You can get subtitles here.
I’m compelled to dedicate a post just to discuss this episode because Mitsushima Hikari is a force to be reckoned with and one of the best actresses out there. If by any rare chance you don’t know her, then you’re missing a lot and probably have no idea of the standard she has set in Japan. I suggest watching Love Exposure and all of her collaboration with Sakamoto Yuji – Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, Woman,
Wakamonotachi (my bad, this wasn’t by him ^^;;) and the currently airing Quartet. She has many works under her belt which I can’t possibly mention here but do check them out. Personally, I believe Sakamoto Yuji always brings the best out of her and she shines without fail in his works. I’m secretly wishing for a reunion with Eita.
More after the break!
This episode is my favorite so far and it’s easy to understand why. The Queen of Subtlety works her charms like no other in this very episode, which is meant to focus on her background and the reason of the sadness behind her smiles. She literally blew her co-stars out of the water, except maybe for Takahashi Issei’s proud Ultra Soul ‘lingerie’ moments.
Sakamoto Yuji’s work as we know it, is almost always dialogue-fueled and while the other characters get to spew their lines – for ex: Issei’s constant food-related nitpicking and reminding everyone he’s not wearing any underwear, Maki’s philosophical moments and Beppu’s love miseries, we get Suzume who remains quiet and observant.
Still her quirks entertain us as much as the rest, maybe even more. Even something as simple as her staring into space is magnetic. She may not have as much lines in an episode focused on her character but her body language and subtlety packed more than enough for us to fathom her actions or feelings.
So many moments worth mentioning. Starting from her ‘not feeling guilty’ laugh when she wakes up late and the clothes are already soaked by snow despite Beppu’s little warning.
Tried to dry them but Issei’s underwear becomes victim followed by her erasing the evidence. Gets an advice from former idol Arisu that a girl must never kiss the guy but maintain a distance of a bottle.
Since ep2, we slowly see hints of Suzume’s interest in Beppu and I have to bring back this scene at the convenient store because it’s just so well-done! Just a simple scene of eating ice-cream at a konbini can pack so much meaning!
Despite Suzume’s sloppiness (girl can sleep anywhere which serves a good tactic to spy on others) and somewhat bubbly character, there is a distant faraway gaze when you look at her eyes. I remember thinking she’s the most mysterious character out of the 4, not just because we know so little of her, but there’s something inexplicable about her facial expressions. The fragility behind those smiles and so guarded.
I especially like how she takes the bus to the hospital but never quite muster enough courage to see the one person she probably ‘hates’ the most for making her life miserable. Also the part where she buys a 500 yen bouquet for her mother whose ashes she keep in a locker (meant for that purpose I suppose), waving her hands and smiling to her mother.
Her past and present actions are interconnected such that when she was a kid, her father used her for scam purposes and in the present as a grownup, she’s conflicted again because she’s pretending to be Maki’s friend, spying on them behind their backs. Hence, when she wonders if she should stop doing that at the cafe, it’s palpable and perfectly understandable. Not so much because it’s wrong but it reminds her of the awful childhood she goes through. It’s as if she’s forever trapped in that circle and nothing is changing.
But the best scene is when she talks about her father to Maki at the shop. It’s probably the one time when she feels comfortable enough to reveal even as much to someone else. Matsu Takako is able to complement her very well and thanks to that, I almost teared up when she tells her it’s alright not to go to the hospital, they can just go back to Karuizawa where everybody is, who’s not going to judge her. You can immediately see all the emotional baggage within Suzume starts to lighten. What’s even better is you don’t see her breaking into crying mode but holding that tears in her eyes with a broken smile, but undoubtedly relieved.
Solid episode and acting. I couldn’t ask for more but when you realize this is only 3rd episode, I can’t help but wonder what wonderful things Sakamoto has in store for us. It’s also obvious that Hikari remains his favorite actress when you see how many times they’ve collaborated. When it comes to subtlety, I can’t think of anyone else who can carry it with such finesse. Be it slice-of-life and seemingly mundane daily life activities, I can’t take my eyes of Hikari even when she’s lying on the floor sleeping. So effortless yet a scene stealer.
BTW, anyone recognize the narrator? She sounds very much like Sakura Ando.
Onto the next episode!