Score: A

The Hoshin Festival is coming and I’m expecting a lot from it. It makes me think of how utterly impactful the sports festival was last season. This time around there seems to be a lot of potential for various characters to get big character moments. You have Ishigami’s continued pursuit of Tsubame for one. Then there’s Iino having an emotional attachment to the campfire event. And of course, there’s the huge stakes involved with Shirogane and Kaguya. This is the moment for Shirogane to make his move. At the very least it is the time that he has to make the last push to have Kaguya confess or else doing so himself. One way or another the status quo seems set to shift for a lot of these characters. And this episode helped absolutely build that excitement.

A bit tough to handle

I will admit the first part of the episode was a bit hard to get through at points. All the main characters of this show have their flaws and Iino is no exception. Because or despite her flaws I really like her character. Seeing Iino struggle so hard at the start was a bit tough. Iino can struggle in this kind of situation. You have a room of very energized people, slogans that even I think are odd being thrown around, and her public speaking issue really started hitting her hard. It’s no wonder she nearly fell apart entirely.

I’m not going to say that her rubbing some people the wrong way is a shock. But that didn’t make it any easier seeing Onodera just going after her. It reminds me of last season when she was pretty quick to go after Ishigami as well. In a positive way you can say she doesn’t talk behind people’s backs and takes it right to them. But she also jumps on things. Especially with Ishigami she jumped on what she thought she knew and frankly harassed him over it. She does tend to work things out in the end with people. And that is the case here. At least she got along with Iino even though I’m not sure I’d ever see them as friends.

Ishigami is good at lighting a fire under Iino

No shock that Ishigami did end up saving her. I think he learned a lot from the previous season. What Iino needs sometimes is someone to distract her and fire her up. Ishigami is perfect at both jobs. By getting her to focus on him she wasn’t thinking about the Cultural Festival Committee, and my asking if she needed rescue, he managed to annoy her just enough to get her to forget about being nervous. He really does bring out the best and worst of Iino sometimes XD. But it worked wonders. Once she was freed from her stress it allowed Iino to be the kind of leader she has the potential to be. She knows what needs to be done and has the willpower to work for it. All Iino needed was some confidence and a good solid push. Thanks to that, they should get their campfire.

I love the idea that Iino probably put in the request about the campfire to the Committee herself. For a moment I thought she did so in order to get the chance to fight for it. But I doubt she knew when putting in that message that she’d be asked to join them. So, it likely was just a sweet request to have a campfire that meant a lot to her. I expect that we’ll get a full flashback about why it means so much to her. Although the start of the episode might be everything. It was great how Iino bringing a war to the Neighborhood Association probably just ended with them all fawning over her. Truly she is “everyone’s favorite granddaughter!” I wonder if Iino suggested the slogan that they went with? Seems sweet enough to come from her.

I love this guy!

Ishigami is really making his move though. While it is funny to see him fighting against his ‘rivals’ the fact is that he’s really putting in the work. He’s becoming an essential part of that committee and should be making life a bit easier for Tsubame. Last season he was someone for her to look after and support. This time around she’s doing that a bit for Iino. Ishigami instead is someone that’s pulling his own weight and bringing his experience to the table. I don’t know if he’s going to end up having this girl fall for him. But it is nice to see him acting very proactive. The absolute smugness that he had during his mental battle with the guys in glasses was epic.

I hope this season brings Kaguya happiness

The interview bit in the middle of the episode was fun. It let us meet some new characters like the head of the Astronomy Club. I was wondering who the heck Ryuju was, but it makes sense now. She was there for a bit of a yakuza joke (and maybe she’ll be important later) but it mostly let Shirogane have a moment in the interview as well. The bigger moments though went to Kaguya and Tsubame. Wow, Tsubame definitely has well-earned popularity. Her rhythmic gymnastics could make anyone fall head over heels. The girl is cheerful, hardworking, very flexible, and talented. Of course, I also enjoyed Kaguya’s portion. It is a bit of a shame that she’s skipped what will be all these major archery tournaments to keep her schedule open for a date with Miyuki! This girl is so in love that it’s a treat to watch.

“Oh no…” – Chika

I appreciate that the show keeps trying to avoid falling into obvious patterns. This is yet another “Miyuki sucks at something” episode and yet it wasn’t just about having Chika train him to glory. Finally, he got to show some weakness to Kaguya. And despite all his fears in the past…it worked out fine. I’m sure anything he does would make her love him more. But she really did look at his troubles in the best light. And learning one more thing about him left her overjoyed rather than disappointed. Kaguya knows how hard he works and the benefits that are gained by that hard work. It has helped kept him on top academically and also trained his mind to keep up with her tricky nature. Kaguya cares and I’m glad that she helped cheer him up. Even if she did have to survive some audible torture along the way.

Maybe the funniest moment also was connected to this part of the episode. I just loved Chika absolutely taking her shot at Kashiwagi. Not letting the “I don’t know how to raise kids” fly. It was just great having her call out Kashiwagi’s active sex life after she said that XD. Not that it’s a crime for her to be doing that with her boyfriend. But I just got a laugh out of it. Poor Chika though. She may have serious flaws, but she’s a good maternal figure for Miyuki XD. And while it seemed like she found a funny solution (that he was using old balloons) the fact was…he really did need her help!

Hopefully Iino has good memories of this festival too

This was another really good episode. It was nice seeing Iino rise up and attain the campfire she wanted. And it was really sweet having Kaguya and Miyuki share an honest moment together. They really are just getting closer as times goes on. And it feels like the right time for their relationship to actually advance. Slowly the pride and fear that has been holding them back has lessened as a barrier. The two are starting to think more about how the other feels than how they can make the other person confess. I think there’s good hope to see an actual confession before this season is over. Maybe!

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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