「旅のソラのさきのさき」 (Tabi no Sora no Saki no Saki)
“Saki and the Sky on Her Trip”
When I first read about Natsuiro Kiseki, I suspected it would be like the end of episode one, a show that fills you with wonder at what was to come. What I hoped it would be, was this. This episode was touching in a way that only a coming-of-age story can be, where the characters live, learn, and grow up just a little bit by the time the credits roll. Or in this case, grow up quite a lot.
One of the characters that grew up was Okiyama Koharu (Terasaki Yuka). First of all, the elephant in the room – I did not expect her to be a girl! Nor did Natsumi and others, judging by their reactions, and how deftly Natsumi nailed her for “peeping.” I had wondered why “he” thought “he” could open that door without suffering the repercussions, but it makes sense. Nice one, Sunrise.
Anyway, so the reason Ko-chan was so against mainlanders was because the old doctor who had been around since before she was born was now moving there to live with his son, and in the process leaving everyone behind that he had promised to look after. Koharu’s sadness is understandable, but her desire for the old doctor to stay, no matter the toll it would take on his aging body, is, of course, quite selfish. But she’s a kid, so that’s to be expected, right? The moment that helped her finally let go is the talk with her sister, Chiharu (Kayano Ai). There, in the old doctor’s office, she was able to finally get all of her feelings out. Ahhh, the catharsis of when those bottled up feelings finally burst forth, and someone dear to you says don’t worry, it’ll all be alright. Sometimes it’s nice to be a kid, or at least a girl. Stupid cultural bias against men crying *grumble grumble*
Then there was Natsumi. After her almost-confession last week, she was ready to do whatever she had to in order to stop Saki from moving, but her conversation with Rin and Yuka disabused her of this notion. I’ve said it before, and though the TTGL-watching, never-give-up-on-what’s-truly-important part of me doesn’t like to admit it, but Yuka and Rin were right – this isn’t a battle they should fight. They’re middle-schoolers, so they belong with their parents.
Then, of course, there was Saki. I expected the resolution to the whole Saki-moving thing to come later in the series, but it came here, and it was done well. Going around the island and seeing all the wonderful places, people, and things she would soon live among was exactly what she needed to settle her mind. Well, not quite…it was realizing exactly how much her father would be helping the people of this island that did that. See, even mature Saki-chan required a little growing up, and with the insert song playing delicately in the background, a wonderful feeling of innocent growth permeated the scene. Sunrise just chained touching scene after touching scene back to back, until I couldn’t help but be swept away in the feelings – as if I wasn’t willing to come along anyway. Expertly done.
I hate to say it, but I think Sunrise missed the mark by focusing on the slice-of-life aspects of this show. That’s not to say it has been bad – we’ve seen some enjoyable little stories along the way – but comparing LSD whales and double Natsumi tennis matches to the heartfelt coming-of-age feelings we saw here leaves the winner obvious. Yeah, I enjoy the occasional yuri tease, and I like watching the girls react to whatever the Big Rock (or its cousin) have done, but seeing Natsumi and Saki come to grips with the move, so much so that Saki even lightens up a bit…well, that leaves a warm feeling in my heart that no amount of yuri shipteasing can duplicate. Man, apparently I’m a big old softie, somewhere beneath all the ecchi and silliness.
The thing I’m most curious about from here is the big rock’s cousin. The more time goes on, the more I think these magical rocks will be the key to Saki moving away, but it not feeling like a loss, or that she’s gone forever. If they can make the girls fly, stick together, switch bodies, multiply, and turn invisible, what’s a little teleportation? We’ve already seen most of the other stock super powers, and the laws of physics have already been put thoroughly through the ringer, so screw it. What’s one more time for a happy ending, eh?
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Tears are shed, lessons are learned, new friendships are made, & old ones are reaffirmed. That’s the beauty of growing up #NatsuiroKiseki
- With so many characters growing up this episode, there was one character who didn’t – Yuka. The surprising part was that she didn’t grow up because, this time, she didn’t need to. She was already there! I guess when it comes to the important things, like parents and families and accepting those things in life that cannot – or should not – be changed, Yuka can be even more grown up than Natsumi. Once in a while.
- This episode we got Yuka walking around in a bikini top, the girls in the onsen, naked ghost Saki, Rin x Yuka snuggling, and this delightful embarrassed blush from our blonde heroine. The fanservice was in full effect (at least, as much as it ever is for Natsuiro Kiseki), but it was done right, because it was all nicely justified by the plot. Though, I guess that last one wasn’t really fanservice. Still, come on…blushing Saki is so cute!!
- Man, those two really do look alike. Well, other than their chests. Poor Ko-chan really got the short end of the stick there. Don’t worry! As Konata would say, “A flat chest is a status symbol! Extremely rare and valuable!”
- Speaking of which: chiiiii. Boing boing! Orz. Maybe next year, girls. Maybe next year.
- Cutest…nosebleed…evar. Other than the ones in Acchi Kocchi. Tsumiki-chwan~!