Episode 05 The Opposite
Machi and Hibiki come back from their shopping in the afternoon. The two girls appear to be in super good mood. Natsu finds them at home and becomes emotional, fantasizing about Machi enrolling to high school and bringing a new friend. Natsu feels both excited and lonely. Wait, why in the first place did Hibiki come up with an idea of taking Machi to go shopping. Natsu throws the question to Hibiki, who, all the sudden gets moody. Quickly noticing the change in the air, Natsu gives up on finding an answer, instead, turns around to Machi to inform her about s request coming from Yoshio. As soon as his name pops up in the conversation, Hibiki starts acting weird.
The fifth episode is a continuous story on Machi and Hibiki, unusual pair’s shopping extravaganza at a local fashion spot Shimomura.
Just like last time, the show starts with a parody of a real apparel shop called Fashion Center Shimamura. The parody is so spot on! I can’t help but wonder why there is no tie-up promotion.
Two sparkling fashionista walk down the aisle between rice paddies. An old grandpa working in the field watches them in awe as they pass right by. It’s a corny gag scene but the unlikeliness of the situation works well.
After having made a round at two or more Shimomura stores around the town, Machi and Hibiki find a good friendship, after all that rough start. Natsu feels really happy about this development. Natsu is a male bear and guardian, but, he has a weak spot for girly things, so he gladly joins the girls talk. But right after that, his teenager-daddy switch turns on. He starts crying. He’s more than just an old-time friend of Machi, for sure.
So here is a lingering question from the last episode. What motivated Hibiki to treat Machi to go on a shopping spree out of the blue? The answer remains mysterious until… yes, now. It turns out that Hibiki got a request from her unsuspecting love interest, and all she wanted is to make him happy. Well here is the thing, she won’t admit her feeling to him on the surface, so of course she says “hell no” to him, but, she totally does it for him without telling him that she did it for him. You get it? She is “otome” a heart-throbbing teenager in love, man, real deal.
So… Yoshio orchestrated this two girl outing, huh. What is his intention? Do you think this is a part of his Machi Pop Idol strategy? If that’s the case, he might have more tricks up the sleeve. With that unfocused face, who knows how many plans he got on him… Hmmm. Strategic man.
Thanks to Natsu’s help, Machi keeps learning social skills, which is nice. Machi always chose Natsu to hang out, since she’s little, up to now. She even refused to hang out with other village kids as long as Natsu is with her. In this episode, the initiation was little forceful but Machi jumped right into the challenge, and she actually enjoyed spending a day with an acquaintance without Natsu. What she got out most is that she learned the importance of delivering her gratitude. How much will she grow by the end of the season? Thinking of that vast possibility makes me sympathize with Natsu so much.
The show’s highlight is definitely the opposite characteristics represented by Hibiki and Machi. Hibiki is a delinquent passive-aggressive teenager with low social skill. On the other hand, Machi is genuinely unable to take a hint, or in other words, read between the lines.
Hibiki is shy and naïve girl, but, in order to mask that, she is determined to appear tough and aggressive.
Machi is genuinely ignorant of other people’s intentions or feelings. The words she chose in relation to her gesture of kindness can be a double-edged sword, it could heal someone, or, it could tank someone. In the end, she learns the hard way how terrifying Hibiki can truly be, but I have a feeling that Hibiki and Machi will make good friends in the end. Let’s keep our eyes on that.
Last not but least, the character animation quality remains superb. Natsu’s design still keeps high standards. Other notable examples are Hibiki in depressed mode, and, Machi, with her cheek pulled and stretched by someone else. Throughout the episode, the gag part shines especially. Please do take an extra look at the funny scenes. In the fifth round this animation shows no wear or fatigue in animation quality. It is awesome. I’d like to send my heartfelt gratitude to the animators and the production staff!
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