By Dustin Cabeal
Here I was worried that with the shortened episodes there wouldn’t be as much time for character development. This episode is full of heart. I still lean towards the second episode as my favorite of the season thus far, but this one is really close behind. Hell, upon a second viewing it might actually beat out the second episode, but I’m not going to go back and forth right now.
This episode is all about Hotaru and Coconuts. There’s a fireworks festival happening, and he’s supposed to ask her to go with the group, but when she asks if it’ll be just the two of them, Coconuts goes bold and says, “Yes.” The bulk of the episode is just the two of them hustling to the shoreline to see the fireworks, but there is so much more going on between these two. It’s illustrated even more when Hotaru is absent after the festival and Coconuts is waiting for her to show up and subtly searching for her. It’s touching because of how mature and heartbroken he is at the same time.
I’ve been wondering when the new character would appear, and I suspect it’s soon. I also suspect that there’s a big change coming to the story which will be sad, but amazing in that way that only anime can be. Long time viewers know what I mean. Some of the best anime introduces characters you love and places them in a world you want to visit or be a part of; it becomes something you love and is close to your heart. Then the story blows that all up because it needs to progress. The things you love and enjoy about the story only have value if they’re lost to hardships because as much as viewers would like to deny it, it’s just like life. Anime and Japanese creators, in general, are amazing at creating what I call instant nostalgia. In real life, it’s those moments you look back on and think, damn that was a great time in life that’ll I’ll never get back. And that feeling is echoed in stories like Dagashi Kashi and so many more.
The voice acting needs to be commended. The performances are fantastic in matching the emotion the animation is producing. You can feel Coconuts fighting back his heartbreak when telling Saya that he doesn’t know where Hotaru has been. With that, you have to commend the animation even more with this episode. The vast majority of the episode relies solely on the animation to convey the story and emotion. You can see how desperate Coconuts wants to share this moment alone with Hotaru, but when she flips the script and slows him down, its touching when it’s revealed later that she knew it wasn’t supposed to be just the two of them. She’s off character, but that doesn’t come from the dialogue, that comes from the animation. Her actions and movement are different. Her intensity has dissipated and turned into a somberness. None of that is explicitly said, but it’s conveyed through the powerful artwork.
Unlike Killing Bites, I’ve been reluctant to review this episode because I knew it would mean that I would be free to move on to the next episode. I’m scared of that next episode because I suspect it will flip the entire story on its head and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I want to see it, but at the same time, I wish I could just stay in this summer with these four, eating candy and playing games. Enjoying the simple times in life before adulthood sets in and changes everything. As they say, youth is wasted on the youth. If you haven’t started this series, then know that it’s more than a candy/toy/snack commercial. It’s like the perfect lazy summer spent with friends, that’s over before you really know you’re enjoying it.
Dagashi Kashi E.04