Sweetness and Lightning – 08 – METANORN

Sweetness and Lightning – 08

My reaction to this week’s dish.

I’ve never tried squid and taro stew before, so I’m not sure if I can critique the dish in good conscience. But honestly the idea doesn’t really appeal to me much.

 

Parents’ Day

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Tsumugi’s bag.

In this week’s episode, the parents visit Tsumugi’s pre-school. The key development here is that Kouhei realizes Tsumugi might be missing out on some things growing up because her mother is gone. This is brought to his attention when the other mothers discuss making new bags for their children every year. Kouhei’s natural and immediate reaction is a desire to make something for Tsumugi as well, so that she can be “like the other kids.” Of course, in his haste he forgets the significance of the bag to Tsumugi as a memento of her mother. But thankfully, the young girl handles her emotions impressively by making it clear what the bag means to her without breaking into tears. The episode then takes this context and takes off with it.

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That’s a lot of squid.

Kouhei’s next attempt to do something for his daughter comes as an offer to cook any dish Tsumugi had in the past (the implication being that these dishes would have been prepared by her mother). Tsumugi’s dish of choice comes as a bit of a surprise, as squid and taro stew doesn’t exactly jump out as the kind of food that a kid would favor. Nevertheless, it is her request, and so Kouhei and Kotori set out to make their rendition with the hopes that it will be just the way that Tsumugi remembers. Whether or not they succeed in replicating the taste, smell, and feel is debatable. But one thing is clear: it’s the thought that counts. And Kouhei’s feelings get through to Tsumugi just fine when she takes her first bite of the completed dish.

Mother’s Legacy

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Kouhei’s contribution.

So the moral of the story here is that Kouhei doesn’t need to replace his wife in Tsumugi’s life. It is suggested that the girl is much more aware of the circumstances surrounding her mother than I had initially thought. And this being the case, she needs her father to remain just that. There’s no need for him to try and become Tsumugi’s mother as well, because she already has one. That said, it’s not as if he has to keep his hands out of everything that the late Mrs. Inuzuka took care of. Kouhei’s new interest in cooking being one thing, it’s also OK for him to take care of Tsumugi’s other needs as long as he doesn’t erase her memories of her mother in doing so. Hence, the solution he reached in the end of merely adding a patch to hide a stain on Tsumugi’s bag instead of making a completely new one is perfect.

We also caught another glimpse of Kotori’s life at school in this episode. The girl is just too kind for her own good, as she constantly worries about the Inuzuka family when Kouhei calls in absent to attend the Parents’ Day. While this is initially played for laughs with Kotori stress-eating in class, I have to say that she gained a few points in my book in the end. The extra concern she displayed in trying to recreate the stew as faithfully as possible and her genuine relief in learning that Tsumugi was OK with the final result nonetheless added a sweet and touching depth to her character.

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When Kotori worries…

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7 Responses to “Sweetness and Lightning – 08”

  1. skylion says:

    They have such a light touch with this show. So much of this drama could be crunked up, but they manage, much as you describe Tsumugi’s need for her father to just be her father, to play it at the right level. This ain’t no KEY adaptation, that is for sure.

    As for the dish? I’ve had both, but not together. My own cooking knowledge tells me the secret to tying the two ingredients together is the soup/broth. But…honestly, i would react over and over again to the “squiding down” of the squid just like Kouhei, only more.

    • HannoX says:

      I also think the broth is the key to squid and taro. I’d be ready to try that dish if I found it on the menu in a Japanese restaurant. I suppose I could try to find a recipe on the Internet and give it a try.

      When Kotori was worried about the reason Kouhei was absent she seemed to mostly imagine it was due to something wrong with Tsumugi. Is the lonely girl starting to see Tsumugi as a younger sister?

      • skylion says:

        Broth holds everything together…

        I think she sees Tsumugi as someone close to her, and that relationship can be framed in a sisterly fashion, yes. But how much that has to do with loneliness? That’s a good discussion. I don’t think she is that lonely, but I can see where an audience can see that take on the character.

        • HannoX says:

          We’ve seen that Kotori has at least one good friend. However, it’s the family relationship she’s lonely for and for that reason I think she’s starting to see Tsumugi as a younger sister.

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    I really like Kotori as a character; she’s pleasantly written and interesting to watch, which brings me back to the point i continuously make about what goes into good character writing. Characters dont need to be complex to be interesting; they only need to be well written through well-placed narrative subtext and earned emotional catharsis. Mostly, the writing should allow what’s on screen to speak for itself rather than place neon-signs around what it wants its viewers to pick up on; sweetness and lightning does a really good job with this. Also another thing i wanted to point out: notice how this show doesnt have any inner monologuing the way most anime does. I pretty sure this was an intentional choice considering the atmosphere and tone a show like this conveys. This and 91 days are the only two shows that i know are doing that this summer season.

  3. skylion says:

    More….

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