「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

Random thoughts:

  • 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~!

Full-length images: 04, 21.




  1. At first I was taken aback by the amount of “skin” but withing moments I realized, like yourself, that it was plot relevant, and handled within the shows parameters. This wasn’t flashy fanservice for the sake of it; and was actually cute in presentation.

    Wonder how many will be crying for the BD release!?

    1. Well it is a relief that Koharu is a tomboy/reverse trap. I feel like a complete moron for absolutely assuming that she is a boy. I have never seen a reverse trap so boyish like her. Reverse traps and tomboys are my things. I love how the girls mistook her for a pervert.

      Talk about invisible exhibitionism. The girls have had a trip with Chiharu and Saki does not seem to have any shame going out there invisible and naked. Yuka must be feeling lucky that she has Saki on her lap while they are riding on the taxi.

      I always thought Natsumi would be the harem lead, but that position belongs to Rin.

      As for the plot in this episode, it appears that Saki has decided to move along with her family to the town they have visited and Natsumi has accepted it. I guess this show will have some kind of a tear-jerking ending.

      John Hayabusa
  2. Its official now, the Big Rock family are a bunch of perverts. Why else would the cousin make a scenario where Saki has to walk around the village naked(but invisible)? I’m also surprised that Saki went along with the whole naked invisibility thing.

    Also good one with Ko. The best reverse traps are those that fool the characters (and audience) for an extended period of time.

      1. I was one of those anons who completely thought that she was a dude. And like I said before, I now feel like a complete moron for that. Anyways, we need more reverse traps like her.

        Also, while Saki was invisible, how did her boobs grow?

        John Hayabusa
      2. @John

        LOL, don’t tell me you all think she’s male? Come on, even on her appearance last week, everything about her is screaming “tomboyish islander maiden”…

        The Moondoggie
  3. I knew I should’ve trusted my Reverse Trap Sense from the episode 8 preview!

    To sum up: Rin offers Yuka to wash her back (in the nude), and Natsumi’s first reaction when people want to meet Saki is to keep her for herself.

  4. Anyone else noticed that Koharu get’s drawn more girlish the further you’re in the episode.

    Like in the beginning you’re convinced she’s a boy, then it’s questionable and at the end there’s no doubt about it that she’s a girl.

    1. True, but this could also just be due to her losing some of her gruff, uber-tsun exterior when she stops hating on Saki and other mainlanders. It’s easier to see her as a girl when she smiles.

  5. Kayano Ai is fast becoming the next Hanazawa Kana in having a recognizable moe voice.

    Maybe it’s due to my love for tomboys like Makoto in iDOLM@STER, but I had already guessed Koharu to be a tomboyish girl than a boy, so I was not surprised when Chiharu confirmed the fact.

    Yuka in bikini top = Nosebleed everywhere. Sure makes up for last week’s disappointingly short beach scene. Next week will see her in more cute pigtails.

    Kinny Riddle
  6. I hate to say it, but I think Sunrise missed the mark by focusing on the slice-of-life aspects of this show.

    I have to disagree here – Those slice-of-life episodes do serve a purpose after all. They show us just how close the girls are, and how much fun they have together, making us care about Saki moving away. I’m sure the finale will have much more of an impact that way.

    Regarding the episode: What I’d really like to know is how the girls explained Saki appearing out of nowhere, completely naked.

    1. You misunderstand – I still enjoy the slice-of-life moments, and they do add to our attachment to the characters, as you say. However, I only object to the focus on slice-of-life, as opposed to on the growing up drama, which I felt was a lot stronger.

      Well, object isn’t the right word. More like, think the show could have been stronger if they made the other choice. Maybe!

  7. “The fanservice is all plot-related” Yeah right, because they really couldn’t have the entire conversation in their room/the garden/anywhere else but the open-air bath… Not minding though. Long time since I’ve seen that much censor steam. Would they remove it for the BD?

    Personally I found the ep a bit anvilicious. Half a dozen people telling you how great your father is for coming to help people out makes it of course impossible for you to express your doubts without coming off as the biggest jerk ever. That would’ve been so much easier if dad was just being shoved around by some faceless corporation.
    I give it to Sunrise that they saved it a bit by having Ko-chan’s confession being the flipping point for Saki. But still, a bit more subtlety would have been nice.

    1. Forgot to mention: Saki really isn’t gonna be that far away from the others. ANA flies daily from Hachijojima to Haneda. Alternatively they could also take the ferry from Shimoda to Toshima and the (expensive) helicopter shuttle to Hachijojima via Oshima. Of course Rin has to lose her fear of flying first.

  8. 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.

    People will never understand that fanservice is really an important part of a plot Stilts.

    The Moondoggie

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