Summer has arrived and that means it's time for trips and festivals!
What They Say
The kindergarten's summer vacation starts tomorrow! Sakura suggests they take a trip to her hometown with Hiiragi, Koume, and Tsuchida-sensei. Tsuchida-sensei gets excited when Yamamoto-sensei decides to join them, and the six of them make plans to visit the hometown of Sakura and Tsuchida-sensei. Satsuki is delighted her brother is finally visiting home, but when he spends all of his time looking after the girls and staring at Yamamoto-sensei, her mood turns sour. The situation comes to a head when Tsuchida-sensei does not even realize his sister prepared dinner. The group heads to a nearby shrine for a summer festival, but Satsuki's feelings are still unresolved.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Fans of Satsuki will be most pleased by this episode overall as she returns to the show and brings her younger sister vibe out for all the enjoy. Hanamaru Kindergarten rolls right along in this episode as summer has arrived and that means it's time for trips and festivals as well as a mild bit of cute recap. The show has certainly held onto its charms for me from the beginning and the characters are all quite comfortable now, though they manage to stretch things a bit here and there as the fanservice perks up a few times. A nice bonus for this episode is that Sakura makes another wonderful impression as she helps move the story along.
The show covers a couple of different areas to very cute effect. With the summer vacation here, Tsuchida's heading home to see his family and discovers that Sakura is heading there as well to revisit the old places. That means Anzu's coming along and Sakura is one of those good mom's that includes other kids so she gets permission to bring along Hiiragi and Koume. What makes it even more fun is that Sakura manages to convince Yamamoto to come along and Anzu is all over that to make it happen. Tsuchida's a bit panicked over it but the idea of a trip with Yamamoto is just what he's looking for. Anzu and the others make it fun but there's a whole lot of awkwardness at the homestead when Satsuki sees everyone and realizes she has to share her brother again. But there's also some fun as Tsuchida's mother thinks that Yamamoto is perfect for him and that leads to some awkward moments. It's a cute home story that spreads over the two parts and we even get Anzu and the kids recapping the story (in dialogue only) from their point of view with some of the things Tsuchida has done, including looking at girly magazines.
The other main arc of the episode that's really well done goes back to the past a bit as we see Tsuchida and Sakura in their high school days, complete with Sakura in a proper sailor fuku. She's been doing her best to set Tsuchida up with someone but that's not what he's interested in since he's fallen for Sakura, but she's expressing her deep and full love for her teacher that we know she did eventually marry. There's a lot of really nice flashback material here that showcases how their relationship was, but we also get a good look at how Tsuchida was with his sister and how that's slowly changed because he's out in the world now and not there with her as much. She's feeling slighted and left out when it's just a normal part of the changes in life. Thankfully, Anzu helps to bring a little perspective to it but getting the overall look at the relationships and the ties between them with Tsuchida was really quite endearing for all involved.
Hanamaru Kindergarten has managed to work well in expanding beyond the simplicity of the kindergarten itself. There's always a risk of it losing its way when it does so or it comes up with really awkward ways of bringing some of the kids together outside of there. This episode worked well with the traveling and the justifications but also because Sakura is once again doing what she always does and that's to look out for Tsuchida. Though at least this time his desires aren't with Sakura so that mans she may actually have some success this time. The kids are entirely too cute, Satuski works well with her emotions and feelings considering her situation and getting to see the family was great. Sakura really won this episode for me, particularly with the flashback material, and makes me want to see a series with just her as a mom with Anzu and whatever she does every day.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.