It’s party time at the hot spring for Aoi and pals.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Ginji shows up at Aoi’s doorstep feeling ill, but is quickly revived by Aoi’s cooking. The two share a conversation about how Aoi admires Ginji even though he works for a rival inn.
Later, Aoi meets up with the master, who has returned from his trip, bringing along with him some groceries Aoi asked him to buy. She gives him a tasty omelette, and of course he is impressed with her incredible cooking skills.
The episode finishes up with a lovely little party with all the employees of the inn getting together and enjoying a happy little dinner. Aoi is contented with her place at the inn, and everyone drinks and makes merry. But, at the last minute, their party is interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious ship helmed by a spirit looking awfully similar to the one Aoi saw in her youth.
Time drags on in the half-baked housewife fantasy that is Kakuriyo, a melancholic purgatory where nothing of note ever seems to happen, while characters all remark on how pleasant and content everything is. Anime and wish fulfillment tend to go hand in hand, but this episode showcases the void that permeates every aspect of this show. It’s boring. It’s pointless. It offers nothing except the most superficial of distractions; happy music and pleasant scenarios revolving around a young girl surrounded by nothing but handsome, mysterious men.
There was a moment at the beginning of this episode where I thought that perhaps some drama might be afoot. Nothing like one of our main characters falling ill to stir the pot a little bit. But it was only my wishful thinking desperately clinging to every scrap of potential story that could enter this withered husk of a show. Ginji’s sickness is solved by, yet again, the healing power of Aoi’s fabulous cooking. The fact this illness was left as the teaser at the end of the last episode strikes me as cheap and dishonest storytelling.
Aoi’s eyes can’t seem to settle on their position on her face. Look at her dull, lifeless expression long enough, and you’ll see them regularly move inches up and down her generic mug. Pay enough attention and you’ll see her incredible eyes shrink and grow in size as well. Just another in a series of wonderful little animation errors that remind me how completely a non-series this show is. More time and effort seems to be spent on designing the appearance of Aoi’s cooking than actual animation.
Perhaps it would be better if the animators cut ties with the concept of moving pictures altogether, and decided to make a slideshow or an audio CD. It’s not like movement is even needed for this show, considering the immense amount of time is spent with Aoi and whatever member of her spirit harem spend staring at her delivering their witless dialogue.
What more can there really to be said about this episode? For someone to critique there has to be well, something of substance to actually break down. An effort, a conflict, a story, a theme, any kind of design. You won’t find any of that here, Kakuriyo seems dead set on eluding the most basic fundamentals of storytelling.
So yeah, the episode kinda sucks.