I’m fascinated by the way Summertime Render cycles through different modalities seemingly every episode. It’c clearly quite intentional, the way each ep has a very distinct personality. I don’t know is whether this is a product of Watanabe-sensei’s direction, Tanaka Yasunori’s writing style, or some hybrid of the two. What I do know is that in lesser hands it could be a distraction, but here it serves the material very well. The tone is always appropriate for the content, and maybe that means Summertime Render couldn’t function if it was constructed any other way.
One of the things I still don’t quite get is why Mio’s shadow has a personality so different than the original, when that doesn’t seem to be the norm. This is uncomfortable for Mio, since her shadow knows all her hang-ups but completely lacks the give-a-fuck gene. She calls Mio out on her self-loathing (which amounts to her tomboyish nature, and lack of Ushio’s exotic European features), and threatens to spill the beans to Shinpei about her true feelings unless the original does so herself. And credit where it’s due, by the evidence it seems to be working by the end of the episode.
Meanwhile, Hishigata-sensei is trying to justify his actions to his son, and admits Sou’s real mother died four years earlier. He also notes that the Hishigatas have been doing the shadows’ bidding for 300 years, as if this somehow justifies his actions. It doesn’t but mind you, the shadow phenomenon forces difficult decisions on the humans pretty much non-stop. Take Nezu-san, for example. It turns out he has the shadow who killed his wife nailed to the floor of his house, and while he hates it for what it did, he hasn’t been able to bring himself to finish it off. He attempts to sneak off and do so, though Ushio refuses to let him. She could have done to it what she did to shadow Mio, but it would still have done what it did – and understandably, that’s something Nezu just can’t get past.
As for Shinpei, he’s plumb wore out (kudos to Watanabe, I noticed the bags 10 seconds before Tokiko commented on them). He follows her advice and gets a few hours of sleep, and here something happens I’m not quite clear on. Shinpei notes that the edge of time has retreated a bit – giving him more loops to play with, potentially – but it’s not obvious (to me at least) whether this is because he finally got some rest, or for some other reason. In any event it’s good news for the good guys, who are about to split off into teams to do their last bit of recon before the festival, when the merde really hits the fan.
Before they do, Mio gives shadow Ushio some hair she’s recovered from their bathroom, which Ushio uses to regenerate her- hair? Perhaps that was all she could use it for? Otherwise it may not have been the most practical choice. She and Shin-chan go to search the home of Hitobuchi-sensei – “Bucchi”, their old teacher. But the news is not good, and given the role Bucchi played in their childhood, the two of them have a little extra incentive to make the shadows pay. Perhaps the most important part of this scene sees Ushio – apparently possessed – noting that Haine is a fool because she can never regenerate no matter how many humans she consumes, because both her body and Shiori’s are gone.
Ushio and Shinpei rescue some kids in the forest (from shadow Bucchi), one of whom remarks that they act like a married couple. The teams meet up, and it seems as if the shadows are lying low, playing it safe until they execute their grand plan at the shrine festival. If only it could be stopped – but the only way to do that would be with the cooperation of the priest, Karikiri-san (Konishi Katsuyuki). So Shinpei sets off to meet with him, which he was on his way to do way back at the beginning of all things, before he was so rudely interrupted by a bullet to the head. Karikiri-san seems like the last piece of the puzzle – the final variable whose role in all this has thus far been unexplored. But all that, of a certainty, is about to change…