Friendship and inspiration. That’s what I got out of this episode. Time is moving quickly through the series, even if the pace of individual events is slow.
When the lady and Mr. Shirakawa talked about the recital, I kept having this feeling as if too much would be given away. Thankfully that didn’t happen. It’s always more enjoyable for me when I have something to ponder. I like piecing together clues for a number of episodes, rather than having everything fall into place within a single episode or two.
After Miu and Yuuki finish off their ice creams and sodas, are they really able to buy more sweets? What was that Yuuki was saying about not being able to have three ice creams and sodas? But if she and Miu each had two, then bought more sweets…
There’s some manner of relation between Mr. Shirakawa and Akiko, which could have something to do with Mew knowing him. If Akiko is about six years older than Miu, then Mr. Shirakawa could have been around the house six years prior, and Miu wouldn’t remember him. Were Mr. Shirakawa and Akiko dating at one time? No, that doesn’t relate to teaching Miu piano. Maybe Akiko was a student of his, but she gave up on the piano. Mr. Shirakawa could see that as a failure on his part, prompting him not to make the same mistake with Miu as he did with her older sister.
Students tend to leave Mr. Shirakawa’s class with a sad look on their face. Miu’s situation improves due to her friendship with Yuuki, and Mr. Shirakawa notices the improvement. Not an improvement in Miu’s playing, I’m sure, but rather in how she goes about playing. In her demeanor, her expression. The smile on her face rather than an apologetic frown. Whatever happened with Mr. Shirakawa and Akiko, he seems to be intent on the solution being to get Miu to enjoy playing the piano, but he does nothing to improve the situation. Sure, he could be getting her to think about things a little, such as previously asking her, “Do you like playing the piano?” and by telling her to be sure and memorize the piece she composed herself, but I don’t see those as helping her out. Being only her piano teacher, there isn’t exactly a whole lot he can do for her, anyways.
The look on Miu’s mother’s face when saying Yuuki was at the door, it was obvious what had happened. There isn’t much information given on Yuuki and Takizawa. Their relationship is unknown. Words weren’t exactly exchanged at the end of the prior episode after Yuuki confessed how she felt to him. This calls many things into question. Is there actually anyone he likes? Does he see himself as being in a relationship with Yuuki? Does he want to be in a relationship, with her or at all with anyone? Was the reason behind the fight between the two clear to them both? Was it really about Yuuki talking so much as if she were his girlfriend? Could Takizawa have been fine with the idea of getting to know one another, only to have Yuuki move way too fast for him?
I can sympathize with Yuuki not wanting to burden Miu with both her joys and her sorrows, her pinnings and her troubles. Still, she needs someone to talk with. Her voice actress in a bonus on the first DVD says she imagines Yuuki as having a lot of brothers. It’s unknown at this point if she has any siblings, but if she doesn’t have an older sister, then she probably has no one at home to talk with about things. Miu is the only one Yuuki can talk with, yet Yuuki feels this is unfair to the friend who’s always there for here, and willing to let her copy her homework, etc. Yuuki gets to be so melodramatic, but in truth, Miu is exactly the people to talk with this about. That’s what best friends are for, and Miu isn’t only to walk away from Yuuki. She might not speak up if Yuuki were being a bore to her, but she won’t abandon her friend.
On the other side is Miu and Takahashi. Yuuki is eager to get them together, and even Miu is envious of Yuuki’s earlier position with Takizawa. With Akiko returning home for the autumn and winter seasons starting next episode, Miu will have someone to talk with. Yuuki didn’t abandon Miu (although it almost started to look that way during lunch, until Yuuki came back saying for the two to walk home together). With Akiko back, will Miu abandon Yuuki? Not full-out abandon, but will Akiko take Yuuki’s place as someone for Miu to talk with, to confide in? Does Miu feel more comfortable talking about things like liking Takahashi with Akiko? After all, Akiko won’t see Takahashi at school and try to set something up. Yuuki, on the other hand, may be unpredictable when it comes to something like that. Yuuki gets an idea, readies herself to run with it, then is quick to drop it — but does she really drop it? Or is she setting it aside to refine, forging into a better scheme?
It isn’t likely Miu will take the initiative with Takahashi. How long can Yuuki last before she has to intervene?
Animationwise, the backgrounds are still standing out at times, but staying out of mind at other times, depending on the amount of movement and dialogue at the time. I’m surprised at just how much the background stands out when it’s a style one doesn’t care for.
Something that’s been bothering me as well has been Miu’s piano playing. I can understand looping and reusing frames while she’s playing, but her movements never match the keys being played nor the speed at which they’re being pressed. When Miu’s hands are moving at one speed, and the music is clearly being played faster than that speed, it’s jarring.
Miu’s English voice still gets to me. Her voice during the next episode preview isn’t as free-flowing as previous ones, but it’s still more casual than the force-sounding voice acting during the episode. I hear Miu speak, I think, “This voice isn’t that,” then she speaks again, and I have to correct myself. Just because it’s a softspoken voice doesn’t mean it holds the personality of Miu within.
Five episodes down, five to go. Akiko appears next episode, and the girls transition from their summer uniforms to their winter uniforms. Akiko’s voice has only been heard once, and briefly, so this will be the first chance to get a good assessment of her Japanese and English voices, as well as learning about her personality.