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Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai. –11

Another excellent episode of Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai for the six of you and myself actually watching it in English to enjoy this week.  It did get me thinking about the whole “anime cold” trope and COVID, though.  I wonder if anime has been basically forbidden from discussing it.  The only time I ever remember it being acknowledged was Osomatsu-san (and good luck trying to stop that show from doing what it wants) doing a vaccine gag.  You don’t even see characters wearing masks apart from situations where they would have been pre-pandemic anyway.

If you think about it, COVID is kind of like the anime cold actually became real – it’s a great opportunity being wasted, really.  Anime colds and COVID are serious business, and as I was watching this episode play out I kept imagining Hayato had COVID.  As is so often the case, it was Minato who was actually the center of the episode.  He has the biggest personality of the four brothers, and the smallest filter – he says what he thinks and acts on impulse.  When Hayato comes down with a bug, it’s Minato who takes charge of the situation in his inimitable manner.

Minato is kind of a zettai shounen, boyish in every sense of the word – cheerful and energetic and volatile and reckless.  But when Gakuto is about to spill the beans to Saki and her brood who are about to go on vacation, it’s Minato who stops him – not wanting to worry them when they’re just starting a trip.  That leaves the boys in charge of Hayato as he convalesces, which wouldn’t be a problem for a normal cold (and no Mikoto, 23 year-olds don’t typically take a long time to recover from stuff).  Minato (adjudged to be too unpredictable to be left with the housework) takes him to the clinic, where everyone assumes he’s the one who’s sick as usual.

Minato does his best to act responsibly, and Mikoto is usually calm under pressure.  But the fact is, Mikoto is still only 13 – and while that’s old enough to mind the store as long as things are relatively straightforward, it’s awfully young to be able to deal with a real emergency.  Gakuto blanches a bit when Minato says Hayato has “gone cold” when his fever goes down, and when Mikoto notes that he’s “resting in peace”.  But while this is all sort of a fun adventure when one assumes with medicine and sleep everything will be fine the next day, when Hayato takes a turn for the worse Mikoto is – for once – rather stumped about what to do.

I sympathize with the panic mode here, because for kids whose parents have died, it’s so easy to assume the worst anytime something bad happens.  Minato does the right thin in calling Saki-san for help (the only alternative would have been calling an ambulance, really) – a shame the onsen trip was cut short, but it kind of epitomizes the “it takes a village” philosophy that runs pretty deep in Japan.  This all gets rather gritty – 39.4 fever and vomiting – but Yuzuki-san Chi has that in its arsenal for sure. The degree of realism to situations like this is quite impressive with this series.  It’s dramatic but in a way that’s quite grounded.

Five days later Hayato is finally on the mend (yeah, that could be Corona for sure), though Saki winds up laid out for a week (Mikoto irritatingly beats the virus in a day).   In a sense I think this ep was kind of a paean to Minato’s indomitable spirit.  That makes him a handful for his brothers (and teachers, I don’t doubt) to deal with, but it’s also what makes him who he is.  I see boys like that get labeled as trouble and ill-treated by the system, and even Hayato struggles at times to hide his impatience and treat Minato the same way he does Mikoto ane Gakuto.  Patience is the key with such kids, but that’s a quantity life often leaves people in short supply of.  It’s nice to see an episode wher Minato’s innate qualities are revealed as a strength and not a weakness.


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