It’s officially time for summer break and all of the feelings that come with it. Mitsumi travels back home to visit her family and friends, enjoying her break to the fullest. But upon her return everything already seems to be in full swing, but to top it all off, it seems like people may have changed while she wasn’t watching.
At first I thought this episode was going to be pretty laid back, almost like a breather of an episode, especially after everything that happened last week. However, as the episode went on, more ‘drama’ slowly started to creep in and naturally things are only going to build from there. This week Mitsumi travels back to her home town to spend summer break with the people she’s grown up with. Her family welcomes her with open arms and she quickly re-acclimates to the environment. Fumi and her other friends are quick to throw a reunion get together with her on the beach where they all get to enjoy each other’s company and have a lot of fun. And while this is very sweet and wholesome, I also really enjoy the little tidbits this half of the episode went through. We find out that Fumi is now dating the person she told Mitsumi about a few episodes ago, following the way that one of her classmates mentioned (getting his number before summer break). We see glimpses of how comfortable Mitsumi is feeling in Tokyo. She’s not a city girl by any means, but I loved when Fumi asked about her studying the more traditional japanese way of speaking only for Mitsumi to say that she no longer does because she found friends who won’t make fun of her accent. It’s a really quick moment, but it helps us understand some of her anxieties of leaving home and going to a strange new place. For me, the most impactful scene was watching Mitsumi eat the watermelon. There was no dialogue, only the sound of her bites, as the scenes changed around her to varying places of her hometown. It was really sweet and almost comforting. Almost as if the world was welcoming her home. For those of us who have left home for school, that opportunity to return home can be very nostalgic. Even if you were only gone for 3 months, or just a couple of weeks, you’re still returning to a place that seems both so familiar and so foreign. What did you miss while you were gone? How much can people change? But at the same time, how much of it feels the same? Your family, pets and all, get to come back together. It’s like you never left, but are enjoying all the best parts of it.
With all that said, Mitsumi is finding a home in Tokyo. She’s building up her relationships and is generally having a good time. Sure, there are some things that seem hard or stressful to her, but she’s enjoying it. Tales of homesickness tend to be few and far between, but she is still able to have frequent conversations with everyone back home. Upon her return, I love that she’s able to pick up on small things about her relationship with her friends, as well as their relationships with others. Yuzuki and Mako quickly welcome Mitsumi in with open arms, it’s clear that they missed her and are happy to have her company again. Mika picked up souvenir cookies for all four of them (including Nao-chan!), and despite her prickly attitude, it shows that she missed them and thought of all four of them while she was gone. There’s a small side comment asking when Mika and Mitsumi’s aunt got closer, and while we know it’s because of the events of last week’s episode, I like to think that they also got the chance to meet up over summer break. But from that, we also hear Mitsumi reflect on the changes. Yuzuki, Mako, and Mika all seem much closer and were able to strengthen their bonds, Shima seems to be distancing himself from her. They all really haven’t been away for that long, but the changes in dynamics feel so apparent.
Speaking of Shima, it seems that Ririka’s words have continued to eat away at him. He’s much more detached in this episode, more so than he typically is. He’ll still smile and play the part of a high school boy for everyone, but those who are closer to him may notice the subtle changes. Of course, Mitsumi notices. It starts off with their interaction before they get to school. She’s over the moon to see him, he’s almost surprised and off put by her reaction. Then comes their meeting with Kanechika. They talk light-heartedly about the school festival, and eventually he pulls out a script requesting Shima to read it. I firmly believe that there wasn’t anything underhanded going on with Kanechika, he genuinely wanted Shima’s opinion. Shima on the other hand is very clearly conflicted about this. We don’t see it, but I think in that moment Ririka’s words were echoing in his mind. If he picks up the script it’s like he’s going against her and having a happy and normal school life. If he denies himself that script, it’s accepting a punishment. Of course, he’s able to get around it by just saying that Kanechika will just start bothering him again so no one has to listen to him (and he doesn’t have to share) his true feelings. Maybe I’m reading too much into that interaction, but that’s what I’m choosing to believe. But with all of this happening, we once again don’t get a Shima perspective on anything. He’s mysterious and we really don’t know what he is thinking! He hasn’t told us, or Mitsumi anything. We only get vague comments, or moments of sadness on the screen. But soon! I’m hoping soon Shima will get to share what’s going on in his head.
Ah! But first Mitsumi is getting ready to experience her first school festival. The mascots, food, cafes, haunted houses. It’s all going to be great! But naturally, there’s a bit of a wrench in their class since they’ve now decided to put on a play! Hahaha… Good luck to everyone involved. I’m sure this definitely won’t cause issues for Shima’s psyche (read: they’re really going to put him through it). Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!