「悠久のオベリスク」 (Yuukyuu no Obelisk)
“The Eternal Obelisk”
I made it out of the storm! The residents of Manoyama, however, are not out of the woods just yet ever since they just got the bad news from Kadota that they could get absorbed within the next two years. For such a high stakes situation, the Tourism board and the town’s residents are taking it in stride as they aim to focus on making the Mizuchi Festival on their own terms. It’s this drive to do things their way that diffuses the obstacles that they encounter throughout the episode.
The TV station came back with a vengeance with an offer to broadcast the festival, but in a way that’ll plug an upcoming idol as both a replacement actor for the Dragon Song play and the new Queen of Manoyama. Being Amamiya is suffering since his efforts to try and keep Kume from twisting Manoyama’s image for ratings, but the warning he gave was a good last effort on his behalf to get the Tourism board to assess the situation, and determine whether they’d want exposure if it meant selling out to the same station that turned the Founding Festival broadcast into a humiliating hit piece.
Yoshino’s growth is also taken into consideration as the episode reflects on how far she’s come compared to the Yoshino from earlier in the year who wanted to head back to Tokyo as soon as possible. We saw shades of her growth in the last episode with her take on what she sees in Manoyama, but she can personally see her development as she fights to keep Manoyama staying strong with the upcoming festival. There was also a cute moment when they remembered her birthday, and gave her a birthday cake with elements of Japanese desserts to fit well with the Tourism board’s efforts to blend old and new in their projects since Yoshino came on-board.
The episode itself wasn’t too heavily eventful as it was the build-up towards what will ultimately make the festival more meaningful than a last ditch effort to avoid elimination. It’s the accumulation of the town’s treasures and uniqueness that the festival aims to pride itself on with everyone in town getting in on contributing. The most pivotal character in the developments that occurred in this episode was Sandal-san, as he discovers a stone memorial of all of the people who built Sakura Pond, including great-grandparents. His family lineage plants a seed in Kadota’s head to use the festival as a way to court Sandal’s hometown as a sister city. Rather than set the festival up as one last hurrah, it’s shaping up to be a significant method for the Tourism board to try and make a joint effort to keep the town floating now that it’s had further resolve to build onto its shopping district. I’ll be incredibly sad next week when the last episode airs because I’ve spent so much time getting to know and understand everyone in Manoyama, and it did such an effective job at making its characters endearing, sympathetic, funny, and determined. I’m really hoping for the best outcome, and cheering that they’ll be able to get everything together by the festival. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it, and what will happen with everyone