by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Not you too, Sayumin! It's not only Misa-chan the girls have to watch out for, but their formerly friendly neighborhood crepe lady as well. In “Fabulous Crepe,” Rito has lost the support of literally everyone and must face the Scoopers alone. The result is a slow, repetitive episode that takes place mainly through dialogue, even as it fails to fully describe anything important. Rito serves as URAHARA's moral compass more than a character with her own personality, and this episode proves that we need more than Rito to carry this story.
Only the neighborhood cat hasn't abandoned Rito; everyone else is standing against her. Even Mari and Kotoko, consuming sweets with dead eyes, have become Scooper pawns. Nobody except Rito seems to care that Sayumin is now 10 meters tall, her crepes look disgusting, and she's actively attempting to destroy Park. As a result, the episode is sort of surreal because everyone is acting out of character, except Rito who has never had much character to begin with. Instead of giving her more strengths and flaws or distinct likes and dislikes, Rito acts as the show's moral center, and that's not very interesting.
Take everybody else's motives. Mari has always been sort of a drama queen; she wants to be an idol and garner lots of attention. Sayumin (or the Scooper that resembles her) is able to manipulate her by promising that eating Scooper sweets will grant her fame. Kotoko had her own episode about how much she fears being alone, and how everybody thought she was weird until Mari and Rito came along and said she was interesting. Sayumin is able to persuade her to eat sweets by promising that if she does, she'll never be alone again. Meanwhile, what is it that Rito wants? Sayumin tries both approaches to compel Rito to get sweets—promising that she'll be with her friends and her drawings will be popular. But Rito has never particularly yearned for either of these things. If anything, Rito's biggest fear is that she isn't original, a concern that's totally antithetical to being a Scooper.
For this episode, Rito's motivation is to save Park which makes sense—all the girls love (or loved) working at Park, but it doesn't feel especially unique to her character, and it doesn't feel particularly opposed to being a Scooper—especially paired with Mari's insistence that the stuff they sell at Park doesn't have to be original. So really, Rito is fighting for the status quo. There's plenty of time to mull this over since the episode follows a repetitive pattern. First Sayumin persuades Rito, then Mari does, and then Kotoko; Rito resists and the cycle begins again. Even the animation is dull, featuring looping circuits of Kotoko and Mari gorging themselves on identical sweets.
It didn't take me long to realize that Rito is on the side of good and everyone else isn't. We're siding with Rito because the show tells us (over and over) that we're supposed to. But even this good vs. evil premise falls apart when Ebifuruya shows up on the scene. Previously, Rito was ready to murder in order to save Park and keep from becoming a Scooper. But one sentence from the Fried Shrimp and she's ready to rethink her entire reality. The episode concludes with a promising twist, but we had to sit through a lot of circular conversations about motives with little story change in order to get there.
URAHARA is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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