Up until now, there have been a couple hints surrounding Asagi and this episode confirms that she was getting jealous of Shou’s friendship with Hitomi. I really like how it goes about it to with Asagi and Kurumi participating a fortune telling run by Kohaku (her first act of business for the Magic Photography Arcs club) and Kohaku gets rather worried at what the future may hold for Asagi.
I’m glad that Iroduku decided to tackle this now. Maybe it’s not necessarily over but I’m currently unconvinced romantic drama is really what this story needs. Quite honestly, I have a really hard time imagining Hitomi and Asagi ever becoming hostile to each other. The former is so reserved and clearly has the hots for Aoi and the latter just seems too polite to really lash out. And lo and behold, Asagi doesn’t hold anything against Hitomi, let alone see her as a rival for Shou’s affection. If anything, the only one she has any beef with is Shou and understandably so. That guy sure is quite the blockhead. All these years and he still hasn’t taken a hint? Yep, that’s a childhood friend character all right. At least everyone else is conscious on some level in regards to who they like.
It would’ve been preferable if Iroduku established the contrast between Asagi and Hitomi earlier but the dynamic between these two still works. Once you learn more about Asagi’s insecurity, you can see why Hitomi ends up pushing her buttons. Both girls seem to lack confidence in their talents. Asagi has her photography and Hitomi has her magic. But whereas Hitomi is gradually working harder with her training, Asagi seems to be a standstill and that causes the intensely driven Shou to subconsciously shift his attention over to a different girl. While that does tick Asagi off, once she does see all the resources Hitomi used and all her failed attempts in creating star sand for Aoi, she does resolve to be more confident with her photography.
Hopefully, Iroduku will just continue on where Asagi and Shou are right now. The former decides to try making postcards out of her photography and enlists the latter to lend a helping hand. That sounds pleasant enough and a very smooth road for the two to inevitably hook up. I’m sure you can still involve Hitomi in some way but making her as a rival for Asagi seems to have run its course. It’s perhaps best to keep pairings self-contained.
Besides, Hitomi and Aoi’s relationship is tracking nicely that it’d be a shame for the writers to prolong it with any additional drama. As always, these two seem to motivate each other in further honing their crafts. Aoi has apparently hit a creative slump, prompting Hitomi to try and create star sand that might help him with that. It actually proves to be a daunting task; as mentioned earlier, she fails a number of times and ends up using a lot of ingredients. Ultimately, she does succeed and the whole scene where she offers the gift to him is downright heartwarming (not to mention gorgeous thanks to P.A. Works’s strong production values). I like that the star sand also involves projecting the stars themselves, a callback to Hitomi’s first display of her magic earlier in the show and it shows how far she’s already come with her training. That you see Aoi’s drawing of a fish appear though is a little curious. Why is this particular sketch popping a lot?
What amuses me most is that Granny Kohaku sort of plays matchmaker with these two. She encourages Hitomi to make the star sand herself and when her granddaughter still hesitates, she deliberately sets up a situation for the latter and Aoi to be alone together. She’s both that best friend who would root for you when you’re on a date and also that relative who would be hoping that you found someone special. I love it so much.
You really have to wonder just how much of the timeline Hitomi’s presence is changing. Without Hitomi, would Aoi ever had recover from his artistic slump? Would Asagi and Shou have hooked up on their own? You even have Kohaku to consider. We know she becomes a powerful mage and she clearly matured from studying abroad and yet, she seems to be taking her studies even more seriously than ever because her granddaughter has appeared. Iroduku has been pretty subtle about it but it appears that Hitomi traveling to the present is having an impact on the lives of the other characters.
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