Castle Town Dandelion
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Castle Town Dandelion ?
Castle Town Dandelion's enormous ensemble cast is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, nine siblings means there's tons of material to cover. On the other, it's taken six episodes to even begin to get to know most of them. Episode six was especially strong thanks to two surprising reveals about Kanade and Aoi, elevating them from mere sketches to fully fleshed out characters with flaws and motivations that only made me like them more.
This week's episode was divided into two parts, but it didn't feel that way. Each of the Sakurada siblings was focused on either their own election campaign or assisting another sibling with theirs. It's adorable how the siblings are constantly willing to help each other, even when they're ostensibly in competition for the crown. (Shiori's line-feeding to Teru and Aoi immediately comes to mind.) While it seemed cruel and a little exploitative for the King to pit his kids against one another reality-TV style at first, Haruka's observation this week makes it seem downright noble: “Maybe Father proposed to have the election in this season of our lives so that, before we went out into the world, we could look at ourselves from a different perspective.”
Kanade has been an untrustworthy character up to this point. I've been especially wary of her hot and cold attitude toward Akane, along with Shu's earlier vow to keep her from becoming King. She's wily, clever, and already drawn to positions of power (like the Student Council). So I was completely surprised by her big reveal this episode. Kanade blames herself for a childhood incident that left Shu unable to play soccer, so she's vowed to become King so she can dedicate the kingdom's resources toward medical research to help him. This also explains why easygoing Shu would have a problem with her becoming King—since he wants his twin sister to forget about the past and simply move forward with her life. Kanade was already the most complicated character on the show thanks to her role as the family antagonist, but this week's reveal makes her one of the most surprisingly likable, as well.
Kanade's biggest competition, Aoi, has an even more surprising secret. So far, Aoi has been the predictable, bland epitome of the “big sister type.” Kanade confronts Aoi about her power, noting that “Faultless Learning” is really just “the same as being smart.” Indeed, Aoi is just smart, but she also has a completely different power that she and her father have hidden from the world—and even her siblings—because if the citizens knew, nobody would ever trust Aoi again. This power turns out to be truly terrifying. Just imagine if Kanade had this power, how easily it could be used to manipulate and control people. Now, the faultless Aoi has a fault, and this imperfection finally makes her seem human.
My remaining issue with Castle Town Dandelion is how scatterbrained it is. We jump from one thing to the next without any concern for wrapping up the previous arc. The reveals about Kanade and Aoi are fascinating, but probably won't culminate in moral dilemmas or anything like that—each skit is an exploration of one of the siblings, but not a complete story. It's interesting to watch them all campaign to become King, but how much do you want to bet that this 4-koma turned anime won't even deliver a definite winner? This show is about the leisurely meander that the characters embark on each week, not a nail-biting race to the climax.
Castle Town Dandelion is currently streaming on Funimation.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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