Castle Town Dandelion
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Castle Town Dandelion ?
Do you like girls? Competent girls? Flustered, frantic, blushing girls? Girls with big breasts, and girls with small breasts? Girls who may or may not be wearing panties? Well then, have I got the episode of Castle Town Dandelion for you. This episode focused on cramming as many different girls as possible into one half hour.
We're back to focusing on Akane for this episode, and I'm beginning to think the creator of Castle Town Dandelion is a bit of a sadist. We're repeatedly told that Akane is shy, yet the number of extensively embarrassing situations she finds herself in is astounding. When she's not doing it to herself, by implausibly forgetting to wear a skirt to school, the people around her are conspiring to make her blush, because she's just so CUTE when she's embarrassed!
Whether this is a successful comedic approach or not really depends on how you feel watching secondhand embarrassment-inducing shows like The Office. If you covered your eyes and couldn't watch Michael Scott make a fool of himself, you're not going to be able to handle Akane's clueless, skirtless wanderings around school. It's treated with dramatic irony—the school knows, and we know, but Akane is blissfully ignorant. Fortunately she has three siblings, a female love interest, a male love interest, and an entire secret fan club looking out for her. Everyone around Akane has two competing interests. On the one hand, they want to protect her like the precious cinnamon roll she is. On the other hand, they want to see just how discombobulated she can become without passing out. Of course, Akane complies by being the tearful, blushing girl they wanted to see, securing this episode's main premise as fan service.
Execution wise, this episode reminded me of a game of telephone. As Akane goes about her day attempting to navigate multiple embarrassing situations, the people around her are constantly in communication with one another, discussing Akane like she's the only thing they care about. A classmate talks to Aoi who talks to Kanade who talks to Shu who talks to another classmate. Most of these classmates are probably people we'll never see again, but works to enhance the idea that Akane is always under surveillance. It kind of makes you feel for the poor girl to know that if it's not cameras outside, it's classmates at school.
The only part of the cinematography that I found worth noting was a sequence in which Akane seems to be in a videogame, with pixelated blocks of exposition at the bottom of the screen, and old style arcade music playing in the background. It serves to raise the stakes for something pretty commonplace to us but terrifying to Akane—speaking with high school seniors.
The episode is bookended with vignettes about the family cat, Borscht, a former stray who notably prefers napping on Akane's flat chest than on any of the other more developed girls. Of course in an episode where the focus is on the fanservice, even the story about the cat will devolve to breast jokes eventually. I predict this will be a divisive episode of Castle Town Dandelion that will convince some people to drop and others to vow to stick with it until the end. It depends on whether you like your moe on the side or as the main course. This show is certainly the latter.
Castle Town Dandelion is currently streaming on Funimation.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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