If I’d read a detailed description of this episode before I watched it, or hell, even the whole script, I would have bet a considerable sum of money that I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did. These sorts of eps are brutal to write about and hard to justify, but I guess for me they either work or they don’t – and this one did. But if you’d have told me we were going to get an episode dedicated to Hiwako’s driver of all people, I’d have laughed and said that was about as likely as a gorilla with a guillotine in its stomach showing up in Samurai Flamenco.
Sorry, not her driver – Hiwako’s father’s assistant, Yoshizumi. He’s played by Nojima Hirofumi, and it’s always a nice moment when one of the cast of Seirei no Moribito shows up in a cast these days. This episode also formally introduces the Student Council President, Kirishima Seishirou. He’s played by none other than Tomokazu Sugita, which means at long last Gingitsune has its Tomokazu-tachi and Seki-tachi officially on-board.
That also means that Hiwako now has three potential love interests on-board. She’s obviously deeply into Tatsuo-san, Kirishima is obviously deeply into her, but of most importance this week is that Yoshizumi is also in-love with Hiwako. To say that was an unexpected turn is an understatement – not only is he a very minor character but he’s also, by his own admission, her father’s employee and ten years older than she is. And you know, I might just be getting a little vibe that his feelings might not be entirely unrequited. We already know Hiwako has a thing for older men, and although Sugita imbues Kirishima with a super-sized helping of his trademark bakayaroucity in about four minutes of screen time, it’s enough to give the impression that he’d have a better chance selling T-bone steaks to a Buddhist monastery.
I’m not going to pretend there was anything remotely profound or even substantial about this episode, but it was the essence of that “it either works or it doesn’t” slice-of-life thing I mentioned earlier, and for me it worked. I found myself quite liking both Hiwako (who hadn’t make much of an impression on me before) and Yoshizumi by the end of it, and I especially enjoyed the awkward and funny scenes where he accompanied the girls to the mall (sorry, but a tie is a terrible present for a dad) and got invited to the girly frou-frou cafe afterwards and then to the Shrine. Of course the elephant in the room is that he’s right, he really has no business crushing on a high-school girl (I could care less about the boss’ daughter thing) but at least Yoshizumi had the decency to pray that he wouldn’t fall for her (too late, even for Gintarou, to fix that).
There’s not much heraldry here, it’s true. We do get one good bit of Shinto lore I didn’t know – the bit about the right hand being lower during the prayer. And Gin and Haru (who provides hilarious facial expressions) frame the episode with some clever commentary about how weird humans are. But I’ll admit I missed their presence here quite a bit – fundamentally I do like this show (like Natsume Yuujinchou) better when the youkai are heavily involved. And next week appear to be a focus on the bozu who’re friends of the little girls with the cat. Gingitsune is acting very much like a show that has all the time in the world, though I can’t imagine there will be BD/DVD sales enough to encourage a sequel – so unless there was one pre-planned I assume this is all we’re getting. But it wins points for being committed to the slice-of-life ideal, and for having the chops to pull it off in entertaining fashion.