I have found your apprentice, Zero!
After a subpar episode 3, and episode 4 so tediously boring i didn’t even want to talk about it (And being Seika focused didn’t help) episode 5 seems to have regained the wind that was lost during the last two episodes. A fair amount of character development, some much needed depth for Sylvia and Charlotte (Because it should be painfully obvious these two are the ones that matter), some expectable (which doesn’t make it bad) foreshadowing and possibly even some overall progress (or setup for one) in the relationship front. They even seem to have gambled back the budget that was seemingly lost during episode 3, so the episode looked visually appealing as well. As a date episode it is quite Charlotte/Teppei centric, but they used this time well; if the series keep up on such a note that will make me a happy camper.
Back at school Teppei immediately gets assaulted by his gigolo fangirl, who is hell bent on repaying Teppei fro taking his place during Seika’s interview … and he won’t take “no need” for an answer, or else …
His idea of repaying – helping Teppei host that party of his (They sure are taking their sweet time with the party to come around), and his idea – naked mask ball! Amusingly enough it looks like Teppei is not immune to the mental image that conjures, and both go in a creepy chuckling spree …
“What are you two talking about ?”
Until the predictable outcome happens. That’s two years off from our boy’s lives. On that note, Teppei should realize he can probably get to see “this and that” without such a party, as there is a likely willing contender straight in front of him, who has come to invite him on a date this weekend.
Next stop – Sylvia, and Charlotte asks her for permission to “borrow” Teppei for said date, although Sylvia grumbles why she would need one, as it is not like she has accepted their engagement anyway, even though she does show what might be a slight sign of jealousy, and comments she and Teppei haven’t even talked much lately. Charlotte also asks of Sylvia to cover for her if her butler comes searching for her, as it looks like she is “sneaking out” for said date. We also learn that Charlotte and Sylvia are childhood friends.
Back at her home Sylvia is getting teased about her relationship with Teppei, but the conversation turns more serious once Sylvia mentions her homeland, and her father tells her that it would be good if she could find happiness in this peaceful country, and that it would be okay for her to forget about her mother and even about the two of them, as long as she can find happiness.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is happily picking her clothes for the upcoming date, while her butler (whose name keeps escaping me) keeps nagging her about the destination (As she says she is staying over at Sylvia’s place, which obviously isn’t true) and wonders if she isn’t going to spend time with Teppei instead, noting that “his sources” indicate the two are rather close at school, and reminds her not to get too carried away while she is in Japan. And if that doesn’t indicate Charlotte is scheduled to leave sooner or later, possibly with her own arranged marriage waiting for her, i don’t know what does.
As she is arguing with her battler, Charlotte gets a call from Sylvia (remember kids – dark room means emo), who after a moment of silence, tells her to take care of Teppei and hangs up, staring at her pendant and forlornly wondering what was she thinking calling Charlotte like that.
The weekend arrives and Teppei meets up with Charlotte, who has a specific destination in mind for her date “It is far, but we will get there fast!” – Osaka!
As the two have arrived Charlotte reveals she just wanted to spend this day like a normal girl – no butlers, no bodyguards, and she prohibits Teppei from calling her a “princess” today. As the later wonders if she feels safe with no bodyguards or anything, Charlotte obviously doesn’t mind as she believes that should anything actually happen, Teppei would protect her.
And thus, the date begins.
“I want that!” … a penguin ? Sorry, princess, but the bird stays ^^”
It is already evening, and Charlotte comments how she liked the takoyaki. This shifts the conversation towards food, and Teppei answering his mother used to cook in their house, after Charlotte asks if their cook is making some as well. After Charlotte’s comment she would like to try his mother’s cooking Teppei tries to word his sentence in a way that would imply she is no longer around, but Charlotte drags him away to a ferris wheel.
Once on the wheel, Charlotte comments she thinks Teppei is a wonderful person, and it seems he loves his mother a lot from the way he just talked about her. Teppei comments he indeed used to love her, which catches Charlotte’s attention, and Teppei tells her his story – how both of his parents died, and that being the reason he is now living with his grandfather. With the conversation having taken a more depressing tune Charlotte turns serious as well, and solemnly comemn’ts he must not say “loved” – he is still alive and still carrying those feelings within him, and so long as those remain true that would not be a thing of the past, so saying “loved” is something he shouldn’t do. (On anothernote, it seems that Teppei has started calling her “Charo”).
