Shiori gets another mini-arc starting this week! Family, cooking, and conflicts-of-interest, oh my!
(Spoilers in this review)
The Tourism Board decides to host this C-Rank Gourmet festival where they introduce a unique dish that would be exclusive to Manoyama (in another attempt to attract tourists). However, Yoshino, Ririko, Maki, and Sanae are unable to create appealing (or edible) dishes that incorporate local Manoyama ingredients. Meanwhile Shiori can whip up delicious food with said ingredients, but the result looks bland. She also continuously declines being the leader of the C-Rank Gourmet with various excuses.
We also get introduced to Sayuri, Shiori’s older sister, as well as her classmate from highschool, Kumano, who recently came back from studying gourmet at France and is now a chef. There’s some sort of sexual tension between Sayuri and Kumano…as well as a possible misunderstanding since both of them have, on seperate occassions, admitted to Shiori that they were attracted to each other back in high school but that they both got stood up. It’s like Amagami SS all over again, huh?
The grandparents overheard Sanae and Maki shipping Shiori and Kumano together at the grocery store (speaking of which, Sanae and Maki should be together, too. They even teamed up for a C-Rank Gourmet test run). As a result, the old folk spread the gossip around and cause Shiori’s dad to mistakenly believe that Shiori’s going to be married soon. He then takes his daughter out for a walk so they can have a heart-to-heart. In short, he basically tells Shiori to do whatever she wants (such a display of agape) and not to worry about change happening in life.
Ririko’s grandmother (and the rest of the Board of Merchants) end up getting upset with the Tourism Board since the annual summer festival and the C-Rank Gourmet are both happening on the same date. The Tourism Board head over to apologize and Ririko’s grandma lets loose on the old guy, saying that the new manju he ordered doesn’t contain any of the local Manoyama ingredients, that Tourism Board never considers what the people actually want, and that they need to take responsibility.
The episode ends with Shiori announcing that she’ll be the one to direct the C-Rank Gourmet project instead of Yoshino and that she’ll make everyone in Manoyama happy.
Sayuri seems to have been brought in without any sort of foreshadowing. Which makes some sort of sense considering how she works in a hospital in the next town over and how she’s planning on moving away closer to the hospital (and Shiori isn’t the type to really talk about things unless it comes up) but this all just feels so abrupt. I also feel like I can’t care about Sayuri’s love troubles with Kamano since she was introduced in this very episode hence she (and Kamano) are like strangers compared to the other girls.
And we’re certainly not strangers to Shiori’s mindset by now. She is afraid of change as seen by her behavior in episode 6 and 7 where she was willing to lie to keep a house (of which she had fond memories) from being burned down. And now she’s worried about what will happen 10 years from now after her father brought the topic while they were having a father-daughter talk since she had never gave the inevitable possibility any thought. After all, her parents and grandparents worked hard to make sure that Sayuri and Shiori were never truly in want.
But now she’s thinking of what will happen to her parents if she were to move out of the house, etc, and it frightens her. It leads to wonder about her reasoning for joining the Tourism Board, who seems adamant on changing the town of Manoyama regardless of the local residents’ opinions. Is she actually supportive of the changes Yoshino and the old man have been attempting or is she just tolerating them? Maybe she doesn’t care as much if it’s not directly affecting her?
I guess in some ways I’ve started to associate Shiori’s mindset with Manoyama’s residents’ mindset: resistant to change and stubborn. It’s also frustrating to see that the Tourism Board is similarly stubborn. What happened to the epiphany Yoshino experienced in episode 3 when she decided she would try to learn what makes Manoyama unique in order to be a successful queen? Sure, the whole ranma mini-arc in episodes 4 and 5 was a good start since she came up with a (overly idealistic) plan with people in mind. But the filming mini-arc in episodes 6 and 7 didn’t really give me the impression that Yoshino was putting the interests of the townsfolk as first priority.
At least Yoshino acknowledges her lack of diligence in this episode, but that only happens after she and most of her friends fail to actually use local ingredients in her practice dishes and after the Tourism Board failed to ask the Board of Merchants for permission. Too little, too late.
tl;dr – Remy gets a little disappointed that Yoshino isn’t really taking lessons to heart.
Final note: the background scenery in this episode was beautiful. Lots of fields and nature shots happening here since the girls aren’t spending most of their time in cramped rooms and buildings. It almost seems suiting that this sort of background framing is happening during a mini-arc for Shiori, who was raised by farmers. All in all, P.A. Works is doing what it does best. Keep at it, please.
This was a great episode and I’m looking forward to seeing next week’s episode.