Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – 8

Udon vending machine – sugoi!

“Careful – you’ll piss off the hipsters!”

This series is pure Shinbo – in a good way – while maintaining the spirit of the original manga. In that sense it’s a worthy successor to Natsu no Arashi, with which I still feel it shares something of a karmic bond. Things seem pretty random, but in the end they add up to a highly entertaining and somehow logical whole.

Is it hot in here?

For starters, I loved the whole sequence in the laundromat even without being able to see any of the three girls naked. It doesn’t get much more slice-of-life than waxing poetical about vending machines, but it was great stuff. Udon machines – fresh-made at that! I’d have been doing exactly what Hottori and Kon were doing, trying to stick my nose in and see what was happening. Japan is nuts for vending machines – they have one per 23 residents, including rhinoceros beetle machines. But they don’t get nearly enough pub in anime.

I enjoyed seeing Tatsuno and Kon get some time in the spotlight this week. Tatsuno is so hopeless around Sanada, yet she projects a kind of icy dignity that verges on arrogance with everyone else. As for Kon, she’s a force of nature – somehow tomboyish and feminine at the same time, she’s the only one in the cast who doesn’t seem to be a hapless dinghy being buffeted in the waves Hottori stirs up everywhere she goes. Even the ugly girl from the first ep got into the action this week, which was nice to see – and it turns out she plays the drums to help train for ping-pong (or so Kon has misled her to believe).

Which brings us to the main event of the episode, the formation of the main band that plays so memorably in the ED. Turns out it’s Kon’s brainchild for the summer festival. All the poor girl wants to do is rock, but violin and accordion don’t exactly fit her definition of the term (personally, I love them both in rock). What comes out of them this time (The “B” single with the ED song) is a sort of traditional Japanese folk-rock anthem that really, really growa on you as you listen to it repeatedly (which you will). I hope we see more of The Maids in the remaining episodes.

Even if I didn’t know there were numerous great manga chapters unadapted, I’d still have no worries about where this show was going in the last four episodes. There’s so much bench strength here – the two episodes with Takeru have been great, we’ve barely scratched the surface with the math teacher or the cop, and the Sanada love triangle has lots of play. All that’s in addition to the standard slice-of-life randomness surrounding Hottori and the gang at Seaside which makes up the bulk of the material (more so in the anime than the manga). I sure hope we get a second season here – the material is perfectly suited for it.

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