Daddy just needs a nap.
It’s time for Tsumugi’s grand adventure!
A little help from two angels.
This week’s Sweetness and Lightning sees Kouhei bedridden as he is a touch under the weather. What follows is an inspired musical number as we follow Tsumugi on her quest to find the magical item that will cure her father (canned peaches). The segment is truly a joy to behold. We watch as the ordinary town transforms into a fanciful fantasy land, which Tsumugi makes her way through with the help of some high school girls and an old lady when she comes across challenges. The whole thing is accompanied by an appropriately childish tune, courtesy of young voice actress Rina Endou. Hats off to her impressive performance here. Anyway, things finally grind to a halt when Tsumugi encounters the final boss, a surly biker who almost runs the kid over and even has the nerve to yell at her for the near miss. At this moment, the magic is broken and we start to see Tsumugi’s brave front break down as she fights hard to hold back tears. Of course, nothing worse happens and Tsumugi arrives at Kotori’s home to seek help for her father.
An unhappy reunion.
The trip back is complicated by Kouhei’s awakening. Understandably, the dad is alarmed by his daughter’s disappearance, and he scolds her when they meet each other in the middle of the shopping district. The ensuing conflict highlights Tsumugi’s innocence and naivety. Obviously, she had the best intentions in mind when she set out to find help for her father. But at her young age, she didn’t realize that her independent actions would worry her father. Of course, seeing Tsumugi’s distress at being scolded when she thought she was doing something admirable by braving the world outside for the sake of her father twists the perspective a little so that we feel sorry for her. But things definitely could have gone south very quickly on her (mostly) unsupervised adventure, so naturally we can’t fault Kouhei for raising his voice. I’m sure any parent would become agitated at the thought of their young child wandering the streets, alone and vulnerable.
Thankfully, everything is resolved peacefully when Tsumugi understands and apologizes for the trouble she had caused her father, while Kouhei softens up a little after finding the canned peaches intended for him and realizing that he also worried his daughter with his brief illness. Tears were shed and hugs were had. And the audience gets a hit right in the kokoro for critical damage. Which brings us to the food segment of the episode. Kind of third-wheeling all this is Kotori, who thinks to herself that a bowl of delicious rice will help the father and daughter make up. Unfortunately, the hapless cook manages to burn the rice as she’s distracted by the touching scene of the two making up. Can’t really blame her for it though. Thankfully, she manages to make the most of the situation by using the unburnt rice to create Gohei mochi instead. We get a much simpler dish compared to some of the more recent ones, but this episode more than makes up for the lessened food porn with its heartfelt depiction of the challenges the Inuzuka family overcame this time around.
This week definitely brings one of Sweetness and Lightning‘s strongest episodes yet. I greatly enjoyed Tsumugi’s fantasy quest and have only words of praise for Rina Endou’s talent throughout the segment. The depiction of family conflict and subsequent bonding here also resonated more strongly than any of the prior challenges the Inuzuka family faced up to this point. The lesson learned may not be a particularly insightful one, but it was definitely executed perfectly without too much melodrama. If anything, the show might be guilty of resolving the conflict all too easily. But between dragging out a somber mood between Kouhei and Tsumugi for another episode and having them pick up on the subtle concerns and motivations of each other to make up quickly, I’d pick the latter any day.
All’s right with the world again.