「宇崎月はときめきたい?」 (Uzaki Tsuki wa Tokimekitai?)
“Tsuki Uzaki Wants a Thrill?”
In this episode, we meet the true star of Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!, Uzaki Tsuki. When Hana’s mom Tsuki meets Sakurai for the first time, it sets off a domino effect that begs to question whether Sakurai’s type could be older married women.
First impressions are always fun in Uzaki-Chan because a new character’s personality is never 100% set in stone until they gradually start to shift into the craziness you can expect from them. It makes it feel like these were relatively normal people until Uzaki and Sakurai drive them into a completely different direction.
When this episode introduced us to Tsuki, it was hard to gauge how she’d approach the two. At first, she was mad at her daughter for lying about hanging out and staying the night with a scary male friend a number of times. But when she doesn’t notice Sakurai staring intently at the cat on her lap, things get a little dicey for her. For the remainder of the episode, she starts internalizing that maybe Sakurai is interested in her and how she interprets the ambiguous comedy behind Uzaki and Sakurai’s conversations make her automatically enthralled with the idea of Sakurai trying to pursue her.
As someone with a strong bias for enjoying “okaa-san” characters, Tsuki was a welcome addition to the cast and brought a lot to the table. It was funny how she was the one character to turn out to be a pseudo-love rival for Uzaki to see as dangerous for her if she wants to sweep up Sakurai without any obstacles getting in her way. This comes at full force when Uzaki decides that she’s going to study her mom’s behavior so she can act exactly like she does to cater to Sakurai’s interest in mature women. It’s all pretty funny since it drives him berserk, but it is cute to see that Uzaki takes it to heart when Sakurai says she likes the usual her.
One weird part of the episode is the cliffhanger where they end up going to an airport decked out with Detective Conan statues and memorabilia. It’d make sense as a fun cameo appearance from the beloved detective, but it’s also a point where the art of Uzaki, Sakurai, and background characters are superimposed into photorealistic backdrops. It doesn’t look too jarring or sloppy, but when you notice it, it’s hard to avoid drawing attention to it. It feels natural when that’s the show’s aesthetic like with The Amazing World of Gumball, but when every other backdrop has been drawn, digitally or otherwise, going for real photos does feel out-of-place. There’s also an odd cliffhanger with stalkers looking over them, but since it’d be in character for Ami, her dad, and Itsuhito to tail them on a romantic outing, it would be suspect if the next episode didn’t involve them spying. But I guess we’ll find out and see if that’s them or some other foreboding figures stalking the two.