Oh my God. This anime just keeps getting better. I haven’t been this excited since Violet Evergarden! That is saying a hell of a lot.
Spoilers and Spoils included!
Sayaka remembers an old flame who dumped her but kindled her desire for another girl. The flame reappears in a later episode and gets a kind of comeuppance.
Rika and Miyako are confirmed as an adult lesbian couple who are obviously very much in love. Rika wants to keep it a secret but Sayaka can see it for what it is. She also gets some advice from Miyako.
Then there is a sports festival keeping the student council busy. Another trope. Doesn’t every high school anime focus on a sports festival? It is a necessary break. You can’t have romantic triangles and angst and yearning all the time. They managed to squeeze a bit in, though.
Yuu meets up with an old friend from middle school. The old friend had really wanted Yuu to continue playing softball but never got up to asking her to go to the same high school as her because she knew that Yuu would have done it and it wouldn’t have been Yuu’s best choice. There was a subtle scent of subtext here. It is a pleasing scent. Not everything has to be in your face. Real life is full both of the obvious and the subtle.
The school has a lodge just for summer study camps? That’s one affluent school! So the student council goes off to live in the lodge for a couple days to practice the play. The three females share a bath and a bedroom. And all three are glad it’s not just two of them or things would certainly get out of hand.
Yeah, the communal bath is another very common trope. I am not familiar with Japanese culture but I have heard that communal baths are much more common there than the US is today. (In times past, the communal shower was universally common here in schools.) But at least this bath wasn’t done as fan service. There is no fan service in this show. There is some kissing and embracing but everything belongs there. It is a love story. Nothing is gratuitous. What is erotic as all hell is all the things they are wanting to do but holding back for fear they would alienate the other. PG-rated eroticism.
There is a scene with Miyako trying to nuzzle Riko while she’s on the phone. Subdued but precious and so domestic. I’ve done exactly the same with my wife…
Things are getting intense. The crux of it is the play for the school cultural festival.
(Another common trope – but for all I know it may be very common in Japanese schools. I know we never had one nor did my children.) Touko learns a bit about her sister from a guy who knew her. (He’s helping Rika coach the play.) The impact is a devastating identity crisis. The lead in the play mirrors the inner chaos and turmoil within her.
Sayaka likes the play. The ending seems to “play” into her hand. Touko likes the play because it suggests an easy out from her despair. But Koyomi, the author, has had her doubts about it. It didn’t feel right. Yuu realizes why the ending isn’t right and gets with Koyomi to suggest a different ending.
Koyomi Kanou is my waifu out of this show. If I were 45 years younger and in the same school, she’s the one I’d be courting. She is smart and creative, yet doesn’t shove herself into the limelight. Kind of quiet and reserved and deep. Yuu might be my second choice – but since I’m not female there’d be zero chance of success. I still like her character very very much.
I am dying to see this alternate ending to the play and how it affects the Sayaka and Touko.