What They Say:
Episode 4: “A Small Love Has Bloomed”
It’s festival time at Usagiyama, and while spirits are soaring and everyone dons their festive wear, Anko refuses to be a part of any of it. Most would say she hates festivals, but there’s something (or someone) that’s on Anko’s mind that’s keeping her from joining in.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Yay! We don’t start off with the bird narrating! Instead, it seems to be a flashback to a festival in the past where a slightly smaller Anko was dressed up as a princess of some sort for the festivities.
We come to the present, where Anko apparently does not like festivals, or at least all of the work and bother associated with them. Too bad for her the major festival of the year for Usagiyama is coming up. Things get complicated for Anko as she is ordered to help out at the family shop when her friends had already arranged a trip to the local museum on the day of the festival. Now, normally a trip to the museum may not seem all that interesting to a grade schooler, but in this case it’s not just Anko’s two girl friends who are going but also two of their male classmates. It was already hinted earlier in the episode that one of the boys is the one that Anko has a crush on (Tamako’s friends Midori and Kanna figure this out quickly while Tamako herself is utterly clueless).
So, Anko works hard to convince her father to allow her to skip out on the family shop on the day of the festival, which he is not about to allow, as it is one of their busiest days of the year. In the end, she manages to get early leave (she had to wake up extra early to do much of the work she would otherwise have missed later in the day), but instead of meeting for the group excursion to the museum, Anko gets sidetracked by the woman who runs the flower shop, who is in charge of dressing up the little children for the festival procession where people dress up in Heian era costumes. Anko’s help is needed in dressing up a little princess, who is wearing a costume similar to the one Anko wore in the flashback. Through helping the little girl and watching the processions (including the carrying of the portable shrine, which is a small side tale in itself this episode, as the shrine’s golden ornament, a bird, is broken and the local shopkeepers in charge draft Dera, painted in gold paint, to stand in), Anko appears to rediscover her love for the local festival.
At the end of the festival, the two boys from the museum excursion appear, as they had all gotten a souvenir for Anko who could not make it. This, of course, sends Anko scurrying away to hide, embarrassed at the appearance of her crush. It is revealed which one she likes (not the one we were led to expect) and Tamako finally learns what the fuss was all about.
A decent outing, with some slapstick humor (the chase to capture Dera for his use as a shrine ornament) and a somewhat sweet story involving Anko’s first love and her nostalgia for festivals past. It would seem that someone got the memo that Dera’s involvement needed to be removed from center stage and redeployed as a comical side character. Tamako herself is also shunted to the side somewhat, but that might be for the best since, frankly, she’s just not that interesting a lead. Sadly, we’re unlikely to have the spotlight stay on the more interesting Anko.
Anko appears to be unhappy that the local festival is coming up, which means hard work for her and the possibility that she may not be able to go out with her friends on that day. That matters, since her friends have managed to get the boy she secretly likes to come along on a group outing to the local museum. In the end, Anko does not quite make it to the group visit, but her love may have gotten a slight boost through other means. An entertaining episode, helped largely by the focus being on Anko, a somewhat more interesting character than our supposed leads. The focus will shift elsewhere, sadly, in the next episode.
Streamed by: The Anime Network
Apple iMac with 4GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard