Sasameki 11, Kimi ni Todoke 12, Yumeiro 12

Another nice episode of Sasameki Koto, and a more subdued one than we’ve recently gotten. Ironic because this is your basic water park episode and all that means.

Let’s see, we got one confirmed couple, two would-be couples, and two comic relief characters. There’s some jockeying about for position since the would-be’s cannot be mixed, until Kiyori smartly drags off one would-be and both comic characters, leaving Murasame and Kazama alone with Tomoe. Good enough, except it breaks up the confirmed couple. Never mind. They’re confirmed already.

This is nearly too much for Murasame to handle. She spends much of the episode laughing and sounding … woah, girlish. Even her normal sentences have an edge of thrill to them. You get the idea that the episode will end in disappointment for her. Well, yes and no. For the most part everything that happens is muted by the noises and sights you find in a water park. Sometimes the characters in the scene are in the background. You get the impression that the girls’ little stories are just one of hundreds going on at that place, and that none of them are as important as we think they are.

So Murasame has some ups and downs in an episode full of vignettes. Mostly ups. After Tomoe destroys her in a swimming duel she winds up resting her head on Kazama’s leg, then teaches her how to swim. It’s heaven for Murasame. No, it’s Aoi who again gets the heartbreak part. Here’s where the most affecting moments of the show come in. Aoi is stunned to see the two so happy together (During a song insert. Every time Aoi’s heart is broken she gets at least a bit of a song insert. Doesn’t seem fair), but to her credit, swallows her disappointment and puts on a smile.

And she becomes part of the group. She has begun to realize, for all her fear of being alone, that she isn’t, really. And on the train ride home she has matured enough to discuss Murasame’s relationship with Kazama with Tomoe. And later begins to write a story. Good for her.

One more thing. What the hell was that silly song they were playing in the first scene?

Kimi ni Todoke continues with Kurumi’s manipulation of Sawako. It’s quite clever: Sawako is grateful to Ryou for saving her from an errant baseball, so set them up and then have Kazehaya discover them. Add to that the seed planted last episode, that Sawako needs to branch out and talk to more people, and Sawako is more than willing to be an unknowing pawn in Kurumi’s mechanations.

Exposed!

It works! That is, Kazehaya is dumb enough to fall for Kurumi’s lies about Sawako’s love interests. But I can’t think this will last for long. Ryou and Sawako would quickly deny any romantic interest. Ryou has a note he must know was forged. Too many people are on to Kurumi. Even outsiders like Pin recognize her phoniness. Some, like Yano, will begin to counterattack.

Plotting ... plotting ...

Unfortunately the people most involved in all this, i.e., Sawako and Kazehaya are the most vulnerable people of the lot. I suspect we’ll have to endure a lot of scenes full of stumbling internal monologues and shocked and hurt faces before we see them as a couple again (I might be wrong; the next episode is entitled “Love”). I realize this is the nature of the show and the reason many people love it, but they drag it out so long I lose interest.

On the other hand, Ryou telling Sawako that he likes Yoshida was a nice plot-spinner. And I’m looking forward to what Yano has in store. As for Kurumi, you can’t help but pity her and her desperation.

I’ll finish up the girly shows with a dose of Yumeiro Patissiere. The story isn’t much, but it has some nice moments. But we’ll start with a bit of schoolgirl maliciousness at Ichigo’s expense.

Of course she will. This is Ichigo we're talking about.

And so, her elaborate croque en bouche winds up all over the floor, and the hurried replacement doesn’t sell well at the Christmas charity event. A trumpeter named Yousuke is the only customer, but he’s afraid to give it to a girl, Mariko, he abandoned seven years ago when he went to New York to play with a jazz ensemble.

Advice from a middle-schooler.

So of course the A-Team comes to the rescue, encouraging him and trying to track the girl down. Nice touches: Mariko locates HIM when he plays the trumpet, and the cake the A-Team makes for him is another croque en bouche, which can also serve as a wedding cake. Amazing how it turns out, huh? Not a bad episode, but the fairies are away doing fairy-holiday stuff, so they’re not around to liven things up. It looks like next week will be all fairies, all the time!

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