I wasn’t planning on picking Sora no Manimani up, but I’ve loved every second of this show so far. Plus, with my Haruhi write-ups being so easy to do – and surprisingly repetitive – I think I’ll have the time to devote to this show. And I also declare Mi-chan to be the new Haruhi for the summer season. She’s such an awesome character. I can’t get enough of her.
Episode 2 gives us the final pieces to the Astronomy Club puzzle. Hime, a gorgeous, fuwa fuwa type with eyes of her own on Saku enters the fray as potential love interest #2 (or #1 depending on who you ask). And Edogawa, the short but overexcited guy we were introduced to last week, joins the club as an unofficial member, although the call of the swimsuit photo shoot is too much for him to quit the photography club. But when you get to hang out with a bunch of babes like Sayo, Hime and Mi-chan, it’s a no-brainer why Edogawa would hang with this club day-to-day.
However, we still get a healthy dose of Mi-chan glomping (both as the glomper and glompee!). I will never get tired of her glomp-friendly nature. I’m also glad to see that she’ll glomp anyone regardless of gender.
We then get a bit of Hime’s backstory and why she’s so interested in Saku. Apparently, she had quite fluffy hair in the past to the point where she was made fun of (I don’t get the "Drift" nickname though). But one day when she accidentally crashes into Saku, getting her hair caught in his button, she’s taken by his throwaway comment about her pretty hair. She keeps the memory close to her heart until years later when she notices that they’re back in the same school again. I’m amazed at how girls in anime can hang onto a memory forever… and how the guy never seems to remember.
Even though Hime may or may not be competition for Mi-chan, I still liked her a lot. For one, I wholeheartedly support all the chibi-faces this show uses. Hime’s yandere side is hilarious, as she brutally knees some girl in the stomach for calling her "Drift." Not quite as friendly as the Mi-chan glomp, but I want to see more of the Hime knee.
Also, I continue to be amazed by Haruka Tomatsu. She doesn’t use the Nagi/Lala voice I’m used to. Nor is it the Mamiko Noto voice she uses in GA. If I were to compare it to a previous role, I’d say she’s using her Gundam 00 Mileina voice. Either way, she’s awesome and I love her.
However, Hime’s discouraged by how a bunch of second-year girls keep hanging all over Saku. When they finally get a moment together, she gets up to confess, until BAM! Another flying Mi-chan glomp/straddle session ruins the moment. Hilariously. Mi-chan’s fondness for the straddle position just makes her glomping session that much more adorable.
However, not all is lost for Hime, as she later learns that Saku and Mi-chan are not going out – a fact readily admitted by both Saku and Mi-chan. At which point, Hime jumps to join the Astronomy Club.
I like Hime, but I still support the Mi-chan x Saku pairing. And the short competitive scene like the above was awesome. I wonder if a full-blown triangle will ever develop. I was a little surprised to hear Mi-chan admit that they weren’t going out. Not that they are, but I was thinking Saku would say something like he did, but Mi-chan would say something a little more ambiguous. Like when they first met and Saku says they don’t know each other, while Mi-chan says they do. I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but I think in this case, I would definitely want to see it, rather than have Mi-chan not be a love interest.
The group heads out to do their first official observation, but for the second week in a row, rain hampers their expedition. But Mi-chan uses this as a chance to visit Saku’s house and immediately gets glomped by Saku’s mom. No wonder I love Saku’s mom too. The two are so similar, it’s uncanny. Between glomping Mi-chan and telling embarrassing stories about Saku, she’s immediately jumped into the annals of awesome anime moms.
The following day, the group decide to head out for a nighttime observation. Hime shows up looking fashionably dressed, but this only enrages the Haruhi-side of Mi-chan as she forcibly changes Hime out in public, to avoid getting attacked by mosquitos. Hime’s romantic plans go further awry when the only person she can hitch a ride with is the anemic, blood-spewing club president. How can a guy like him, who can barely get through a conversation without coughing up blood, ride up a mountain with someone riding on the back? With a motor that goes berserk! Riding at the speed of light, he’s almost carried away by angels until the two of them somehow safely end up at the top of the hill without flying off of it.
After the hilarity and hijinks, the last couple minutes of the show takes a turn for the sentimental. I’ve criticized comedies (slice of lifes mostly) of sticking in dramatic moments unnecessarily and doing it poorly, but the sentimental moments of Sora no Manimani were fantastic. It didn’t feel out of place. It was touching. It was interesting. It really makes me think this show could be something special (as if all my declarations of "awesome" and "love" weren’t telling enough).