Souta goes on a date with everyone–THE EPISODE.

Episode 5 Summary:

It’s a holiday, so all the girls (…and Meg) decide to go on dates with Souta.  First up is Meg, then Akane, then Rin, and finally Okiku.  So Souta spends the day getting to know his friends better, or catch up on old times with former friends (Rin and Okiku).  Nanami, meanwhile, is smart enough to stay out of the whole mess and just spends the day messing around and napping.

Nice room you got there Nanami.

That night, Ruri informs Souta that she’s found a secret passage underneath the dorm that matches his vision.  The two follow the passage to find a door, and beyond that door is a locked chest of some kind.  Suddenly, a bright light flashes through the cracks in the passage, apparently leading to the forest behind Quest Dormitory.  Souta follows it to find himself face to face with a strange new girl…

She’s got a nice design at least.

Episode 6 Summary:

The mysterious girl from last episode is accepted into Souta’s school as a new student, and her name is Mei.  Apparently, she has the same ability to see flags that Souta has.  But that doesn’t matter because school field trip time!  All the students are split into two groups—one group will be going to the ocean while the other goes to the forest/mountains.  Souta winds up just spending time at the beach, which he is not too fond of; as every time he touches the water, he gets horrible flashbacks of the ill-fated cruise ship incident which lead to him having “flag reading” powers.  However, during the trip, he does meet a young middle school girl named Kurumiko, who sells popsicles near the beach.

Must be handy having a robot as a friend.

By hanging out with her, Souta eventually discovers that she’s lost her parents, and peddles popsicles in order to survive.  Souta spies “story progression” flags on Kurumiko, so he continues to hang out with her.  Finally, Kurumiko takes Souta to her secret hideout, which is a small cavern connected to the ocean.  There she reveals that her parents were part of the crew of the same ship that Souta was on when it sunk.  After this revelation, the high tide unexpectedly comes in, leaving Souta and Kurumiko stranded, with the sea water constantly rising.

New character alert! …So Mei just kinda got shoved into the background this ep.

Kurumiko, depressed, puts up numerous death flags.  Fotunately, Souta is able to abolish them all by accepting Kurumiko as a younger sister, and asking her to stay at the Quest Dorms with him and the others.  They are rescued by Ruri soon after.  However, as the trio make their way back to the temporary dorms, they come face to face with (yet another) mysterious girl…

I am like 90% sure this is just Meg, but who knows?

My Opinion:

Episode 5 was pretty cute.  It’s always nice when an anime takes a mild breather and shows off the characters interacting with one another.  Fortunately, it was all pretty mildly amusing to watch, too.  However, I am still annoyed at the “Meg is actually a boy!” long-running gag that this series seems to love to death.  Man does this series ship-tease Souta and Meg HARD.  I don’t care if Souta and Meg end up in the end, but it is FAIRLY obvious that that won’t be the case.  So what we’re left with is basically just blatant ship-teasing and that’s just sort of aggravating to watch.  Nonetheless, I have to admit that I still laughed during the parfait eating scene where Souta just casually breaks all the on-lookers’ flags.

Also Nanami, man.  Nanami was really adorable this episode.  There were tons of flashback sequences, which I actually did quite enjoy, barring Rin’s.  The less said about Rin’s flashback, the better.  Surprisingly, we got a dose of plot development in this episode towards the end.  With the sudden appearance of a strange new girl, what will happen next?

…And then episode 6 came around and we got nothing more than a “oh we have a new transfer student” cliche and then she disappeared for the rest of the episode. Okay.  And then we got ANOTHER new character, but luckily Kurumiko actually gets a decent chunk of screentime.  That said, Kurumiko is alright.  I get the sinking feeling that she’s meant to fulfill the “little sister”/”cutesy younger girl character” trope of the harem genre, though thankfully (THANKFULLY) nothing perverted has happened with her… yet.  (But I’m holding out hope, don’t let me down anime)  I do like that she’s portrayed as being very mature for her age, in a way that’s admirable and not “I think I’m the hot shit because what do older folks know” kind of way.  She’s lost BOTH her parents and yet she’s trying to survive on her own by selling popsicles, because she doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone.  That’s just… that’s just tragic; and way more depressing of a subject than would usually come up for an anime of this genre.

What I’m kind of “ehhhh” about is that her flag is one of “story progression.”  Which made me go “really?” when it first appeared.  That skirts the line of lazy writing.  I mean, flags of death and flags of love/friendship are pretty neat in that Souta can manipulate them somewhat.  But a flag of story progression just feels like the author/director/whatever going “LOOK AT THIS CHARACTER! THEY ARE IMPORTANT!”  And that’s just kind of cheap.  If Her Flag…’s writing has been pretty good so far so hopefully this gets used in ways that don’t feel half-assed.

Overall, a solid two episodes.  Episode 5 and 6 both have a nice amount of plot thrown in, though 5 definitely has more fluff.  Episode 6 being a “beach episode” did make me groan at first, though thankfully the fanservice seems to be far less of a priority in this series than story and characterization.  Despite my initial reservations, If Her Flag has still kept me interested throughout these episodes, so I have high hopes for the rest of the episodes in this series.

Out of five for episode 5:

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Out of five for episode 6:

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At first, I was all “UGH” when Akane interrupted a serious scene with fanservice hijinks; but Kurumiko’s comment just makes this.