As things progress towards fulfilling what is probably Menma’s wish, Jinta starts backing off from the goal that he himself put before the group. Menma has revealed herself conclusively to the group. It’s no longer in doubt that she exists and can interact with the others. The firework rocket is back on track. But now Jinta isn’t so sure that he wants what he’s been after. Naruko’s statement of the obvious, that Menma would disappear when her wish is granted, has finally sunk in. And speaking of Naruko, things go in a different direction between her, Yukiatsu, and Tsuruko.
This was more of a setup episode than anything else, where several things are either resolved or set in motion for next time. First among this is that the characters are given definitive proof of Menma’s presence when she and Jinta bake bread again and serve it to them. Now Menma starts moving objects around them in plain sight. I guess that it had to happen at some point, but I’m not quite sure what I think of it being so matter of fact. The others had to be convinced eventually but it seems like the drama has come out of the ghost aspect of the story a little. Though an odd point was when Menma couldn’t write anything on the paper Jinta gave her, but we know that she has written in her old diary.
I’d ship it.
Looks like Jinta is a Gundam 00 fan. And a Celestial Being supporter at that. That’s a shame.
Jinta’s grown accustomed to having Menma back and the feeling just grows from here.
Menma’s mother preventing the fireworks maker from producing the rocket still remains a problem until Yukiatsu intervenes. He and Tsuruko find Menma’s father as he’s going to his car and appeal to him to allow the rocket to be built. He doesn’t want to leave his wife stuck in the past, but seems noncommittal until Yukiatsu gets on his hands and knees and begs him to allow things to go forward. He mentions how he feels stuck in the past like Menma’s mother. But most jarringly to Tsuruko, he unhesitatingly says that he was in love with Menma. His surprising confession and begging works, so the firework rocket is now back on track. Though I get the feeling that this won’t be the last of Menma’s mother and her involvement in things. The next day the group arrives to help out with some of the rocket construction. Menma is with them too, and now that Jinta can be open about her presence Naruko is hit full force by how much she’s still at the center of Jinta’s life. Even now she can’t win out against her, which is an upsetting enough thought to send her running away for a bit under the pretext of buying some juice. Yukiatsu follows, feeling the same unbearable suffocating feeling of being with Jinta and Menma like that. He really shows how much he’s been improving over time when he tries to comfort her, wiping away a tear and seeming like he was going to hug her before she swatted away his hand. She apologizes and he mentions that he was serious when he asked her to go out with him, though considering her response and his counter, it’s hard to tell if he’s just provoking her or not. Still, it wasn’t in a mean spirited way even if he was joking. But the two are getting along a lot better now, even acting as close as they might have once been. However, Tsuruko has followed them and was watching the whole scene. I’d be all aboard the Yukiatsu X Naruko ship if he was serious about it, but whether that was genuine or not, this could certainly lead to some interesting moments between those two and Tsuruko.
He really threw himself into that. Not even a bit of hesitation in begging Menma’s father or admitting his feelings for Menma.
Mmmm, fierce Tsuruko.
That has to be tough for Naruko. Now it’s not just Jinta’s memories of her, it’s the actual presence of Menma.
I don’t know what it is, but I really like these two together. Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship!
This could get interesting.
The final scenes in this episode hint at some past events as well as set up the final episodes. Poppo gets a short but potentially significant scene after Jinta leaves the clubhouse to go to work at the construction site. He and Menma are left there and he tries to get her to communicate by writing. This time she is able to write, in her old diary. For whatever reason she can write in this but not on the paper at Jinta’s house, though I have a thought on that at the end. They ‘talk’ for a moment like this when Poppo starts asking something about the day that she died, but he stutters and hesitates and eventually just drops the topic in favor of playing games. He was asking about himself in connection with the day’s events, which makes me wonder what role he had in any of it since he seemed to be the most irrelevant in the flashbacks we’ve yet seen. They presumably continue for a while until Menma leaves for a walk along the bridge where she spots something down in the water. She heads down there just in time for Jinta to come looking for her. He doesn’t find her at home after work and starts running, worried for no reason that he can put his finger on, looking for her. Eventually he comes to the bridge where he sees her on the riverbank waving at him. Seeing her by the river certainly doesn’t make him any calmer, so he runs full tilt down the embankment, trips, and rolls out onto the bank. It evidently brings up memories for her, since she jumps on him, crying, and says that she doesn’t want him to die. But after a moment things are calmer and she talks about the koi fish she thought she saw, though Jinta tenses up again when she does to the water’s edge and he grabs her from behind and says to stay with him forever. Before catching himself and simply saying for her to stay put while he goes into the water. But it’s definitely apparent how he’s veered off from wanting to grant her wish and allow her to disappear into the afterlife.
Why’d you back off, Poppo!?
Jinta, receiving a Shiro Amada face scratch for his haste.
The ripples in the water was cool, but I really loved this shot out of anything in the scene. The blue of the river, the reflections, the contrasting colors of their clothing, and the dark forest isolating them from the town above.
Final Thoughts: - Menma’s being revealed to the group certainly makes sense given her ability to interact with objects, but something about it feels weird. Like some of the magic has gone out of it. I guess it was inevitable when you have a reveal like that, but I’m not used to seeing a ghost character become so widely known to living characters. It doesn’t ruin anything, but it’s just an odd feeling.
- Menma not being able to write on the paper at Jinta’s house but being able to write in her old diary was odd at first since she can interact with objects normally otherwise. But I’m guessing that she needs some sort of connection to be able to write. A connection to something from when she was alive, like her diary or the clubhouse wall that she wrote on. Both were her’s when she was alive, and both are the only two mediums upon which she is able to write on. It almost feels like it gives her existence plausible deniablity. If she can only write on objects of her’s/that she was around when she was alive, then there can’t be any conclusive proof that she didn’t write those things before she died.
- Only two episodes left. I imagine that the story of fulfilling Menma’s wish can be wrapped up satisfyingly in that amount of time, but it feels like things have just begun. At least to me. I’d love for the show to have four or five episodes left instead of two, to give more time to tell the story of how the group of friends have moved on after Menma’s eventual departure.