If you’re going to make a reasonable representation of school life in Japan, you need to check all of the appropriate boxes. School festival? Check. Maid cafe? Check. Crushing romantic disappointment? Probably.
With the regional competition successfully out of the way, it’s time to take a moment to relax before getting back to the practice room. And what better way is there to let go for a moment than a school festival? A lot of things, probably. Those festivals looks like a lot of work. But that timing dictates that we need a light-hearted break after all that tension and drama. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though (I’ll show myself out).
The festival itself had all the standard fair, but there was also a good amount of trope subversion and self-awareness. Maid cafes are a dime a dozen in school anime, because if you can dress your main characters up in humiliatingly cute costumes, you pretty much have to. All of the art and character designs here are pristine as usual, from Kumiko’s Alice in Wonderland maid outfit and Mizore’s slightly more traditional look, to Asuka and her hat. Speaking of Asuka, she is pretty spot-on with her analysis of Kumiko – but it’s hard not to be with a catch-all like romance trouble or self-consciousness. Music also makes an appearance at the festival for a moment, which although the choice of music was not overly entertaining to a band geek it certainly draws the crowds. The animation once again follows the music perfectly – a testament to the animators’ attention to detail and sync.
It can’t be all sunshine and rain- OK I almost did it again, but you get the point. There has to be something more going on during an event like a school festival than just festivities. In this case, Shuichi finally gets a bit more development in his endeavor to win Kumiko’s heart in the most shy way possible – that is until he is interrupted by the most on-the-nose mood-breaking ghost you will ever see. We all know who the real love interest is here. Reina doesn’t accomplish much either, to be fair. She manages to trick some younger girls away from her beloved, but she is otherwise in the same longing position as always. Could be a rough go for her in the future.
There’s a little more information about what’s going on with Kumiko’s sister, but it’s all still pretty vague. If she’s not just dropping out because of grades, then there must be something more depressing on the horizon. But the real drama here is with Taki-sensei, and once again Kumiko is the one who knows every secret. We already knew about his wife, but now we get to see his continued devotion to her memory. Does that mean someone can’t move on? No. But it might be a long-shot for his first real relationship after losing his true love to be one of his students. His connection to Kitauji is also quite strong, with his late wife’s life wish to lead the school to a gold at the nationals. It’s a strong emotional arch for the series, but who are we kidding. There’s no way they’re going to lose the nationals. Wait. I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere recently…
8.8/10 (Very Good)
Summary: Everyone tries to make some romantic headway at the school festival. Some people are just harder to reach than others – especially if you’re after your teacher.
– Their competition piece would be far more entertaining.
– I’m really liking this pair recently.
– That’s a sham of a cat cafe.
– Kumiko must know Shuichi likes her. Just look at her face.
– Sweet ride.
– Reina has some stiff competition… yep. Not sorry.
– Every umbrella’s final destination.