Hakumei to Mikochi – Episode 2
This second episode was made up of three very different shorter vignettes. Still no overall plot as far as I can tell, but it’s not bothering me yet. I’m just trying to appreciate this show for what it is. :3
So in the first one, the two girls are at a market. Hakumei appears to be walking around mostly, while Mikochi has been selling her very popular pear jam. The winner for the annual songstress competition is a blonde beauty named Konju – but wait, there’s a twist! Even though she never even entered, Mikochi was named a co-winner!
This has Konju really pissed off. She wants Mikochi to drop out, which Mikochi wants to do anyways. However after talking to Hakumei and getting some feedback, Mikochi decides to go ahead and participate in the show after all.
When Hakumei and Mikochi go to visit Konju the next day, she’s sick with a cold. The girls insist that Konju have some of Mikochi’s pear jam as it’s good for the throat, which she does. Konju decides to play her lyre more and sing a little less, and Mikochi will help by singing with her soprano voice. When the times comes for both girls to perform, everyone is amazed at how well the two ladies’ voices complement each other.
But that’s not the neatest part about their duet. As Hakumei explains earlier in the episode, the original purpose of the festival was to celebrate something called tsukumogami. They are tools which have acquired their own spirits after about 100 years of use. So when Konju and Mikochi are singing together, a lot of the objects in the market around them start to come to life and move of their own accord. Tables, tools, chairs, and so on. It’s neat and a little freaky at the same time – I know if my dishware started to dance around I’d definitely be freaked out. ^^;;
In the second episode, things take a turn for the weird. Hakumei is fishing and Mikochi is trying to drag her home. Suddenly Hakumei sees a giant skeletal fish and Mikochi faints. A woman shows up and brings Mikochi back to her home nearby.
That home turns out to be inside the shell of a turtle. But not just any turtle… a dead turtle. A living skeleton. Cree-py! This woman, Sen, is a scientist of sorts who works with trying to reanimate the dead. She installs “sound lamps” (they look like lightbulbs) into a special place on a skeleton, then blows into a glass tube attached to a cord, which is also attached to the skeleton. She essentially mimics a heartbeat using her breathing patterns to move the skeleton. For larger creatures like her turtle or a fish, she puts a receiver into another living creature and the skeleton picks up on that receiver and is able to move without needing a cord like the smaller skeletons do.
Later Hakumei is accidentally dragged underwater by one of Sen’s fish skeletons, but is recovered safely. When she’s barfing up streamwater, she coughs up a receiver. It turns out it was in a fish Hakumei and Mikochi had caught and eaten the week before, but Hakumei had just assumed it was a bone and had swallowed it without checking it first. >>; The fish that had captured Hakumei had been using Hakumei’s heartbeat to be reanimated. Ironic much?
After the two girls go home, Sen sends them a case of two fish on ice to apologize for what happened to Hakumei, and includes both a receiver and a note saying they should “research together again one day”, ha ha ha. Nudge nudge Hakumei. ;D
In the last short episode, Hakumei and Mikochi are back visiting Mikochi’s master again. She has a very old coffee mill that is no longer working, so Hakumei offers to take it apart for her to try to fix it.
However after putting it back together, the coffee mill still doesn’t work. By this point it’s quite late, so the master suggests that the two girls spend the night.
In the middle of the night, Hakumei and Mikochi awaken the master to show them something really special. The three ladies peek into the kitchen, where they can see the master’s old coffee mill glowing green. It’s turned into a tsukumogami!
The coffee mill had once belonged to the master’s mother back when the master was still a child, so in hindsight I can see the mill being 100 years old, especially if it had another owner before the master’s mother. Anyways, the mill acquired its own spirit and that’s why it had stopped working. Nothing had been wrong with it at all. With a smile on its face, the spirit of the old mill floated through the front door and disappeared.
Feeling happy for her old coffee mill, the master makes Hakumei and Mikochi a cup of coffee using her newer mill. Guess she’ll have to learn how to make a new grind with this mill, or get herself another one eh?
In retrospect, I feel like the tsukumogami (or age in general) was a theme that tied the three shorts together. I feel like maybe there’s a larger commentary going on that I might be missing, but taken at face value this was a cute episode overall. I really love the friendship that Hakumei and Mikochi share.