Mitsuboshi Colors
Episode 5

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Mitsuboshi Colors ?

Probably the most important development in Mitsuboshi Colors this week is that HiDive has added subtitles translating the lyrics of the theme song, and gosh is it cute. It's a delightful ode sung by the girls about how they need to be the ones to protect the town, because only they have the energy and awareness that adults lack. The energy of that song carries into this episode as well. It's another low-key affair, with the Colors doing little beyond just messing around, but this series that can imbue this material with entertaining personality when it's at its best.

The opening segment is emblematic of this, as the girls just play around with a box of old toys. That the series manages good entertainment out of something so simple is a testament to its abilities. This bit staggers beats with excellent comic timing, such as Saito grabbing the paper plane mid-air, or Kotoha smacking any of his stuff with the Kendama. There are also less in-your-face touches, like the detail of Saito using his phone to look up how to use an old spinning top, or the girls coming to the conclusion that their inability to understand Pops's games means that he didn't have any fun in his childhood. Is this series actually a commentary on the generational gap and today's kids not appreciating the simpler things in life? Given how simply the Colors' days pass otherwise, I think it's safe to say that's not the case. (Besides, Mitsuboshi Colors is not the type of show to tackle critical subject matter.)

Or it shouldn't be, anyway. The main thrust of this episode is getting the girls down to the zoo for the day, but the path it takes to get them there is odd to say the least. The girls have gotten their hands on a book about zoo elephants who were to be poisoned but ended up starving to death during World War II, (It's a real book too!) and the tale understandably leaves them all sobbing (even the pointedly grim Kotoha). Even the audience gets the full version of the story, complete with cutesy drawings of elephants dying. It's jarring, to be sure. While the presentation of the story and the girls' reaction to it fits within the child-perspective framework of the show, complete with them making bad jokes in the middle of their sadness, it seems like an unnecessarily weird way to lead into this plot. The main takeaway is that this story will facilitate the girls' ‘mission’ at the zoo, as the book leaves them convinced that the animals at their modern-day facility might be starving as well.

This concocted conspiracy becomes the main thread through the rest of the episode, and it does work to spice up what would otherwise be just a day with youngsters at a zoo. Unlike last episode's festival antics that ran out of steam halfway through, this one is packed with gags and asides that keep it fun. The girls taking a moment to shout their team name and strike their little poses is cute, as are the mental gymnastics they do to rationalize how they think the animals are being fed. The girls even deduce that a large bone a tiger is chewing on means Pops was fed to the animals, and there's a humorously patronizing cutaway to Pops hanging out with Saito, reassuring us that he's fine in case we were actually worried.

That's an example of this episode utilizing one of Mitsuboshi Colors's best qualities: the way the girls' viewpoint affects how they engage with their world. Admittedly, that does mean that if you aren't sympathetic to their particular efforts, the trio can just come off as simple kids being excitable in public. If you're the type of person who finds that annoying, this material isn't going to work for you. The story does try to insert an adult edge to some of the adventures, particularly a great aside about a zoo worker's salary, but ultimately the series seems to realize that you're still here this many episodes in because you find this type of content to be a relaxing escape. And that you like seeing the girls dunk on Saito in casual conversation.

The character dynamics have continued to develop effectively over these five episodes as well. Seeing them support Yui was nice last episode, and there's a very endearing rapport this week between Kotoha and Sat-Chan, with the former really enjoying the latter's jokes (and as a lover of bad puns myself, I'm totally here for it). Even what could have been another slide-show montage of the girls touring the zoo ends up slipping in some nicely animated snippets, imbuing it with nice action and energy. The payoff is similarly satisfying, in the simple childlike joy of watching an animal at the zoo eat your shared snack. (Though as the show helpfully reminds us, you really shouldn't feed them yourself!) Overall, this episode makes its simple outing work with strong energy and some effective framing. However, I do think it would be nice to see more overtly adventurous superheroics from the Colors sooner.

Rating: B

Mitsuboshi Colors is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

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