Mitsudomoe’s multiple personality disorder continues this week, as the series takes a fairly radical tonal departure (for the better, IMO) from the second episode. This week’s themes are panties and misunderstandings, and we return to the better elements of the first episode, where we get situation comedy based on some fairly clever writing.
This week, we spend a little more time with a couple of the boys – first, Shinra, a seemingly normal and responsible lad who’s suitably horrified when Futaba tells him she’s testing her theory of how much cooler it is in the summer without panties (and invites him to try it). Next, Chiba (the “69” boy) who’s decided it’s time to graduate from looking for pantsu shots in manga to real porn. Hitoha, of course, has what Chiba is looking for, but refuses to share. This leads to a pretty hilarious series of misunderstandings, as Chiba quests to procure the porn, Shinra assumes he’s talking about panties, and finally – after Hitoha stashes a decoy porn mag in Shinra’s satchel – Shinra thinks Chiba wants to get a look at his “thing”.
Next, we meet another new classmate – the occult-obsessed and slightly insane Matsuoka. Yabe notices Hitoha is always walking home alone, and tries to push her to make a friend – with predictably disastrous results. A battle with a mosquito leads to misunderstanding #4, where Matsuoka concludes that Hitoha is some sort of medium who can see spirits, and Hitoha that Matsuoka is a lesbian in training. This leads to a night-time session at the school pool, where Hitoha thinks she’s going to learn to swim and Matsuoka thinks a battle with evil spirits is about to occur. Hitoha nearly drowns, and we discover the following morning that…
Matsuoka has covered her entire body with spells – written in oil-based marker. And the triplets have all worn their swimsuits to school and forgotten their panties – a fact discovered by their father, Soujirou. Soujirou- an overweight blob of a fellow – heads for the school to deliver the goods. More misunderstandings follow – starting with Mitsuba’s belief that their panties had been stolen. Futaba, none too bright, buys into it – and Hitoha, too embarrassed now to to admit the truth, clams up. Soujirou attempts to climb the school wall to deliver the panties, leading onlookers to assume he’s a pervert and call the cops. Soujirou, meanwhile, sees Yabe with his pants down as Mitsuba has pantsed him to see if he’s the thief (after already having done the same to her male classmates). Soujirou assumes Yabe is the pedo, the police come and neither Hitoha and Mitsuba, embarrassed, or Futaba – dumb as a stump – tell them he’s their father, which gets him hauled off to the station. And later, Hitoha and Mitsuba locked in the shed as Dad and Futaba enjoy their dinner.
Get all that? In hindsight, while none of it was spectacularly hilarious in the moment it was ingeniously constructed. There were solid laughs in every segment – a first for this series for me. And gratifyingly, both the grossness and the meanness were toned way down. Hitoha had a great week (though she wouldn’t have said so) – she seemed quite vulnerable in the middle segment, acutely aware of her social pariah status. Her embarrassment at every turn was charmingly human. In tone, this reminded me of an episode of Kyou no Go no Ni – which I consider high praise. This is what I hoped the series would be and what I hope it will be in the future – not the nasty, vile stuff of most of episode 2 but smart, screwball comedy based on the social oddities of sixth graders.