Good for the soul.
The story of the Inuzuka family and their merry band of friends comes to an end.
Mix It Up
Tsumugi is disappointed.
The finale features yet another conflict between father and daughter. This time, Tsumugi gets upset when the okonomiyaki restaurant they stop at for dinner isn’t exactly as Kouhei promised. That is, they serve premade okonomiyaki rather than letting the customers create their own. It’s the typical child tantrum, and the situation only gets worse when Kouhei scolds her for acting out in the restaurant. The neat thing about this episode is that we get to see the other side of the quarrel again when Kotori’s mother breaks her promise to finally sit down for dinner with the gang. When it comes time for the customary cooking party, both Kouhei and Kotori confess their frustrations, which opens their eyes to what the other side is going through in a parent-child conflict. So yet again, the resolution comes smoothly as Kouhei sits Tsumugi down and explains that scolding her hurts him just as much as it hurts her. As mature as Tsumugi is, she’s just a kid, so she doesn’t realize how much her father cares for her behind the scenes. That said, she’s definitely presented as more mature than the average child of her age, as she understands what Kouhei is trying to tell her and sincerely apologizes for the trouble she’s caused.
Keeping a Promise
Kotori’s mother apologizes.
On the Iida side of things, we see that Kotori feels betrayed by her mother for constantly breaking promises and disappearing without warning. She even confides to Kouhei that she feels like she doesn’t matter to her mother. Of course, Kouhei, knowing the parent’s side of the struggle, admits to her that even parents can make mistakes. And despite their best efforts, it can sometimes be really difficult to express just how much they care for their children when they are preoccupied with other responsibilities. Thankfully, Kotori’s half of the episode has a happy ending as well, when a flustered Mrs. Iida comes bursting in just before dinner is served. Naturally, she had rushed back from work to have dinner with her daughter and said daughter’s friends as soon as she could. Now armed with the knowledge of the challenges parents face in raising a child, Kotori recognizes the effort her mother made to keep her promise despite the demands of her work. And after a profuse head-bowing session between the Inuzuka and Iida parents, followed by a humorous gaffe from the latter thanks to her air-headed nature, any remaining tension is defused.
All in all, this was a solid finale for Sweetness and Lightning, rounding out an equally solid run for the entire season. For anyone still wondering if they should watch this show, I give it a strong recommendation. The idea of mixing food porn with the challenges of raising a child as a single parent is a rather novel one, even if the overall food porn genre can come across as a bit gimmicky. To be fair, the food preparation here can be a bit painful at times, as the inexperienced cooks prepare their dishes in a less than graceful manner. But the way I see it, we shouldn’t take those parts too seriously; it clearly isn’t the point of the show. No, what’s more important here is the focus on the the relationship between parent and child; the conflicts that can arise and what each side doesn’t necessarily realize from the point of view of the other. And from that perspective, Sweetness and Lightning does a marvelous job.
A happy gathering.