Kurumi continues her assault in Kimi ni Todoke, but its nature is still up in the air. It seems it’s to develop a conflict within Sawako, so that she has to choose between Kazehaya and Kurumi’s interests and make her miserable. Or something. To build up the friendship Kurumi interrupts whatever Sawako is doing at the time, i.e., being a pest. Sawako’s too nice and too thrilled to making a friend like that to get pissed off, but Yano and Yoshida aren’t …
We learn from Yoshida just how manipulative Kurumi can be, but she and Yano don’t intervene, perhaps because they believe there’s nothing to worry about. And there isn’t. The other parts of the episode deal with Sawako and Kazehaya, who are falling in love but don’t realize it, or don’t want to admit it, leading to lots of nervous moments and thumping heart noises. Until Sawako learns that Kazehaya is as nervous around her as she is with him.
Which is perhaps why this episode doesn’t work for me. Kurumi might be able to delay it, but it’s inevitable whom Kazehaya will choose, even if it’s not clear to Sawako. And this I suppose is the important thing; it is Sawako’s show, after all. All Kurumi will manage to do is gum up the works a little before she gets rejected. No real tension here, except in Sawako’s head.
Railgun 10 brings a step up in quality. Not only do things happen but how they happen is well-integrated with more personal moments, mostly. We’re saved the whole “Will Saten listen to the Level-Upper song?” decision by having her do it before the ep even begins.
Meanwhile, Judgement actually engages in some useful detective work as they try to figure out what Level-Upper actually is, with the help of the disrobing-happy scientist Harumi … heh. There is one long infodump scene that works well. It makes sense in a way, and its understandable; what’s more, it’s structured so that one girl’s speculation leads to another girl’s speculation leading to a conclusion leading to action. While it goes on a little too long, it’s a vast improvement over earlier exposition scenes.
And the personal moments work too … mostly. There’s a touching phone call between Uihara and a remorseful Saten, which indirectly drives the former into the hands of the enemy … heh. But the show loses some steam when Misaka and Kuroko rush out to rescue Uihara only wind up reasserting their friendship in the corridor, while . . . Heh and the captive Uihara speed off in a car. Well, it’s not a perfect episode by any means, for one thing, Touma doesn’t appear, but the show seems to have everything together again.
Yumeiro Patissiere is, after all, a children’s show, so you can’t expect the meanness of that last episode to last too long. Basically all that happens is Ichigo runs home in despair and instead, gets a recharge.
You know it won’t be too bad when you see that Vanilla, who was all “You’re no longer my partner!” last week, has followed her out of worry. When they accidentally see each other, sincere but quick apologies clear up everything. In fact, the episode is almost all cheerful. Ichigo gets TLC from her family, visits her deceased grandmother’s bakery and we meet the man who now runs it. It’s here that Ichigo’s batteries get their biggest charge.
Just what I expected would happen, though it’s even happier than I had thought. Her family is happy to see her, her prodigy sister is amazed by her cooking skills, and Ichigo regains her confidence. Oh, they add a little plot by giving Ichigo her grandmother’s recipe book, which is locked and the key gone, but mainly what we get is a little therapy, a little escape from the pressures of school. You know, like a holiday. And watching Ichigo sift flour with her sister, I began to relax a little too.