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This episode feels like it left me with the most to digest. I had to watch it a few times before I felt I caught everything, not to say that it wasn't perfectly comprehensible on the first watching. But it felt like the script covered a lot more ground than usual, with lots of background about the relationships between the characters, and, unbelievably, yet more mysterious hints about revelations to come. Why the headaches? etc. The driving rhythm of the last two episodes seemed to take a back seat to exposition of the characters and their personalities. Isako's cunning power-play was a surprising development.
While not low quality by any means, this episode felt like one of the more restrained episodes so far in terms of the animation. Nonetheless Toshiyuki Inoue was present again, as he has been in every episode. The sequence following the appearance of Satchi near the end had a great feeling to the movement, and the whole closing sequence built up nicely. The storyboard was again by Akitoshi Yokoyama, who did ep 3, though directed by someone else. Last ep's AD Yoshimi Itatsu was there, and Ei Inoue, and the AD was Kiyotaka Oshiyama.
The episode did a nice job of capturing the feeling of a summer adventure among friends, wandering slowly through the streets, sweating in the heat, playing around in an abandoned lot full of old junk. I liked the feeling of specificity in the setting. It really felt like you're watching kids wandering around the streets of Japan. Passing images of the surroundings like that concrete-lined riverbed, or that winding country road surrounded by dense greenery, felt authentic and believable. Not necessarily because they were painted vividly or realistically, but just the choice of these particular images felt nice. It brought back distant memories of wandering by foot on the hottest day of the Japanese summer along a country road on the outskirts of town. Those images are the ones that stuck in my mind the most after all these years, even more than the glitter and neon of the city - old country roads, old temples in the shade, places with a bit of mystery about them. I was the kind of kid who loved just wandering around randomly in places new to me, just taking in the sights and sounds and smells, for the anticipation of an adventure or a new discovery around the corner. This series touches that inner kid in me.