This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Strawberry Marshmallow: Episode 7 Commentary

Beach Trip

Collage of Strawberry Marshmallow screenshots.

I’m under the impression that summer break is early in the school year (as long breaks go), and that it’s only a couple of weeks or so long. Actually, I thought it was only one week, but the girls here have at least two weeks off. It must be time for me to read up on Japanese schools in more depth.

If Japanese schools were like schools in the US, it would make sense for the girls to slowly bring things home from school, as summer marks the passing from one grade to another. Japanese schools, on the other hand, put this event around May, in the middle of spring.

The letter from Matsuri is nice because it’s simple Japanese which is easy to read. At the same time, Matsuri uses kanji I don’t know… I do know 時, and 行った is simple enough. The kanji used for “farm” is unknown to me. I’m used to the kanji used in 牧場物語 (ぼくじょう ものがたり, Farming Story, Harvest Moon), but that uses a different word for farm.

The documentary story diverges from the manga’s version a good amount, which is nice. New content is better than the same content again for this series, and on top of that it saves Matsuri the embarrassment when Miu joins her for a bath as part of her independent research project in the comic. Without Miu, Matsuri would live such a peaceful life.

Unfortunately, the video letter from Ana is difficult to follow in the dub, as she’s shifting back and forth between English and Japanese. I support the method used for representing English spoken, and hope it’s employed in many future dubs, so this will simply have to be considered a potential price to pay for using this method.

I can understand Matsuri asking Ana what she was reading, but I’d like to think she’d have done a better job of it had she something to read from. Poor Ana is certain to have a real identity crisis later in life, between being a girl from England and being culturally Japanese throughout.

When Miu puts in her video, and Chika reacts, the squeak in Chika’s English voice is a good match for how her Japanese voice sounds.

With the way Miu acts and treats her friends, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ana told her, “You’re not allowed under my umbrella.” Come to think of it, without Miu, three would easily fit under an umbrella designed for one.

Ever the culturally Japanese, Ana tells about thunder spirits taking ones belly button. I remember first hearing this in Detective Conan. I believe it was the movie where the main characters are on an airplane, and a murder indirectly leaves the pilot and co-pilot poisoned. In the movie, if I recall correctly, little Ayumi is afraid of the lightning and what will happen if it hits the plane, and the boys pester Sonoko about wearing a shirt with her stomach exposed. That left me under the impression that having a shirt covering ones stomach would keep ones belly button safe, but Ana suggests otherwise when she tells Matsuri they need to cover their belly buttons.

Nobue brings three umbrella with her, and Matsuri is next seen with a raincoat and rainboots on. Did Matsuri happen to have these with her? Or did she have them at the school? Nobue certainly didn’t bring them. One mystery leads to another…

The beach portion shows that, as always, there cannot be a beach episode without the traditional smashing open of a watermelon. What I want to know is how Miu let herself be buried in that hole. I imagine Nobue pretended like she forgave Miu, then introduced Miu to a fun game: dig a hole deep enough to stand in. After getting Miu’s help digging the hole, the next part of the game would be standing in the hole, following by filling the whole. Certainly Miu wouldn’t realize what’s going on until it was too late.

Ah, without Miu, poor Nobue would have a lot less embarrassment at the beach.

I like how by wearing their school swimsuits, Chika and Matsuri are basically advertising their class and name. As for Ana’s swimsuit, it really has a nice watermelon color scheme going for it.

Considering how easy it is for Matsuri to pass out from dizziness by spinning (probably compounded by the heat of the sun), it’s amazing her parents ever let her out of their sight. If she was alone somewhere and passed out, it could be hours before she wakes up and works her way back home.

No matter how much of a brat Miu may be, she does at times seen like an innocent child who simply wants attention. Her trying to act cutesy and Matsuri-like doesn’t work out any better than Chika’s line about dinosaurs and ice cream, though. It has to be hard on Miu, knowing Nobue favors Matsuri and Ana, but it’s not like Miu tries to improve her behavior any. Of course, if she did that, she wouldn’t be the same Miu anymore.

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