It is now Episode three of Season two. If you are here and you are not up to date, I will let you know now that Spoilers are on the horizon. I ask that you go watch the other two episodes, plus this one, and then I will see you again in about an hour and a half (assuming you will binge them).
So I said in my last review that I hoped to see more of Nadeshiko this time, after she spent the whole of episode two giving everyone else some screen time, and tonight she plays a role so prominent that Chiaki and Aoi don’t appear in this episode until the post credit scene (where Aoi tells Nadeshiko a story about Mount Fuji) and Ena doesn’t appear at all. Instead we see what happens to Rin after finding out that snow and frosty roads make it too dangerous to come home right away. Meaning she had New Years Day and January Second to ‘waste’ in Shizuoka. However, she receives a ray of hope: Nadeshiko is visiting her Grandma in Hamamatsu (The city in the western side of the prefecture) on January second and third, and is also seeing a childhood friend. Rin jumps at the opportunity, and decides to camp in Hamamatsu on New Years Night, leading to the first time since Season One when the Show’s opening theme plays, the credits roll and a journey is taking place. In Rin’s case, it’s the journey to the camp by the beach, which she happily reserves for 420 yen. So the episode is translated as “Surprise Camping and Some Deep Thoughts”, and some deep thoughts they are. For the next few minutes, we witness a lovely quietness to her morning, as she simply sits at the beach, watching dog walkers and fishermen, reading and staring at the sea. Her thoughts were so deep in that moment, we might never know what they were. Perhaps it was simply an awe of the moment. Afterwards she goes to a Hot Spring Bath, then she follows through with another first. She saw the first sunrise in episode two, and here she sees the first sunset. Meaning she had a fuller experience of her time away.
Meanwhile, Nadeshiko gets up early to go to her Granny’s by train (Because Snow and Ice on the roads). But before going there, she meets up with Rin after arriving, and introduces her to a huge flock of Black-head Gulls on the tracks (For those wondering why these Gulls’ heads are white; despite their name – their heads are black in summer, but mostly white in winter, with the exception of the dark marks behind the eyes). Deciding to stop for lunch before heading to Granny’s, Nadeshiko invites Rin to get some Eel…and with only 1290 yen left in Rin’s pocket…it’s going to be a challenge to save face. And a challenge it is…Nadeshiko orders two top-grade portions – and like a scene from a Tex Avery cartoon, Rin’s eyes literally come off her face in shock (4000 yen each, they are). After numerous scenes in the program, which includes chibi designs and slight distortion of features, this is easily the most cartoony moment in the whole show (so far). Scared out of her wits over the situation, Nadeshiko, like a Boss, slams a 10,000 yen note on the table. All expenses paid. Allowing Rin to activate Foodie Mode.
Now to continue with what may or may not be a trend this season. We spoke of death being introduced somehow in the last episode…well here, we see an eel being turned into food, and it clearly suggests that the animator/s referred to a video of the meal actually being prepared (and perhaps even filming it on location over a night out with Beer). To say the least, the scene that follows is a great advertisement for eating eel. I found this scene surprising, but it was done with a degree of respect for both the viewers and the practice itself.
We then meet Nadeshiko’s Grandmother (who has a very judgemental black cat!) and Ayano Toki, Nadeshiko’s friend from middle school (Who may end up joining the girls in later episodes for a camp trip. She has that look about her). Through Ayano, we learn more about Nadeshiko – in particular, why she rides her bike everywhere, can eat like a horse, and is the only character who can break her older sister’s stoicism (Proper tough-love right there). The girls and Granny hang out all day, and we experience the passage of time without actually feeling it ourselves. In the end, they witness the next sun rise of the year – in which Run reflects on the Christmas camp. She realised how much she loves camping alone (based on what she sees and hears, and doing it at her own pace), and how it makes her appreciate aloneness (I know the english subtitles say loneliness, but I’m not sure if that’s what they mean). In the end we receive another full circle moment – Curry Pot Noodles in cold weather, before Rin goes home with her Grandpa.
So we’ll definitely be seeing more of Ayano in later episodes – suggesting the possibility of a spring or summer camp out, as she has made it clear that this is when she’ll pop up again. I found this episode especially enjoyable. In particular when it came to Rin’s Eel experience, Nadeshiko’s back story, meeting Ayano, and of course…the Judgemental Cat. I will also bring up the post credit scene…Much like Rin’s eyes popping out, Aoi has an experience as well.