On the whole, this episode went a long ways towards reassuring me that Kotoura-san knows what’s it doing.
My favorite part of Haruka Land (along with Grandpa holding his skirt down when he jumped from the parade car in his Kotoura costume) was the “parade”, when we saw the theme park versions of the ESP Club members – and Moritani was shown in tears, locked in a cage. My initial rage over Mori’s seeming free pass is slowly turning to respect over the way Kotoura-san is tweaking that particular anime trope. I’ve never seen it handled quite like this – we have neither overt hostility nor an “all is forgiven” scenario, but rather a kind of purgatory where Mori has been admitted to the group but is constantly reminded of her transgressions, and Manabe is still openly hostile towards her. Grandpa is too – his actions and words clearly show he knows all about what she did to Manabe, and he hasn’t forgiven her for it, knowing what Manabe has done for Kotoura-chan. This is mostly played for laughs but it, too is quite dark – a subtle reminder than our malicious mistakes in life can’t be smiled away and forgotten so easily as they can be in anime.
turn into a hissing cat whenever Manabe tried to approach her while she was in her swimsuit. But things get quietly serious when she’s swept out into deep water by the current. This isn’t played up for overwrought drama, but when Manabe comes to rescue her he resists his temptation to revel in the ero of the moment when she hugs him. He sees how terrified she is and resists his impulses, knowing that it would be wrong of him to take advantage of her in that state even if it were simply in his mind. Yes, there’s the fact that she’d know what he was thinking – but the whole point with Manabe is that he doesn’t change his behavior or his thoughts because of that. Kotoura-chan’s ability is irrelevant – he simply is who he is, and who he is is a thoroughly decent guy who’s completely in love with her.
she doesn’t seem too happy to see Kotoura smiling and laughing with her friends. Kotoura-san has faced a lot of tests already, all of its own design, and this represents another and perhaps the last major one that could throw the series off the rails. How the show handles the potential drama in this situation is going to be very interesting to see – there are pitfalls on both sides of the spectrum. I’m not anxious to see Haruka’s mother welcomed back into her life after what she’s done, and though I’m looking forward to seeing some drama injected back into the show I finding myself hoping that her role in it is resolved quickly and decisively, and we – and Kotoura – can put it behind us for good.
ED3: "Tsurupeta (つるぺた)" by Hisako Kanemoto