With the introductions having been taken care of, episode six leans a bit towards the lighthearted side but it isn’t as boring as it could have turned out to be.
Such an uneventful episode was pretty much expected after the main cast was introduced. The episode’s main focus is Hokuto and her friendship with Hanabi.
Koyori’s racket has been used for two months straight with the same rubber, so it’s wearing off and therefore affecting her game. Since she is broke, Hanabi suggests that she help out at Hokuto’s family’s table tennis shop to earn some money and then buy the much needed rubber for her racket.
We get Hokuto’s back story through flashbacks from time to time. She was a pretty lonely kid who would refuse offers to walk home with her classmates. Her class fellows would see that this girl is pretty lonely and wanted to get her out for a bit. Hokuto refused because she had to help out at the shop. She wanted to go out with those girls, but her responsibilities didn’t allow her to do so. As a result, she didn’t have many friends; girls would talk with her friends time to time but there wasn’t anyone she could call a friend.
All that changes when Hanabi enters her life. One thing which really stands out here is their usage of colors to show how Hokuto feels without anyone around her and how she feels with others around her, especially Hanabi. We get a cold environment when Hokuto is alone which shows her loneliness, particularly at her workplace. Warm colors follow wherever Hanabi is, showing that Hokuto feels alive when someone is near her talking to her while also showcasing Hanabi’s lively character.
One striking little scene towards the end is where the colors revert to their coldness when Hanabi announces that she’s going home and then go back to their warmth when she asks if she can come over again while using Hokuto’s given name. It’s a small scene but it perfectly summarizes Hokuto’s elementary school life without the need of many words from Hokuto to express her feelings.
The other things this episode has for us is some failed attempts at being funny and the introduction of one of the weirdos who’ll be the opponent for the upcoming practice match. The introduction really isn’t much of an introduction; it only shows that this is one weirdo and Agari and co. should be wary of her, not because of her strangeness, but because she’s a master driver of the ball, much like Agari.
The comedy hasn’t been much good anyway so there’s nothing to be surprised about here. We get some talk about the rubber on the rackets. It’s pretty much useless information but it’s there anyway; possibly to further emphasize that this is a sports anime.
The focus on Hokuto and Hanabi was much needed. We only had slight interests in Koyori and Agari given their focus, so it’s good that other girls of the team are getting some light on their lives.
One thing which should be pretty obvious by now is all that yuri bait over here in this show. The bait feels especially strong in this episode with how Agari is all tsun, denying that she isn’t worried about Koyori even though Koyori is all over her mind and affecting her game. The Hokuto and Hanabi interactions also give strong yuri vibes. It’s not such a bad thing but they could have done equally good without all this.
Overall it’s a pretty uneventful episode which could have been worse if not for the nice little focus on Hokuto and Hanabi. It wasn’t anything stellar, but it was pretty heartwarming nonetheless.
The practice matches will commence next episode. Given how weird the introduced girl was, we can expect some exciting play from her. And, of course, it goes without saying that expecting more than three seconds of animation during the matches will only lead to disappointment.
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