui using her pencil case as a mic and twirling around on stage, and Houkago Tea Time mobbing Sawa-chan, Nodoka, Ui, and Jun with mad hugs. There’s also some cake voodoo going on, which I got a good laugh out of when I saw it. Unsurprisingly, the new ending theme is a lot more serious and has much more attitude and features a song sung by Hikasa Youko. Neither song has been an instant hit on the first few listens, but I do love the look of all the characters in the ending sequence itself. Ritsu has her bangs down too!
As for the episode itself, I thought this was supposed to be about some extra summer cram lessons in preparation for final exams. Instead, it turned out to be mostly about Mugi and Ritsu and a really good showing at that. I was waiting for a Mugi-focused episode to show up along with some more jokes about her thick eyebrows, and this episode delivered just that by opening with Yui’s dream about them being pickled radishes. I almost got Endless Eight vibes again with the whole dream thing going on again, but luckily this episode turned out to be more about Mugi learning about the joys of arcades and cheap candy stores. It’s almost weird seeing Ritsu being the sensible one out of a group, but it did put an amusing spin on things.
I found it funny how Ritsu was relieved about winning a stuffed animal from the UFO game for Mugi, simply because I could picture the latter’s disappointment if they had to walk away empty-handed. The scene with Ritsu showing Mugi how to eat candy too was pretty cute as well; however, all of that only served as a set up for things getting really quirky when Mugi asked Ritsu to hit her. I really can’t imagine anyone hitting Mugi when she’s so adorable, so I wasn’t too surprised that Ritsu wasn’t able to either. Mugi’s just way too innocent and naive to know any better, but it’s pretty hard to say no to her when she’s so insistent about something. Evidently, she sees the abuse Ritsu gets from Mio and the cheek-on-cheek rubbing Azusa gets from Yui as some skinship she’d like in on.
Surprisingly, things did end up at the private tutoring school, though studying was the last thing on the schedule. While Mugi gave it her all to play the airhead (i.e. “boke”) and get Mio to hit her, all she ended up doing was showing us just how cute she is in glasses. Comedy-wise, the real laughs came at the end when everyone decided to play a game to determine who gets the extra piece of cake. Somehow Ritsu figured it would be easy for Mugi to wind up last and get flicked in the forehead, but naturally she wins and Ritsu gets punished with her own bright idea. The best part was watching Mugi steal Mio’s strawberry from her slice shortly after, thinking that it would set her off just like it did with Yui when Nodoka unintentionally did the same to hers. After hearing Yui whine like a baby to Azusa how it’s akin to stealing the heart of the cake from a person, I couldn’t help but laugh at how Mio started tearing up on the spot. I felt bad for her, but I really couldn’t stop laughing especially when Yui went and grabbed Nodoka to show her exactly how big of a deal it is. Oh man, that was good times.
When things were finally cleared up, Mio got the honors of hitting Mugi to make up for it, but all that resulted from that was another blow to Ritsu’s head. No one in their right mind can hit Mugi even if she eagerly wants it, but it did happen off-screen when she praised Ritsu by saying she would be popular with the ladies if she were a guy. I was thinking that was a hint of Mugi’s lesbianism coming through for the first time in a while, but it didn’t quite drift into that territory much to my disappointment. She did get the result she wanted at least. Next time it looks like there’s going to be a marathon of sorts and Yui’s already complaining about how much she has to run. Oh Yui, you’re the only one I’d put up with this much whining from.