[REVIEW] Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 8
Maybe I'm missing something or just being an unreasonable pain-in-the-ass about this, but I'm having trouble seeing how Nagomu and Kanoko broke up over a “misunderstanding.” Even with this week's flashback to give us more context, it feels less like Kanoko didn't understand what Nagomu was asking and more was giving him some sort of arbitrary test of how much he loved her. That she may not have truly expected him to let her go can be gathered by the fact that she clearly left at least one pair of shoes in the vestibule, but given that the man was crying because he though his father was dying and her response was, “bye-bye,” I don't feel he can be blamed for “failing” her emotional exam. Even if Nagomu is impulsive and overly dramatic with his feelings, the tears are hard to misinterpret as him being genuinely upset, and that still puts Kanoko in the wrong for just walking out rather than talking things through.
For what it's worth, I do believe she regrets that now. She comments that she wasn't her best self at that point, and while she's done some thinking and maturing, she still may not have reached that point, although she's well on her way. Nothing shows that like the efforts she makes to get Nagomu a chestnut hat like the one that he lost when Itsuka's mother unexpectedly showed up; he's bereft that he can't find it because to him, that's more than just a silly-looking hat. It's a link between his past and his present, a reminder that he did once play in a band, just as when he was in Tokyo the chestnut served as a reminder of the family confectionery he left behind. It's a tangible, physical object that he can touch and say, “yes, both of those people were me,” and that's incredibly important to him, especially as someone who never quite shook off the guilt of choosing music over wagashi when he was younger. That Kanoko realizes this is the best display of the person she can be when she's not mired in her own issues, and her conversation with Nagomu's old bandmate helps to push her towards changing herself. After all, as he points out, leaves change no matter where the autumn touches down, and that's a natural cycle.
I do think that Kanoko is changing. I'm not sure I'm sold on the idea of she and Nagomu getting back together, because what she did to him is one of the hallmarks of a toxic relationship, but if enough care is taken to show that she's growing as a person, it could be a nice plot thread. Seeing Nagomu from the outside last week enlarged our view of him as a character, and seeing Kanoko from the inside this time is a step in that same direction, as well as one of the more important elements of a good slice-of-life show: we need to understand the nuances of how the characters are growing and changing. We may be over halfway through, but it's still not too late to make Kanoko and Nagomu work out.
While we're waiting for that, I'd just like to take a moment to revel in the glory that is Itsuka's friend who dressed up as an umibozu for Halloween. You've got to love a kid who decides to go as a monster that specifically swamps ships, and I'm not just saying that because one year two of my friends and I went as Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and the executioner and put on a skit at every door. The jack-o-lantern treats are another nice detail and surprise, since you don't expect traditional Japanese confectioneries to cater to the random western holiday crowd. It's just another way that this show manages to keep things interesting and fun, and I can't wait to drool over the confections that we get to see next week.