「雪解けのクリスタル」 (Yukidoke no Crystal)
“The Crystal of Melting Snow”
In just one episode, they announced the possible collapse of the Merchants Board and Manoyama’s absorption into it’s neighboring town, Tomikura. I knew something was going down when they skipped the opening sequence, but just when you think the Tourism Board (I finally got the name right!) took one step forward by settling where the Belum pastry shop will be and having Chitose’s approval for the festival, here comes Kadota with the steel chair. It would be sad if the anime ended on the note of the festival being Manoyama’s last hurrah before they become a part of Tomikura, but it sounds like it’d be a moving way to end the town’s legacy with a bang.
Additionally, we’re at another crossroad with Yoshino as her future has much more uncertainty than the others. While Maki and Sanae have found their calling, and Ririko and Shiori have a better state of belonging in their town, Yoshino is finding that now that her job duration is running out, she’s unsure of where to take her talents. Yoshino finds that going back to Tokyo might not guarantee her something as lucrative as she has in Manoyama, but she’s also uncertain of whether she’d be able to stay, especially with this news that Manoyama might face a merger. It made it all the more touching when she mentioned during the Merchant Board’s meeting that she came to Manoyama as an outsider because they accepted her, but will other towns offer a helping hand her way like this town did?
This is reflected effectively through Akiyama’s motive for not being upfront on why he didn’t want Belum to rent out his business. His experiences with an outsider renting out his building only to flee would’ve cultivated the town’s resentment towards people from the outside coming in to “help” them, and also explains why Yoshino was seen as an eyesore by the older folk during the earlier episodes. And with the newly edited play that Maki’s troupe is developing on the Dragon playing side-by-side with the Merchant Board’s tumultuous meeting, it really hammers the point in how the story meditates on how the townspeople, the Merchant Board and the Tourism Board need to be able to see eye-to-eye on a conclusion that everyone will see as beneficial in order to be assured that the end result will be worth it. Yoshino did explain it when she justified not wanting to push Akiyama to give up the building to revitalize the town, but it was poignant to have the outrage during the meeting align with Maki’s troupe staging the moment when the townspeople’s music ended up frightening the dragon into banishing itself. If there wasn’t such a downer reveal at the end, I would’ve said the outcome was hopeful in giving Yoshino a reason to stay and help out as the shopping district is slowly evolving.
The lighthearted scenes in the episode were so great that they caught me off-guard even more about the ending. In particular, it was extremely cute when Chitose gave her approval of the festival and caused Kadota to make up with her a little bit. The show does a wonderful job at showing how far everyone has come from where they were in the beginning, but Chitose really surprised me in how well they developed her from being a resentful obstacle in everyone’s way to a resourceful elder who would go out of her way to help out Yoshino and Ririko with things she would’ve written off as that old man’s nonsense. The small details in her warming up to the Tourism Board such as opening up to Ririko’s work with them helped slowly open the door for her to eventually support Ririko’s curiosities with traveling the world and showing genuine concern for Kadota’s health. I also got a kick out of Erika openly hoping that Belum would buy out her mom’s cafe. That’d be one way to make Manoyama a place for Erika to feel at home! At this point, however, I’m hoping there will still be a Manoyama to return to, and that the merger won’t put a complete end to the town’s development.
ONE MORE THING! I have some unfortunate news; I’m within the trajectory of Hurricane Irma! I should be safe since I’m more inland, but my power might shut off if it ends up steering closer to land. On the off-chance that my power and Internet connection goes out, my next posts of Centaur no Nayami will either be delayed or handed over to someone else. Hopefully, it won’t impact Aho Girl, Hajimete no Gal, or Sakura Quest, but I’ll focus on watching where the storm goes, staying safe, and keeping in mind that a believing heart is magic.