(Spoilers in this review)
An episode that’s focused on Maki, yay!
Said episode hones in on the past, which makes sense considering that Maki’s past as an actress haunts her in various ways. People still remember her as a minor character in “Oden Detective” and her failing to make it as an actress defines her relationship with her immediate family as well as being the reason behind her lack of ambition. Be that as it may, being forced to do a lot of odd jobs when she was pursuing acting is what allows Maki to help out the Board of Tourism during several pinches, so it’s not like her past is all bad.
Other characters mention or reference the past, as well. The old man thanks Yoshino for trying to revive the Mizuchi Festival, which he single-handedly shut down as a young punk. Ririko tries to record the traditional Manoyama lullaby she sang in an earlier episode so she can spread it throughout the world (and the lyrics for said song evokes the image of yearning for the past). The girls decide on turning the abandoned middle school into some hot-lunch spot for the Mizuchi Festival, preying on people’s nostalgia for middle school lunches to earn that dough.
Meanwhile, Maki’s father can only express his worry for his daughter by bringing up how she dropped out of college or how she failed as an actress. But at least he reminds her that she used to smile a lot, more than she does now, when she was a kid. This, along with Yoshino expressing admiration over how Maki has known what she has wanted to do ever since she was young, pushes Maki to finally decide to try pursuing acting again.
All in all, it was a nice episode that tied up a thread that was left back in episode 14, when Moe pushed Maki into applying for an acting part, while developing Maki who hasn’t received any major characterization since episode 7. With two of the treasures in tow, the girls are inching closer to the restoration of the Mizuchi Festival which will probably serve as the climatic finish to the story at this rate. They just have to continue to push through other obstacles, both minor and major, in order to reach said goal, however.
The rest of the episode review is basically a play-by-play.
The girls head to one of the abandoned local middle schools to find one of the Mizuchi treasures (a huge drum). They happen to run into Maki’s father, who was patrolling the grounds because of rumors about a Bad Santa roaming around the campus. Father and daughter get into a small spat before Maki’s father takes the group to the drum. Sanae tries to advise Maki into patching things with her dad, but Maki is against it.
Yoshino and Shiori note that it’ll be a shame for the abandoned middle school to be shut down next next year. The Board of Tourism then goes on a practice march while Maki seems to be picking out scarves and while Ririko is practicing singing the traditonal Manoyama lullaby she performed back in episode 11. Yoshino then has a heart-to-heart with the old man as they continue the practice route over water.
It turns out Maki had bought a scarf for her mother since it’s her birthday. Maki’s brother convinces Maki to stay for dinner, but things get heated when Maki’s father returns home earlier than usual. As she leaves to head back to the others, Maki is stopped by her brother, who hands her some mail that was directed towards her. Turns out the acting form that Moe convinced Maki to fill out (back in episode 14) passed and she just has to pass an audition to guarantee herself a part in a film (that’s being directed by someone famous). Maki says she’s turning it down and walks away (with her father quietly listening from inside the house).
Maki returns to hear Sanae and Yoshino talk about ideas regarding the middle school. She then has a Shower of Indecision.