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Ooi! Tonbo – 12

I still haven’t seen an official confirmation, but according to a Japanese Twitter account it looks as if Ooi! Tonbo is going to be two split cours, with the second airing in the fall. Since there is photographic evidence and it seems pretty unlikely someone would fake that for this of all series, I’m guessing this is probably true. Which is fine, except that with summer looking kind of meh, having quite a few spring holdovers is a good idea.  We still have a few (HeroAca, Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai, and The Fable) but I’d just have soon have had this show join that group.

As for this week’s episode – which we now have to call the penultimate of the season – I have to say it was the weakest of the cour for me. Not bad by any stretch but something just felt a bit off. If I were to guess I might say that the anime skipped over a bunch of manga material here in order to advance the narrative, though I have no idea if that’s the case or not. The flow was less natural than usual, and there were a couple of moments when things seemed kind of rushed. Plus who the hell cares about Bunpei and Youko, really?

None of that is to say there wasn’t some very nice stuff here, of course. I did like the idea of island kids writing an essay before their last summer, even if it was a pretext for a bit of a recap montage. Its funny that Tonbo is “Class 3-1” because of course, she literally is Class 3-1. In that essay (which by tradition is posted for everyone to read, a really poignant idea given the decline of rural life in Japan) she makes it clear that she is living the island, in body if not in spirit. And for me it’s the right decision, given all that she’d be giving up by staying. And it’s not as though she can never move back if she wants. Dusty is right – she needs to see more of the world, and then make an informed decision about the life she wants to lead.

From there things get a bit clunky for me. Certainly the problem of what sort of life Tonbo is going to lead is of great practical performance. Of everyone involved Igaiga is obviously by far the best qualified to advise on how Tonbo pursue her golf career. And he’s absolutely right – conventional golf instruction could be a real clash here. Especially in a land as obsessed with orthodoxy as Japan, golf is a sport obsessed with systematic instruction. But Tonbo is modeled after Seve Ballesteros, who learned to play the game hitting golf balls on the beaches of Cantabria in northern Spain, and had only his brothers’s hand-me-down 3-iron to practice with. His genius was the creativity he learned through that self-education, and he managed to avoid having it coached out of him.

I’m not sure whether there was more exposition about Igaiga’s plan in the manga, but it’s extremely vague here (maybe it will be explained next week). He goes to the house of someone named Kumamoto Udo (or someone named Udo in Kumamoto). There, he begs for the couple to take Tonbo into their care. He also begs their forgiveness for past transgressions – is this related specifically to his golf scandal, or to his family’s dissolution? Is this man a golf instructor, or are he and his wife meant to be foster guardians for Tonbo? TBH I have no idea at this point.

Back on  Hinoshima we skip ahead to March, which is graduation time. And having sat through junior high school graduations in Japan, the notion of a school with one student is highly appealing. Tonbo stage-leaps off the dais with her diploma, giving the grade-school boys some service (their contrasting reactions are telling). And Tonbo seems to have had a bit of a growth spurt – she’s taller and looks more mature above and beyond her hair being down. Wataru has decided to confess and then, to propose – we don’t often see Tonbo nonplussed but here’s a rare exception. And we learn why Youko was going into that clinic in Kagoshima. Will she and Bunpei get together in spite of that? All signs point to yes.

Again, all this seemed to happen really quickly. Maybe that’s just how the manga is, I don’t know. There’s some heavy lifting for next week’s episode to do as the season finale though, no question about that. I don’t know why I expected Igaiga to go with Tonbo when she left and look after her both as a guardian and coach – I mean, theoretically he has nothing tying him to the island except her – but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now. What sort of second season are we in for then – is he not a part of it? That would be quite a jolt – so much so that I kind of suspect there are a couple of golf shoes still to drop.

The post Ooi! Tonbo – 12 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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