At long last, I can finally stop asking when these people will get to Antarctica!
Nobody’s able to explore just yet though. Considering that this is the team’s first expedition in about three years, some stuff naturally needs maintenance. The girls deal with some busy work here and there though there is some silliness to be had. My two favorite gags during all this was everyone stopping Shirase from doing God knows what with that penguin and Mari trying to find a good place to defrost a chicken. This episode also happens to take place around Christmas so everybody’s dressed up and enjoying some holiday-themed treats. I’m kind of surprised they all brought these clothes for occasion. I don’t know, it seems like a waste of packaging space to me.
A focal point in this episode is that email Yuzuki got from her mother. Apparently, Yuzuki auditioned for a TV drama and now that the wi-fi has kicked back in, she finds out that she got the role. Everybody is excited though Yuzuki is concerned since filming for that show will mean less time to hang out with her friends after the expedition. It’s a valid concern since everyone’s schedules clearly don’t align. Shirase and Mari are high school students and Hinata is simply prepping for college. Being an actress simply complicates things even further. When you think about, Antarctica will actually end up as the best place for our four main characters to hang out.
I’ll admit it: I really understand where Yuzuki is coming from. I remember being really happy to have friends during 7th grade but also afraid of screwing it up since it was after years of being unsociable and unapproachable (it’s a long story). While Yuzuki’s in a different situation, her concern feels very real to me. If you haven’t been able to make friends for a long time, it’s natural to feel worried once you finally gained some.
Mari, Shirase, and Hinata are the first people around Yuzuki’s age that value her as a person and not a celebrity and Yuzuki would hate to lose them in her life. Furthermore, it’s not too crazy that she actually had to ask her friends if they are even her friends. Considering her childhood, she most certainly has no idea what constitutes a long lasting friendship. I don’t think anyone can blame her for handing out a friendship contract for her friends to sign. Any child that paranoid about their social life would consider that (and I was a very anxious kid growing up so I sympathize with her a lot here).
Mari has an interesting stake here – saddened by the fact that friendship is a new thing for Yuzuki. Her concern even harkens back to the events of Episode 5 where Megumi tried to cut ties with her. It’s a really clever callback; if anyone can understand the pain you feel when your friendships go awry, it’d be Mari. I love that Mari shows Yuzuki the text messages she’s been sending to Megumi. If you look closely, the brief and sometimes delayed responses from Megumi suggests that this relationship is still in the recovery phase. Still, it’s something important to bring up to Yuzuki. Friendships will always change course but that is a part of about being friends. They grow and change just as much as the members of those relationships do individually.
Perhaps the smartest bit of commentary here is that none of the main characters of Yorimoi can put their finger on what exactly defines friendship. I was expecting a whole friendship speech about how they give each other strength, giving each other purpose in life, and Heart of the Cards. All that tried and true stuff. The girls just meditate on the concept; confident that they know what it means to be friends but unsure how to say it in words. Even Hinata, who loves creating her own philosophical sayings, was at a loss here. Shirase, meanwhile, chickens out on trying but her reason for doing so makes sense. She’d rather get it right and say it once than screw it up and confuse poor Yuzuki even more.
I’d say Mari was definitely closest in figuring it out. At the end of the episode, she notices that she and Yuzuki used a lot of “Right?” and “Right.” in their text messages and she concludes that this is what it means to be friends. She doesn’t fully explain in great detail; either because she’s struggling to articulate like everyone else or Yorimoi is trying to be subtle here. I think I get what Mari is going for though. Friendship does feel “right”. That I’m sure most, if not everyone can agree on. You’re not necessarily sure how you have an affinity with someone close to you, let alone explain it but you know that it brings you joy and you want it to last.
That whole birthday scene is easily one of my favorites moments in Yorimoi. The context is admittedly a little funny when you think about. When Yuzuki asked her friends about the nature of their bond, she asks if everyone else is keeping secrets from her. Everyone else acts coy and the reason behind that is that they’re trying to keep the party a secret. On top of that, this plan was apparently in motion a while ago but because of that great puke fest from three episodes ago (man, no one’s letting that go, huh?), things got delayed. Still, this scene was simply a delight to sit through.
I swear, I’m relating with Yuzuki a far more personal level than I normally would with fictional characters. I too didn’t have a birthday party until I was about 15 so I really get how Yuzuki is so overwhelmed with emotion. One particular detail I love is that she accidentally sneezes through her first ever birthday wish. Naturally, she gets upset about it but everyone else has a good laugh about it, understanding that she simply wants every moment where they’re together to be a good one. I think this scene overall greatly shows how Yuzuki feels about friendship. She’s deeply insecure about losing her friends but she’s also thankful that they’re a part of her life right now. Seriously, give this poor girl a hug.
So what’s in store from here on out? That post-credit scene shows a schedule for the girls to follow so that’ll surely play a role next episode. I’m curious about that pool of water the expedition crew is making. It’d be really funny if Yorimoi is gearing up for the girls to take a swim but I am getting a vibe that the show would absolutely dare to do so. I hope we will see the girls do that pose they do in the OP and ED. It got established as canon three episodes ago (complete with a version of the pose where they’re ready to die) so it better happen. It’s crazy to think there’s only three episodes left but knowing this show, I think it’ll make them count.
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