Catching up and falling behind with Slow Start, Yuru Camp, Dagashi and Takunomi

Every now and then the show tosses out weird lines like this.

Slow Start 6 has little to write about. It’s the usual well-balanced dose of cheerful girly activities, friendship, kindness, innuendo, fanservice, and weird lines. I think the winning conversation this week had to do with the toughness of Eiko’s nipples, though I rather like the one in the photo above, too, though how Hana’s mind reached that concept I don’t really get. The plot of the episode was a study-sleepover that Hana holds for everyone, well, that and the fact that Tama might get annoying at times, but she is also a highly responsible person, entrusted with her family’s food budget, and now I’m hungry for chop suey.

And now that I’ve watched Yuru Camp 6, I’m hungry for just about everything, especially if you cook it on a grill. Hmm, pork jowl … Anyway, while Slow Start avoids story by emphasizing friendship and nipples, among other things, Yuru Camp avoids story with breathtaking scenery (Lake Shibire this week, and wherever place Chiaki is scouting out) and by having the girls drool over meat. Rin’s bought a cute little mini-grill that you can hold in one hand. Don’t know how sturdy it really is, but we’ll find out next week, because this week was all about prep, driving, and drooling over the food they’ll eat on the grill rather than actually cooking it. And that’s fine. It’s nice to have a show where the girls wait breathlessly for something, and when it comes it’s never a disappointment, well, maybe a minor one … No beef tongue at the supermarket!

One of the pleasant things about the show is how things that could be big events are treated matter-of-factly. That lake Shibire monster business played out as expected, even with Rin spotting it, but it was over practically before it began and we get a sense it was a minor event that existed only to get the girls in the same tent. Then there’s that old man from last episode who turned out to be Rin’s grandfather, told in almost an “oh, by the way …” manner. And finally the odd bits like the drunk girl next door and the chestnut that said hello … Oh, and we learn about charcoal.

Like kids in a candy store.

And once again a new episode appears before I’m ready for it, meaning I have to add it here. Though there’s not much to say about it, it’s an in-between camping episode, but again the girls’ enthusiasm is infectious. It makes me want to take up a new hobby. Not only do I look up the campsites on the net, but I look up the stations and towns they visit. I will probably never go to any of them … This time we learn about seasoning cast iron and wood, Caribou outdoor shops, mats, and a little bit about the sleepy town of Minobu. And in the “by the way” department, the drunk girl truly does enter their school.

Dagashi Kashi 6 introduces us to the manager of the sweets shop’s new rival konbini. Yutaka is, like Hotaru, passionate and a little insane about his passion, which is convenience stores. To an extent, I can understand his enthusiasm. konbinis in Japan truly do have everything–aside from the usual juice, beer, and bentos I get regularly, I have bought an 8gb thumb drive in one and a tie in another. One of the Lawsons nearby has very good desserts, while everyone agrees that the 7/11 makes the best coffee, and I hope when it gets warmer the FamilyMart will bring back their chicken wraps. But back to the story. Kokonotsu is worried, but he notices that a lot of the sweets at the place are too expensive, sending a shock to Yutaka, who then tries to entice Kokonotsu to join his staff. And the twelve minutes is up. I hope this, dare I say it, story arc won’t hurt the show’s old, plotless charm, but I’m worried. There was only one reference to candy this week, and it was never actually discussed. And Hotaru is still missing. Yutaka may be passionate and insane, but he is no replacement.

Hajime, who we finally meet in episode 7, is closer to a replacement than any of the others. She’s that girl who didn’t fit in at the convenience store, but the manager called her four-eyes, but she’s a fuckup, never managing to say the appropriate thing, meaning there are all sorts of reasons why she desperately asks Kokonotsu for a job. The fact that Kokonotsu is only fifteen but the more mature one of the interview will tell you how it went, but we have our new character anyway. She’s crazy, but not the same kind of crazy as Hotaru, who is more of a rich-girl crazy. Hajime is more generic, but she wins points for pointing out the cubist elements on the box for Chocoballs.

If Dagashi Kashi is going to abandon its title of the season’s most educational anime, Takunomi will easily take its place, edging out Yuru camp (don’t get me wrong, you learn a lot from YC as well). Episode 6 was about sake and fish pairing, with a lot of detail about the various types of sake and how much of the grain is used. The more discarded, the higher the quality. I didn’t know that, but I rarely drink sake even though I live here. For me it’s like wine, endless varieties and you don’t know which one to get. But now I know a little more than I did before. Oh, the fish in that episode made me even MORE hungry.

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