Mitsuboshi Colors
Episode 6

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Mitsuboshi Colors ?

Mitsuboshi Colors has consistently been an entertaining aside each week, but this episode illustrates that when the show is really on its game, it can be an absolute gift. The ‘adventures’ undertaken by our small superheroes aren't much more ambitious than they have been for the last few weeks, but they're delivered with a much keener eye for comedy based on fresh interactions and interesting situations for its characters. The girls are having fun, so we are too.

The first outing of this episode is actually its weakest, which gave me some trepidation for how entertaining the episode would be. The girls' search for edible plants is at least a good reflection of the series' main appeal, as the girls search for the unique and unexpected in their very normal world. It does a good job of using the characters' personalities, as Kotoha and her out-there ideas thrust the other two girls into action.

It's cute to see these kids repeatedly getting sidetracked by something as mundane as flower names, and the audience should know by now not to worry about kids putting dangerous plants in their mouths in this show. But so much of the humor this time runs on the girls getting distracted or messing around with silly wordplay. At least the ‘not the most careful harvest’ gag has a solid payoff, but overall the girls' pint-sized manzai routine is too slight to carry this one. The final solid punchline is the unappetizing result of the girls' foraging efforts, providing an amusing reminder of how things didn't always turn out as amazingly as you expected when you were a child.

The next part really kicks this episode into gear, heralded by some great attention to detail. Clouds were actually seen rolling in through the background of the previous scene, so now it's raining and the team is confined to their clubhouse. There are other great bits like their plans listed on the board (including ‘Vanquish Ghosts’ and ‘Sleep’) and that level of detail carries over to the character animation in this closed-off segment. The expressiveness is welcome after the preceding story looked artistically off. It calls back to the show's similarity to Strawberry Marshmallow in how the girls play off each other and work through childish logic that would appear as non-sequiturs to grown-up outsiders.

This segment is the most laugh-out-loud funny that Mitsuboshi Colors has been since the rocket launcher plot in the first episode. There's the great visual gag of Yui with the mustache, the enjoyment of seeing the normally-reserved Kotoha cut loose with her friends, and the payoff of a revelation that Kotoha is actually bad at video games! There's a dramatic lightning-flash followed by her dropping her Nintendo DS a beat later, and it's all perfect. Unlike the out-of-place sadness attack over the elephants in the previous episode, this one plays the lopsided drama of Kotoha's revelation for all its worth.

Finally, the third portion of the episode continues that march of quality. This one kicks off with the girls pondering a statue of Saigo, helpfully noted here as ‘the last great samurai’. Between this history lesson and the edible plant tour at the beginning of the episode, Mitsuboshi Colors asserts itself as not just fun for the whole family, but educational too! Seriously, that detailed real-world element helps set this series apart from similar slice-of-life shows; it's not simply cute kids rambling about vaguely interesting subjects, but actively exploring and engaging with them. The storytelling style of the series itself is precocious, which suits the enjoyable whims of the show perfectly.

This segment also includes another nod to continuity, with Kotoha now wearing the Mustache of Dignity as the girls parade Colonel Monochrome around for a thoroughly overcomplicated photography scheme. Of course, it's unlikely that a real cat would cooperate to the degree the Colonel does, but the little camera contraption they've made for him is quite cute. Most of the little asides on this journey keep up the solid comic momentum of this episode. Pops also proves himself a major asset to this storyline, steering the girls away from their initial panty-photography scheme and delivering great little throwaway lines like “Go defeat Saito or something in the meantime”. Pops endears himself to the audience more than any of the other adult characters, providing most of the excitement that leads to the Colors' silliest and cutest antics.

That first segment in this episode is just okay, but it's a find lead-in to much stronger stories. Mitsuboshi Colors has succeeded in various ways so far, and it's really shown off its comedic chops this week.

Rating: B+

Mitsuboshi Colors is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

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