“The Bones that Slumber in Summer”
The Death of Yuriko’s Grandmother:
How many skeletons are there in the Hokkaido countryside? A hell of a lot, if Sakurako-san is anything to go by. As expected, we’ve got another episodic mystery this week, with a few more hints to Sakurako’s backstory thrown in to keep things interesting. At this rate, it seems like we’ll peel back the mystery of her life with each passing episode until it’s time to reveal the truth. Sooner rather than later, I hope.
For now, Yuriko is brought back into the fold and her grandmother is the centerpiece. At first, I thought this episode was going to break the routine when the bones were found in the first few minutes. Time wasn’t wasted on setting up the mystery; just like that like we’d already fulfilled the Weekly Bones Quota. That irritating inner world sequence pops up again, breaking the tension, before Sakurako goes in on the corpse to reveal some details. First, the person had died last Fall; second, it appears the death was caused directly from the impact of the fall, but from the injury to the neck. It’s a painful way to go, but if all is to believed – which seems the case here, as Sakurako’s words are being presented as gospel truth – then the victim didn’t suffer for too long.
After that, I thought the mystery was over, but then I remembered that cafe scene of Yuriko in the opening, and when I realised it was happening this week, I pieced together the rest of the story. Turns out her grandmother was the victim, and she’d been missing all this time. What follows is Yuriko telling the story of her grandma looking after her grandpa (who suffered with dementia, yet they didn’t even know it). She regrets all of what happened and blames herself for the tragedy, but it all comes together at the end when a bittersweet ending is revealed. I had no idea where Sakurako was going with her deductions, but after looking over the paintings by Yuriko’s grandpa, it all seemed to come full circle. Yuriko was overcome with emotion, and for a moment I was taken aback at how well composed the final sequence was. The various shots of the fields, the surprise on Yuriko’s face, and then the image of her grandmother turning back one last time, which was a poignant moment to end on, and the most visually impressive of the series thus far.
Oh So Convenient:
Once again, the mystery is wrapped up within its own episode, which leaves little to the imagination. It’s fun to watch, but there isn’t much else I can add… other than share a few concerns. First off, Sakurako’s assumptions are always being presented as fact, which is starting to irk me; she’s far too perfect as she is right now (expect for the fact that she touched her face with the same gloves she used to touch the skeleton – ew…), so hopefully as we delve further into her deceased younger brother we will learn more about her character until she actually feels like a real person. At this point she’s just spouting out words – she always knows what’s happening before it’s happening, and Shoutarou plays the straight man. It’s funny, and I’m enjoying it, but I’d rather we dig beneath the dirt and reveal what’s going on in the minds of these characters.
Another point worth bringing up is how co-incidental this all feels. I understand that they’re bringing the already-introduced characters into the mix, but Yuriko being part of the mystery after last week’s horrible events just felt forced and far too convenient. At this rate the teacher and other recurring male student are bound to get their own episode as well; if that’s the case, I can’t say I’m thrilled at the prospect. So far everything just seems to be falling into place far too easily – I want something (or someone) to bulldoze in and send everything into uncontrollable chaos. As I mentioned before, hopefully this will come once we learn more about Sakurako’s past, as well as how she and Shoutarou first met, but as right now Sakurako-san is becoming too comfortable in its own routine for my liking.
Overview – What’s Next?:
While this was my least favourite episode so far, it was also the best looking. It doesn’t make up for the bad habits that are forming, but I’m still liking this one a lot. I’m mostly just waiting for the past to become relevant in the present, but I suspect we’ll have a few more episodic mysteries in the coming weeks. Hopefully they’ll reveal more about the characters along the way and provide us with something to chew on rather than presenting a mystery and wrapping it up before we have time to appreciate the hints and clues along the way.
Full-length images: 31.