Preparation for the school festival is in full swing! In addition to preparing a class musical, it seems like Shima is having a hard time expressing his feelings and Mitsumi is feeling the effects of being too helpful. And while Shima thinks this might be something that connects them, it becomes clear that the two of them work through and move on from things very differently.
I’m going to be honest! When I finished watching this episode last night, I sat down for a moment and thought “Hmm! That was pretty interesting, but I’m not really sure what to talk about!” And even now I have no idea where my thoughts are going to take me. I guess we’ll start with the overarching story in this episode. Since the school festival is coming up, the first and second years all put on larger events for the school. After a very passionate speech from their festival rep, Mitsumi’s class decides to do a musical. As a musical enjoyer I was super stoked to hear about this! Usually we’ll get school plays, but a whole musical? I was pleasantly surprised! And even to have Shima sing??? Thank you Skip and Loafer, I didn’t know I needed this. But, while I may be super excited about this development, we know that this probably won’t sit well with Shima. Throughout the previous episodes we’ve heard about him being a child actor and how he doesn’t particularly want to deal with that part of his life anymore. Do we know why? He said he only continued to make his mother happy, but I think there’s just too much guilt he’s sitting in that he can’t actually confront his feelings.
Even as the episode continues we see that the characters closer to Shima express their concern. Mukai, Mitsumi, and Chris all comment on this development. But at the end of the day, they all leave the decision up to Shima. I specifically like the conversation with Chris when Shima explains how he ended up getting roped into everything. Shima puts on an act for everyone at school to give him the least amount of trouble. He’s generally agreeable and gets along well with most of his classmates despite not being particularly close to most of them. In order to keep up the facade, he felt like he had to say “yes”. And perhaps when it’s just him and his classmates that know next to nothing about him, everything will have a happy ending… but if others like Ririka or his mom find out? Hoo…. I think the drama is gonna spike. I think Chris said it the best, “[…] If you’re more concerned about breaking character than your own feelings, you’re gonna snap at some point.” And I fully agree with that! Shima. I’m begging. Please take into consideration your feelings and how your actions will affect them! Though, given his track record, I think Shima would prefer not to think about himself at all.
That being said, I actually really liked his analysis towards the character he plays in their “Totally not The Sound of Music Musical”. Despite everything he still finds a way to relate to the character, despite not actually liking the results. The character is one that finds love, but is unable to pursue it due to the war and the nature of said character ends up getting swept along due to his inability to fight against certain feelings. As far as we know, it’s not a happy ending for that character because he never gets a happy conclusion. But, as Mitsumi gets to point out, that character just doesn’t have an ending. Yes, in the story that is told, he ends up joining forces with the fascists. One can speculate the ending, but there’s also an opportunity to change. Perhaps I’m reading too much into that conversation, but I really love how the two of them can come to vastly different conclusions.
Speaking of Mitsumi, she had quite the episode as well! As a member of the student council and a helpful classmate, she finds herself completely overloaded with work this time around. And to make matters even worse, she wants to do more. I wouldn’t say this is a bad quality of hers, but just like Shima wasn’t able to say ‘no’ to participating in the performance, Mitsumi’s gut reaction is to always say ‘yes’ to helping. In some ways, I think she learns that taking on everything may not be the best option. She has guilt for not being able to complete a task from her classmates that she tries to shoehorn it into her daily tasks, but to make matters worse, she (and Shima) overhear the girls talking about her. It’s a huge bummer to hear what the girls said about her! On the one hand, yeah! I get it! Giving someone a task for a large project and them being unable to complete it really sucks! But I just feel so bad that Mitsumi had to hear it! They weren’t particularly mean, but it’s incredibly clear that she fumbled!!
But all of this led to my favorite interactions in the entire episode. I loved Shima looking at her and seeing part of his younger self. He wants to protect her from the terrible things that he anticipates coming, he wants her to be happy and unharmed. He comments that she might be better to go back to the country by the sea, she would thrive there, whereas here, she’ll continue to fumble and falter. But!! I love that at the end of everything, Mitsumi is able to articulate all this back to him. She’s used to falling flat on her face. She’s clumsy and things don’t always work out the way that she wants. But she picks herself up and continues to move forward – something that Shima may struggle to do. But I’m happy that he’s able to see that. I’m so, so happy that he can see another outcome through her. There is a possibility for a happy ending.
As always, I adore watching this series. There are so many little things that just warm my heart. I couldn’t find where to talk about it, but Shima and Mitsumi’s little dance almost had me crying. It was so cute, it was silly, and just all around really sweet. Every interaction with them is like finding a shining gem. It’s not always a grand sweeping moment, but instead just small, precious interactions that bring so much joy. I’m looking forward to the actual production of “The Family Singers”! I hope Mitsumi has fun at her first huge school festival and that Shima is able to survive his performance without too much anxiety.