Wednesdays 12:30 pm EDT on Crunchyroll
The girls use their last free day before camp to relax at the pool, but DRAMA never takes a day off. After talking to Nozomi, Natsuki, and Mizore, Kumiko is determined (sort of) to figure out why Asuka will not approve Nozomi’s return.
This episode was a classic example of KyoAni wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Sure the bulk of this episode is leering at the girls in swimsuits and Kumiko seems to have boobs on her mind (as usual???) but we have more serious band drama, so it’s okay! Here, have some more character growth and pay no mind to that creepy camera angle! Granted it’s a lot less egregious than some other pool episodes, but in that sneaky KyoAni way they sort of subliminally hammer you with it without openly acknowledging what they’re doing.
Of course in the bigger picture, it seems the story is also trying to swing both ways by having Reina… well, swing both ways. In each of the first two episodes we’ve had Reina crushing increaingly harder on Taki-sensei but then ending with her being in a super, super close situtation with Kumiko. I mean, they were basically in bed together by the end of this episode. I’m not one of those naive people that thinks anything is going to come of Kumiko and Reina’s relationship from an openly romantic perspective, but even as a vague and open ended possibility it’s a billion times better than the alternatives. Maybe you could chalk it all up to youthful sexual confusion? I remain skeptical.
Despite all that, I’d still say this was a decent episode as I’m pleased to see some new potential themes developing. There seems to be some kind of message brewing around age and maturity. The main plot is driven by a rift between underclassmen disrespecting their seniors, and then we have Kumiko and Reina’s musings on what it means to be grown up, inside and out. I’m not sure exactly if those are related or if they will ever amount to anything, but at least I’m glad to see they’re not rehashing the same ideas as season 1. With hardcore band camp practice resuming next week, hopefully we’ll be done with the leering at bikinis and back to business as usual.