What They Say:
“Snow Woman-chan Is Cold”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Although she has already appeared in significant portions of the series, our last demi Yuki Kusakabe is the only one not to get a focus episode yet, so this one makes up for lost time and goes all out. Yuki approaches Takahashi again not to indulge his curiosity but to seek guidance as she feels greater insecurity than any of the others, despite her “monstrous” attributes seeming to be the most minor of all, as Takahashi points out. Indeed, her status as a snow woman is subtle enough that she planned to keep it a secret and would’ve succeeded until someone touched her if she didn’t panic before that nearly happened, but her fears are not unfounded. In theory, an uncontrollable freezing power could end up killing those around her, which would interfere with her simple high school life to say the least. It’s a good thing the English and Japanese languages both describe people as “cold” for the same personality traits, because otherwise there would be a lot of jokes around Yuki’s demeanor that wouldn’t work. But there’s some sympathy to be had, because she’s really only like that to try to keep her distance from others out of the fear that she could harm them. It’s not an uncommon reason for such personality traits, but applying it to an actual snow woman of legend living out a high school life fits naturally.
What Takahashi discovers in trying to uncover the cause of the event that has changed Yuki’s perspective on the danger she could pose, after a few unnecessarily intimate but not especially creepy discussions about baths and sweat, is that her “cold sweat” just happens to be a freezing sweat, so all she has to do is not stress out! Setting aside the fact that every time she claims to not sweat, the staff has a big old anime sweat bead drawn on her face, any realistic depiction of this story of depression and insecurities could acknowledge a little more thoroughly that this is something far easier said than done. While the earlier material had built up her sympathetic qualities quite well, her ease in flipping her stress switch off and becoming one of the girls sadly undermines that a bit. If you can get past that, though, it does accomplish its goal of being heartwarming (no pun intended) by seeing how a girl who has suffered and blamed herself throughout all of high school thus far can smile with great friends who understand her. It feels a little wrong to say, but that negativity was a big part of Yuki’s character up to this point, so going forward she will have to prove her worth as a member of the main cast in new and unique ways.
Once Yuki’s crisis is all settled, it’s time to discuss whether she’s Yuki or Kusakabe after all. You may have noticed my switch in how to refer to her starting with this episode, and that’s because the same happens in the series. A surprising amount of time is dedicated just to establishing what the characters call each other, and it’s a good guideline to use in discussions. I’m not going to reduce Takahashi to just “Sensei” because obviously that’s just from the perspective of his students, but otherwise I’ll go with whatever Hikari thinks is most appropriate. Each episode seems to conclude its main point two-thirds to three-quarters in, leaving a bit of filler for lack of a better word in the remainder, but it’s a slice-of-life show to begin with, so it’s hardly problematic.
The final demi of the main cast gets her starring spot, and it obviously gives a lot of insight into her character and what makes her sympathetic in the process. The resolution is perhaps a bit too instant and neat, but it’s probably for the best for the sake of keeping things moving forward well.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.