「 ハルノカゼ」 (Haru no Kaze)
“The Wind of Spring”
There ain’t a whole lot to say about episode oh-too of Hana no Uta because it’s simply more of what we’ve seen in episode one; more of its playfully laid-back slice-of-life, more of its happy-go-luckiness and its completely nonchalant attitude, more of Ryochimo’s visual pizzazz, and (a lot) more random bouts of fanservice. If you liked the premiere, you’d definitely be digging the style of its follow-up. As far as I can tell, the show still seems completely relaxed as it goes about its business, but it is not something I particularly mind. Next to the meatier offerings of the season, such as the sensory overloading Kill la Kill or the ridiculously fun(ny) Valvrave, Yozakura Quartet has carved out a niche for itself with its brand of low-calories playfulness.
While the episode was spent on an average day in the lives of the characters, the general hijinks that they get up to still feel cartoony and spontaneous; the general tomfoolery includes things like Aoi’s adorable head-balancing act and Kyousuke’s ogre-sense. We see Hime going about her klutzy school life and indulging in her ramen passions, as well as a super-powered workout spar between Hime and Kotoha that seems to go way beyond mere “exercise”. Even the spurts of fanservice feel the same way, all very tongue-in-cheek and spontaneous. Sure, you could extrapolate all you want from power-sealing kiss between Aoi and Kotoha (as I know people are bound to do) but I’d like to think it was another one of those these moments; Did it have to be a kiss? Of course not, but things happen and the show only ask you to just go along with it. You can also tell that Ryochimo and his team really in tune with the nature of this show and are injecting their own brand of playfulness; the result being scenes like Kyousuke’s stop-motion dash out of the office or Aoi lazily dodging the random projectiles during the spar.
The core storyline still hasn’t quite taken shape yet, even as the show starts moving towards some of the heavier plot elements, one of which is the underlying tensions between the human and youkai populace. Despite the seemingly harmonious outlook of the town,Shidare hints at the Senate’s wariness by bringing up a past incident involving Touka’s uncontrollable strength. Likewise when Kotoha goes berserk as a result of Lily, there are hints of a bloody past. Some humans are still distrustful of Youkai, and for good reason, because these events show that a well-meaning Youkai can also be a potential threat, and it does seem the show intends on tackling this theme in the narrative. But as to the other major player, Lily, we’re still left wondering about her objective; Why is she going about painting the town red and inciting supernatural chaos? We’ve seen her in cahoots with Aoi’s brother, Enjin, in the last episode, but in all likelihood they’re probably pursuing different goals.
For now it seems clear that Yozakura Quartet is going to keep this act going, but I do wonder if the show will retain this quirky, spontaneous nature even as we delve into the more dramatic part of its story. I can’t really imagine the show any way else at this point, and it’ll be interesting to see how dramatically they are willing to shift the tone of the show as we go down this road.
ED: 「ツキヨミ」 (Tsukiyomi) by phatmans after school