|Episode:||6: Keitarou's First Kiss? (Journey)|
|At Hinata-sou everyone is wondering why neither Naru nor Keitarou are returning: Did they really elope? Then Haruka happens to see Keitarou in a TV report about Kyoto. Kaolla and Shinobu secretly decide to leave and look after their friends, leaving a short note behind - and Kitsune talks Motoko into following them.
At Kyoto station Naru denies there were anything being between her and Keitarou. Right when they start to fight once again a girl walks by and Keitarou remembers has has seen right before the Toudai application test - Otohime-san? Just moments later this girl faints, and they have to take care of her. Otohime Mutsumi explains she has low blood pressure and faints often - and that she just failed at her Toudai application for the fourth time! Keitarou and Mutsumi have a lot in common, and Naru is in a bad mood. Finally, Mutsumi is heading homewards.
Keitarou is on the verge of telling Naru he wants to stay together with her rather than returning to Hinata-sou now. But once again Mutsumi interrupts them, fainting right into Keitarou's arms! Now Naru suggests they should accompany Mutsumi home - and learns that this means going to Okinawa, far away in the southwest! At first they travel into the wrong direction... nearly running into Kitsune and Motoko who ran out of money at Nagoya and have to present Motoko's art of using her sword to some audience.
Travelling in the back of a truck Naru feels she might only be a bother for Keitarou who seems to have found such a cute girl friend now. Keitarou tries to apologize to her, then he stumbles and falls right upon Naru - but nothing happens, except that Naru discovers they are travelling north towards Sendai while they should be heading south. Meanwhile, Shinobu and Kaolla have arrived at Sendai instead of Kyoto and happen to see Keitarou on the truck...
Finally the three failed examinees are on a ferry to Okinawa, and Naru and Keitarou are quarrelling as always. When Mutsumi discovers the sticker photo Keitarou took with Naru at Kyoto she is convinced they must be a couple, and she asks Keitarou why he didn't kiss Naru in the truck. In his surprise Keitarou confesses that Naru is always on his mind but there is nothing between them. Mutsumi uses the next opportunity to tell the other girl that Keitarou told her that he likes Naru - now that's something Narusegawa has to think over! Meanwhile, Shinobu and Kaolla have run out of money and try selling matches, only to be saved by Kitsune and Motoko. But then the four Hinata girls watch the pictures of Naru and Keitarou on TV as three persons are reported missing after they left the Okinawa ferry with a rubber boat! Now Motoko, the traditional Japanese girl, fears the worst: Did they elope to commit suicide together?
On the ocean things aren't going well: The three applicants run out of water, and then a storm makes their boat sink... but they got washed on some island and happily play on the shore until Mutsumi faints once again. Naru is looking for fresh water... only to find Mutsumi kissing Keitarou when she returns! Naru runs away, Keitarou chases after her, once again they stumble and fall... and this episode isn't over before the audience gets to see another kiss, and a new inhabitant of Hinata-sou as well, one whom we already know now.
|(2004-04-07, Devil Doll:)
In a way Keitarou is 'chased' once again without knowing the reason why, only that he isn't even aware of it this time. Four more chapters (21-24) from manga volume 3 are covered by this interesting episode, and things start getting shape.
Keitarou sure is attracted by cute Mutsumi. This woman may be dumb (actually she isn't, as we will learn much later) but she is friendly and understanding (while Naru is bright but violent and unfair). Mutsumi is feminine and adult, even one year older than Keitarou, and she is always physically very close to him but never blames him for anything - this is a new experience for the shy boy. Still his heart is with Narusegawa like he confessed to Mutsumi; it is just that he has no chance to do anything about it without being blamed for perversion. His situation looks like a deadlock, and on the long run Mutsumi might be a worthy competitor for Naru were she on location at Hinata-sou. (But she isn't, at least for now.)
And Naru is aware of that. Despite having denied any relation between her and Keitarou she acts jealously when the boy gets along so well with Mutsumi at first sight. Learning that Keitarou confessed he likes her to another girl is something Naru will have to think on, as well as possibly having a rival who is already talking with Keitarou about whom he likes (Naru never did something like that, obviously). Naru always acts as if she were invincible but during the Toudai test we have already seen how vulnerable this tough girl can be, and this new situation is something she cannot handle easily. Her biggest problem is to be aware of what she wants (that's why she started this journey in the first place!), and it is going to take the better part of this series for this girl to become honest with herself. And she will need a lot of help for this...
Mutsumi isn't a part of any love triangle at this stage. Instead she is playing the love cupid for two people who don't even know they are a couple! She doesn't really try to seduce Keitarou although it might look like this from Naru's point of view - then again when has Naru ever been fair? Mutsumi will always be fair to Naru (except for holding back one crucial information on one occasion later), and making the other girl aware that she doesn't 'own' Keitarou is just what Naru needs to make a move herself one day.
Keitarou explained to Mutsumi that "a first kiss should be done with the most important person of your life" - another of these foreshadowing statements. On one hand this episode will feature his first kiss (with a girl whose "status" in Keitarou's life is still to be explored), on the other hand his statement will be the topic of the whole episode 13 later.
Kitsune told Motoko that Shinobu might be in rage because Keitarou eloped together with Naru. Of course most things that this fox lady says have to be taken with caution but this shows that Shinobu's crush about Keitarou isn't a secret any more at Hinata-sou. Kaolla hasn't ever shown a single sign of thinking or acting like a girl; Motoko hates men in general and despises Keitarou in particular (while in the manga we are given first clues that even Motoko denies caring about the relation between Naru and Keitarou, and why would she need to deny if she didn't secretly care?), Kitsune will (in the anime) never again consider Keitarou 'interesting' after the 'Toudai fake'. So at Hinata-sou there isn't any real competition for Naru at the moment - Shinobu is four years younger than Naru (the same four years that Naru is younger than Mutsumi, by the way) and seven years younger than Keitarou (like Naru was so much younger than someone we are going to learn more about in episodes to come).
Note that neither Keitarou nor Naru managed to make up their mind what to do after failing their Toudai application. They are both going to question their motives for doing so (they both made a "Toudai promise" after all, and both have shown that they were serious about it), and they will both have to face that their respective cramming partner might be part of their motivation to try again next time. In the manga this is very clear (it took both of them months to handle their failure but Naru decides to try again after she saw Keitarou attenting cram school again), in the anime it is a more incremental process - and this element of 'shifting targets' is one thing I like best about this series.