「早坂愛は浸かりたい / 藤原千花は超食べたい / 白銀御行は出会いたい / 花火の音は聞こえない 前編」 (Hayasaka Ai wa Tsukaritai / Fujiwara Chika wa Chō Tabetai / Shirogane Miyuki wa Deaitai / Hanabi no Oto wa Kikoenai, Zenpen)
“Ai Hayasaka Wants to Get Soaked / Chika Fujiwara Really Wants to Eat It / Miyuki Shirogane Wants to See You / I Can’t Hear the Fireworks, Part 1”
We’re three weeks into their vacation and the student council members are well into their summer plans. As predicted, Kaguya and Shirogane haven’t had the courage to reach out to each other and have spent most of their time agonizing about it. Chika seems to be enjoying her travels around the world with her sisters, one of which we have yet to make proper acquaintance with. And Ishigami is apparently roaming the countryside solo.
In the first chapter, while sulking about Shirogane, Kaguya finds out from Hayasaka that Shirogane uses Twitter. She helps Kaguya create an account and from then on, Hayasaka’s attempt to enjoy a solo bath time is constantly interrupted by a technologically challenged Kaguya. Although the chapter focuses on how dependent Kaguya is on Hayasaka and how much of Hayasaka’s life revolves around her mistress, I think its true significance lies in these words: “You’ve never succeeded with that pattern before. Not even once.” Hayasaka tells Kaguya that all her manipulative efforts have never enticed the president to make the first move. I’m hoping this slight revelation will encourage Kaguya to openly express her feelings rather than use deceptive tactics. The more ‘lip-touching’ incidents we get, the more the gap between the two will lessen.
The second chapter is possibly my favourite in Kaguya-sama so far. Chika is back in town and does so with a bang. When she enters residential ramen shop Hayata Tenryu, Chika unknowingly goes up against ramen giant Saburo Odajima. A charismatic Chika breaks his cool with her particular ramen order, proving that she can stand on the same stage as the ‘Metro Area’s Big Four Ramen Kings’. The entire sequence has vibes similar to cooking battles in Shokugeki no Souma, one of my top three food anime of all time. You can imagine me yelling “Chika, gambatte!” from my chair, waving a Chika-branded flag while the scene unravelled. To top it all off, when she created her mini-ramen, my jaw dropped because I’d just discovered that my favourite anime character of the Winter 2019 Season (yeah, I said it) eats her ramen like I do. Forget being on team Kaguya or Shirogane. From now on, I’m on team Chika all the way. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I have a feeling she’ll be garnering the respect of the other three ramen monsters in time.
In our third chapter, we’re given a pretty solid build-up for what’s coming in the final episode. Kaguya and Shirogane yearn for one another and deeply regret not making any other plans other than the 24th’s festival. Their feelings lead them both to an empty student council office, however, at entirely different times in the day. I’ll be honest and say that I thought they might actually see each other, even if for a second, but that would make things too easy wouldn’t it? It’ll definitely make their reunion a lot more emotional at the matsuri though. Just another ten x’s on the calendar before that day comes around.
But the real gem in this episode is revealed after the credits. Kaguya’s poignant and emotional monologue explores her childhood, one ridden with solitude and distance between herself and all those around her including her very own family. Affection and love have never been staples in her life, which explains why this first love of hers is a challenging one. But even with all the sadness and solitude that cloud her memories, she still holds onto hope. Hope that she can finally create memories surrounded by people who care about her. The only thing is… this chapter is called “I Can’t Hear the Fireworks, Part 1.” What does that mean for next week’s episode?