And so the Maki / Shiori arc ends this week. And it was rather moving!
(Spoilers in this review)
tl;dr – Maki comes to terms with her strong feelings for acting with minimal assistance from Yoshino in this episode (Yoshino did do some minor things in the previous episode, though). Meanwhile, Shiori ends up lashing out at Yoshino for abandoning her hometown after Yoshino confronts her over lying to the Board of Tourism. Out of all of the five girls, Shiori probably has the strongest sense of loyalty to Manoyama considering how she was the first one working for the BoT before the rest. So perhaps Yoshino’s attempt to run away from home and into the city probably struck a nerve with her.
So Yoshino was basically sidelined for Maki’s development this episode outside of asking Maki if she’s okay. Taking a cue from Sanae’s arc, however, Yoshino does play a part in Shiori’s development by telling her to let go of the past. Her role here is arguably more important than what happened during Sanae’s arc. She also ends up taking to heart what Shiori said. A good queen will listen to her subjects!
Overall, I thought this episode was a nice conclusion to this Maki / Shiori arc. I actually ended up getting a little teary-eyed watching young Shiori play with the old lady and seeing Maki observe young Maki. It’ll be interesting to see how the story progresses from here now that 3 members conquered some sort of hang-up (well, I guess Ririko also learned how to perform in front of others, but she isn’t as fond of acting as Maki is) since Sakura Quest seemed intent on giving the viewers backstories for all of the girls as they wrestle with their inner conflicts. Maybe Ririko’s grandmother will get in their way in the future?
The rest of the post is basically a synopsis.
Picking up right where the last episode left off, this week’s episode opens with Maki trying to apologize to Yoshino. Our Queen says that doesn’t really matter and drags Maki over to the filming scene where everyone is watching Ririko trying to desperately act since Maki didn’t accept the role. Realizing that stepping in and taking her place would hinder Ririko’s growth as a person, Maki merely gives her some advice. Ririko then nails the scene with ease.
It starts raining the following day, so the director decides to shoot the indoor scenes a day earlier. Since the Board of Tourism had just barely secured 20 kids for the children zombie roles for the next day, it was deemed unreasonable for them to ask the parents to let their kids participate a day earlier. Maki claims she can handle it and ends up calling up her younger brother (who, as we saw in the previous episode, teaches a drumming class). Sanae and Ririko decide to see if they can somehow try something else (it was quite vague here) and Yoshino is told to try to find a house for the final scene.
Yoshino finally decides to try calling the house and she finds out that the Board of Tourism had already received permission to burn the place down. I guess she trusted Shiori too much to doubt her word before then, huh?
Yoshino ends up confronting Shiori, who reveals that an elderly woman used to live in said house, that the house contains precious memories for her, and that a house isn’t just a box. Yoshino gets a little mean and says that Shiori didn’t have any trouble looking for someone else’s house (which would be full of memories for other people) to burn, basically calls her selfish, and tells Shiori to move on from the past. Shiori fires back and says that’s something only someone who abandoned their hometown can say. Ouch.
So it turns out that Maki’s brother was able to round up a lot of little brats. Oh, wait, it wasn’t him. Their father is the vice-principal of the elementary school and he pulled some strings! We also get to see a kid slap Sanae’s big butt and they all start sexually harassing the poor lady. So basically Japanese kids are terrible according to anime.
Maki and Ririko end up having a heart-to-heart in the school library. Turns out Maki is at least 5 years older than Ririko (Maki was in sixth grade when Ririko first started attending school; it depends if Ririko started in first grade or in kindergarten). Ririko thanks Maki for the advice (apparently she told Ririko that acting is just being a different person) and Maki talks about how she was a tree for Snow White. Maki then gets a little wistful as she stares at her own face in an old photograph.
We jump to shooting scene. Maki looks a bit sad watching Moe play the main heroine. Yoshino and Shiori also end up making up. Maki then ends up imagining how she felt about acting while she was growing up.
Maki ends up going to the fortune-teller in order to find out if she’ll continue acting. But then her younger brother pops with a DVD their dad wanted to show her. It turns out that their dad was in charge of filming school performances and that the DVD was of Maki’s class’ rendition of Snow White. Their dad kept the camera focused on Maki for most of the video, which pissed off the principal. In other words: Maki’s dad was her first fan!
Maki ends up volunteering to be Moe’s stunt double after the director decides Moe’s character should DIVE into a burning building in order to save her lover. After all, Maki admits to Yoshino, her feelings for acting can’t be brushed aside so easily. And so she does her part and she looks really, really cool.