Some slightly awkward mood afterwards and the two edge slightly closer almost making it look like a potential kiss scene (sorry folks, too early in to the series for that), though obviously it doesn’t happen and Charlotte comments she hadn’t noticed how cold it has become and how she dislikes winter, but Teppei counters by listing all the fun things you can do in winter, making Charlotte say that if he could show her all those things, maybe she could come to like the winter in Japan, and the two make a pinky swear (Ultimate Flag getto) of doing just that once the winter comes.
As Teppei is getting excited about the upcoming winter, Charlotte shows a rather saddened face though and after a bit asks if Teppei is planning to marry Sylvia, and after the somewhat sour answer that he doesn’t know, Charlotte tells him that Sylvia is a nice person, and reveals some bit from their childhood – it seems like Sylvia’s mother had died when she was still little (A point both Teppei and Sylvia can relate to), but Sylvia was not worried at the time, thinking the mother will come back if she behaves well enough – she even wrote a letter to “god” about it. It looks like her father took the blow rather heavily though, and the pendant is something he gave Sylvia at the time – so that she doesn’t forget her mother’s face, even if Sylvia didn’t understand at the time why she would need one, as she clearly remembers it.
After which Teppei comments that the more he is interacting with the rich, the more he feels they are quite lonely people, and that if he had previously thought having a lot of money can only be a good thing, having too much seems to be more restraining that anything else, and the “loss” from being rich seems to be too great. (And interesting comment, and possibly true to some degree. Seeing Teppei’s philosophy on this, it leads me wonder if he is not going to eventually follow his mother’s footsteps (no, i don’t mean ending up 6 feet under) and give up on his title as heir to the Arima family and choose to pursue his life freely, whatever that may entail at the time).
As they get off the ferris wheel Teppei has a sudden idea about the upcoming party, and says it is all thanks to Charlotte, although she says she hasn’t done anything today, besides spreading her wings a little to come and have fun with him. As Teppei turns around though she suddenly hugs him from behind, and asks of him to make another promise to her – that he wouldn’t forget her. When Teppei asks what is wrong, she makes a cheerful face and apologizes for doing something silly, and asks of him to forget about it.
We end the episode with Sylvia practicing her swordfighting, basked in sunset.
Well now, color me pleased with this episode. Although i am not quite sure where they are going with the whole deal about Sylvia’s mother and the pendant, i am still glad to see her get some actually valuable screentime and an added layer to her character. Although she does show some slights sights of jealousy (though that is too strong of a word for now i feel), i doubt that the “love triangle” is going to be the major point of her story – rather it feels like it could be about her deceased mother, and her coming to terms with it, which is something she obviously hasn’t been able to do up until now. Her chances of ending up with Teppei seem as abysmal as ever, but i feel it won’t matter that much in the long run – the focus of her inner problems lies elsewhere, an i am expecting that to be the focus of her story.
On the otehr side of the coin, they are continuing to develop Charlotte and Teppei and their relationship along the way. For a date episode this turned out expectedly good: alone-time means good opportunities to bring up topics that wouldn’t have come up in other circumstances, and they did just that, along with adding a more serious side to Charlotte as wel, and throwing in more Teppei/Charlotte flags than you can shake a stick at. It is of no big surprise that it seems she is scheduled to leave japan by winter, hints of which were dropped all over the place, and possibly has an arranged marriage of her own waiting, seeing the butler throwing a fuss about her being close with Teppei.
All in all this isn’t an unexpected development considering who she is, and it also likely means we will get to see Teppei play the knight in shiny armor on a white horse (Or more like on a shiny bike), having to eventually go and rescue his princess before he can reap the results. I can already imagine a battle between the (undoubtedly heroic) Teppei and the (undoubtedly evil) batler, with Charlotte on the line. At any rate, that is to come and this is now, and now turned out to be a quite good episode, and the animation quality made it easy on the eyes as well – which is to say it was good, save for one or two weird moments of mouth animation. A good episode that is more in line with episode 1 in terms of feel, one of the things that made me appreciate this show from the start. If they can keep the quality (both writing and animation) up, this is going to move along very nicely.