by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Mitsuboshi Colors ?
I'll always appreciate the more nonchalant introductions of Mitsuboshi Colors, like the one to this episode. Here we see the girls just hanging out before their latest distraction makes itself apparent. There hasn't been much direct development for them as characters throughout this series, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for such a low-drama show. But the personality dynamics between them are well-worn at this point, including how dismissive Yui is of Sat-Chan's cloying efforts to be ‘cute’.
But even in this low-key world, some sort of storyline has to appear, and in this case it's Nonoka coming down with a case of hay fever as spring approaches. I wouldn't expect simply waiting for a sneeze to happen to be a dramatic high point of an anime episode, but here we are. Granted, following it up with a brilliantly animated literal punch-line from Kotoha plays to the show's consistent key strengths.
Indeed, the humor is as strong as ever for Mitsuboshi Colors, supported by some genuinely excellent animation this week. Colors has always looked nice for a simple slice-of-life series, but there were places throughout the season where its presentation was losing steam. This week makes it apparent that the show has simply been economical in its visual resources, now at the top of its game one week from the end. There are a ton of great moments throughout this episode, especially in the second segment with the girls attacking trees in various ways.
That tree-fighting concept is a funny jumping-off point. Seeing the girls vow to defeat Spring itself is adorably child-like, making for a clever contrast with the environment-protecting the trio has focused on before. This affirmation of continuity is exemplified by Moka returning and the Colors extorting information from her by threatening her potential onigiri shop. The whole segment exudes a gleeful amount of absurdity, along with some more educational content as well. If you weren't aware of what a cryptomeria was before, you will be now, and there's a clever undercurrent of the girls' various foiled tree-takedowns inadvertently teaching them the value of various components of their ecosystem.
As solid as that segment was, I was worried about the remaining portion of the episode, as it returned to the concept of the team ‘training’ by playing hide-and-seek, which was a weaker bit back in the second episode. Fortunately, the show and the girls have done a bit of growing since then. Using the walkie-talkies to spice the game up was a clever idea, and I'm glad that those props have continued to be used since first appearing in the show.
This segment also works because of the focus on Yui in the game. I don't think I've made a secret of the fact that I find Yui and her easily-distressed nature to be the most endearing part of the show. The series also makes good use of the bystanders of the town throughout this episode, and a few flummoxed passers-by wondering what she was screaming about next to the walkie-talkie was definitely a laugh-out-loud highlight. Similarly, getting to react to Saito by herself and go through her deductions make for stronger comedy.
This hide-and-seek story does taper off toward the end with a forgivable montage, given how nice the rest of the episode looks, but it still doesn't help the pacing too well. Despite having the potential for a big laugh-out loud moment, the final punch-line of finding Sat-Chan, as well as Yui's nonsensical deduction, mostly just comes off odd and goofy. It's still fun, but the episode up until this point had more of the cute energy that carries the show better.
A light finish can't diminish the rest of the episode's fun factor though. The humor just seems a lot zippier than unusual, such as the good old-fashioned cartoon violence of the group's tiny beatdown on Nonoka. This is another strong outing for Mitsuboshi Colors, marking the series appreciably consistent this close to the finish line.
Mitsuboshi Colors is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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