Sweetness & Lightning
Episode 4

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 4 of
Sweetness & Lightning ?

Now that the show has established its general formula, Sweetness & Lightning takes a turn for the silly this week. While episode 4 still has its share of tender moments, it contains quite a bit more comedy than its predecessors. Even though this week's story has been attempted on virtually every family sitcom, this show's characters and colorful direction make it seem fresh and original.

Although Tsumugi has gleefully gobbled up everything her father put in front of her in the past, Kohei discovers that his dutiful daughter has inherited his childhood aversion to green peppers. Wishing to pass his acquired taste for the largely tasteless veggie on to his brood, Kohei enlists the aid of Kotori, who suggests the group make a vegetable-rich gratin for their next family dinner. Despite the best efforts of the elder two-thirds of the main trio, Tsumugi quickly catches onto their scheme and worms her way out of eating the hated peppers in a characteristically adorable fashion.

Whether you're a picky eater (or were one as a kid) or have ever cooked for someone with a selective palette, every viewer can relate to Kohei's dilemma. Since Tsumugi seems perfectly willing to eat her other veggies, I can't see much harm in allowing her to skip the green peppers, but Kohei and Kotori's efforts to change her mind made for a fun watch. (As a famously finicky eater, I could have warned them that their plan was doomed to fail.) As Kohei pointed out, Tsumugi can eat a perfectly healthy diet without green peppers, so a lot of the trouble he went to was unnecessary. Furthermore, by his own admission, he didn't warm up to green peppers until adulthood, so expecting his five-year-old daughter's taste buds to develop at a faster pace seems unreasonable. Fortunately, by the end of this week's misadventure, he seems at least partially cognizant of this.

As usual, Tsumugi is the life the party. The pained expression she displays after biting into a green pepper is sure to elicit feelings of dinner table nostalgia in viewers of all ages. Additionally, her clump-killing song and dance number may have been the character's cutest moment to date—and that's saying something. It was also nice to get a glimpse of her mischievous side. Even though her father and Kotori went out of their way to pull the wool over her eyes, the deceptively clever tot proved that she's no pushover. Making Kohei think his little ruse worked and subsequently tricking him into eating her peppers was a fun way to illustrate the futility of trying to get a child to eat something they hate.

Not surprisingly, this week's Sweetness & Lightning is sure to leave you hungry—and possibly even make you more adventurous in the kitchen. Unlike fantastical cooking-themed anime like Foods Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Yakitate Japan, or Toriko, this show focuses on realistic dishes that most people should be able to prepare. The fact that episode 4 expertly ties the main story into its extended food prep segment wins it a few extra points. Even with a slight downgrade in the artwork and animation, Sweetness & Lightning remains as endearingly entertaining as ever.

Rating: A-

Sweetness & Lightning is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.


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