Well, this was more-or-less the MICHIKO AND HATCHIN version of 50 FIRST DATES, wasn’t it? Here is the only anime that can be properly compared to an Adam Sandler flick, now, as far as I’m aware ; and that’s a... funny point of distinction.
I love how the show’s able to (pun intended) switch gears like this, taking us from an episode devoted entirely to a white knuckle car chase to one that’s maybe only a degree or two off from a true slice-of-life. Of course, when we’re discussing a plot that involves a plot-convenient case of amnesia that’s caused by an explosion, I suppose “slice-of-life” becomes a little more rhetorical of a descriptor (and actually, seeing as how it’s a glass shard that causes that amnesia, the term becomes a little macabre, too).
Anyway, unlikely mental illnesses aside, this outing felt very real to its characters. Nobody can watch Hana’s range of emotions and not nod in amusement about how accurately it captures the sort of confusion a real girl her age would be going through. I also like how the character drama takes on greater resonance after you think about this episode’s placement in the larger series.
For one, Hana’s boy problems seem much more defined when contrasted with those of her acrobat friend and then Michiko’s earlier affair with the hairdresser’s husband. Here’s a cast of characters that really do react to similar circumstances in unique ways that reflect their specific personalities.
Furthermore, I appreciated how this budding romance really has no bearing on the larger plot. Lenine makes an interruption in Hana’s quest that’s as inconveniently-timed as… well… any instance when a suitor randomly tries to pick up a girl in real life. Again, it isn't likely to have any physical consequence on the rest of the series; but since we know this missed connection's going to be on Hana's mind from here on out, there's going to be that much more pathos underlying subsequent events since we've just seen what this caper is forcing her to miss out on.