It is Naru’s birthday! While Tama and Miwa set up the party preparations, Handa struggles trying to think up a present for Naru. Eventually, he hits upon the idea of giving her a stag beetle, and tries to enlist the help of some of the village boys to help him out. They even manage to find a Hercules beetle! But sadly Handa accidentally crushes it after falling from a ladder. That night, with no beetle to give as a present, Handa instead gives Naru a “I’ll do anything you ask, 1 time” card. Instead of being upset, Naru is extremely happy at the “cheap” gift.
After that party, Naru pops up at Handa’s place one morning and asks Handa to come with her for the grave watching ceremony. It turns out that Naru’s grandpa has to tend to the fields that day, so Handa is put in charge of looking after Naru. The grave they have to look over belongs to Naru’s grandmother.
After witnessing the traditions of the village, Handa stays to watch all the kids play with firecrackers. It’s only during this time that Handa realizes that he’s never seen nor heard about Naru’s parents. Handa also realizes that Naru may actually be a secretly lonely kid. Knowing that his time is brief, Handa decides to look over Naru the best he can before he has to leave the island.
This was a really great episode. It started out funny, but dipped into some more serious subjects towards the end.
To be honest, I had wondered about Naru’s parents early on in the series, and was worried that they had already died. But; since the grave Naru had to watch over was just her grandmother’s, that hints that Naru’s parents may still be alive. What is the deal with Naru’s parents then? Are they working abroad, or did they abandon her? There are a few theories going around, like Naru is actually an orphan and the grandfather that takes care of her isn’t her biological grandfather. Oh man, that would explain a lot of things, but I hope Naru’s situation ends up being a bit happier than that.
Naru aside, Handa is growing to be a kinder and more responsible person as this series goes on. When he first came to the island, he only really cared about himself. But with Naru in the picture, we can see that Handa’s learning to care more about others. There are very strong bits of foreshadowing that Handa will ultimately have to return to Tokyo again, and soon. That makes sense, given that this series is going to end soon at 12 episodes. But the question now is: will Handa REALLY return to Tokyo? Handa, giving Naru that “I’ll do anything you ask” gift card was a really dangerous thing to do…
Anyway, this was a great episode, and it’s always nice to see the hidden depths of Handa and Naru. Although this series has always been more on the comedic side, there are hints that this series may become more somber by the time it nears its end.
Out of five: