「おおかみさんうさぎとかめの醜い争いに巻き込まれる」 (Ookami-san Usagi to Kame no Minikui Arasoi ni Makikomareru)
“The Wolf Caught Up in the Tortoise and the Hare’s Scandalous Dispute”
She’s not Taiga, but Kugimiya Rie makes her debut in this series as another loli named Usami Mimi. Modeled after the hare in The Tortoise and the Hare, Mimi was quickly at odds with Otohime since she’s supposed to be the turtle in Urashima Tarou. For the most part, Ryouko and Ryoushi were completely sidelined this episode, as the two aforementioned stories intertwined to give us a new fairy tale altogether. The crossover worked pretty well too, and I have a new-found love for Otohime’s character after hearing that strangely alluring voice Toyosaki Aki plays her with. This episode wasn’t short of surprises either, with Liszt showing us ability to go undercover by cross-dressing as a mysterious beautiful girl, who must be the ultimate trap since she’s voiced by another seiyuu. It wasn’t good enough to slip past the watchful eye of Alice and her beat-down with a slipper since she’s his cousin and all, but there sure as hell wasn’t any way I would’ve known better because all I heard was Satou Satomi talking.
As for the fairy tales themselves, it turns out that Otohime was gullible, slow-thinking, and chubby kid who was saved by Urashima Tarou from the classmates bullying and taking advantage of her for clean-up duties. Mimi just so happened to be one of those classmates back in elementary school and teased her by calling her “Kameko” (Turtle Girl) just like everyone else. The part involving the Urashima Tarou legend basically entails how Otohime’s devoted herself to Tarou as her savior, which led to her changing her diet and exercising moderately to become the absolutely gorgeous girl she is now. The part involving The Hare and the Tortoise on the other hand is Mimi’s insistence on still calling her Kameko despite her drastic makeover and challenging her to the Miss Otogi Academy Contest if she wants her to stop. In short, it’s her arrogance against the tortoise and thinking she can win with ease that mirrors that fairy tale. Tarou is somewhat caught in the middle despite being on Otohime’s side all the way, leading us to Otogi Bank’s quirky involvement.
Their unorthodox way of handling requests never ceases to amaze me (…and not in a good way), as Otohime’s one asking for help winning the beauty contest results in a lot of slanderous propaganda to lower Mimi’s favorability among the male students. Upon seeing Mimi cry about it, the last thing I was expecting was her to turn 180 degrees and counter with her own slanderous rumors. It wasn’t pretty to say the least, with things getting right down to business from a schoolgirl prostitute angle. What’s more, we even had Ringo joining in for a cosplay photo shoot to snag some votes from her loli niche. I found the implicit insult to injury rather amusing though, as Ringo was dressed up as Louise Vallière from Zero no Tsukaima — a character that Kugimiya Rie voices. Incidentally, all the seiyuu that play the Zero no Tsukaima characters they cosplayed are present in this series, with Tsurugaya Otsuu’s Kawasumi Ayako dressing up as Siesta (another maid) rather than her own character, Princess Henrietta. (Alice’s Horie Yui plays Siesta.) On top of all the insults they spouted that our narrator needed to censor, that scene proved to be a fun seiyuu-related type of cameo for me.
The actual Miss Otogi Academy Contest was primarily fan-service since it only involved some swimsuit appeal time on stage. During the event, we were introduced to a member of the school’s broadcast club for the first time, Shitakiri Suzume (Yahagi Sayuri). She’s supposedly modeled after the sparrow in Shitakiri Suzume, which is ironic since the fairy tale involves the bird getting its tongue cut out and here she is chirping away. In any case, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Otohime for trying to win this shallow contest just so that others would see her as a worthy girlfriend for Tarou. It wasn’t about her own ego in any way, just her refusal to let Mimi trounce on her love for Tarou after he reached out and befriended her when no one else would. Seeing the way she was treated when she was a kid was already too cruel, so I was hoping Mimi would get the stomping she deserved.
Much to my surprise, Liszt had something better in store by using up a lot of the loans Otogi Bank had saved up thus far. While the actual scrap on stage went back to the loli rivalry with Ringo busting out the B.B. Hood-like aura, the club president planned the perfect fairy tale ending by ensuring the end results were zero votes for Mimi and one vote for Otohime from the only person that matters, Tarou. Otohime may not have gotten first place, but she did beat Mimi and was reassured by Tarou that no one else’s opinion matters when he thinks she’s cute. I have to agree too, since she looked so adorable hugging him when the tears started flowing. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Ryoushi who gave Ryouko her only vote, because the latter is a full-out tsundere that beats him up instead of hugging him.
Overall, this episode had a really nice mix of goofy humor and a heartfelt story and I loved it for that very reason. I don’t ever recall Toyosaki Aki playing a character THIS cute either. She’s definitely a seiyuu that should never be typecast for her Hirasawa Yui role in K-ON. I’m even inclined to call Otohime my favorite character in the series now, ousting even an Itou Shizuka played tsundere. I never thought I’d see the day…