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"Kodocha" Vol. 3: Kisses, Ulcers and Rap

by on November 18, 2005

The first volume brought forth wackiness, the second volume exuded drama, and now the third volume of Kodocha brings us right back to wackiness, whips back to drama, and then back once more to wackiness. When last we saw Sana, Akito Hayama, her close-friend-yet-vile-enemy, had planted a much-unexpected kiss on her. If that wasn’t enough, her manager Rei was still struggling to make up with his ex-girlfriend Asako Kurumi.

In the first episode on this disc, Sana does her best to cope with Akito’s stolen kiss. Sana feels guilty that her first kiss wasn’t with her “true love” Rei and anger that Akito has robbed her of her intended “moment.” Of course, Tsuyoshi, who has a crush on Sana, doesn’t take this well and goes into his patented borderline-psychotic rage. Hearing of the fuss caused by his kiss, Sana’s mother summons Akito to her house so she can meet him. This is by and large a comedic episode, but the bits of interspersed drama make a nice balance and help to further develop Rei’s character. It also included the rest of his “origin” story and how he and Asako broke up. Watch the scenes with Tsuyoshi for some great laughs!

In the next episode, Sana does her best to cope with the unfortunate news, but naturally doesn’t fare so well. She meets Tsuyoshi’s younger sister, Aono, who carries an egg around in her pocket thinking it will hatch if she keeps it warm. Sana buys a baby chick and swaps it for Aono’s egg when she’s not looking. Aono is overjoyed, but Akito thinks Sana’s action will end up making Aono look foolish when she gets older. Sana refuses to believe that she did a bad thing until a chance meeting with Akito after running away from home allows her to see things in a different light.

I have to give credit to the writers of Kodocha for constructing such a believable, complex love-hate relationship between Sana and Akito. This episode displays the full emotional range of their characters better than any before it.

The third episode is both the funniest and most serious episode of Kodocha. Sana prepares to devote herself fully to her career, appearing in commercial after commercial with two of her Child’s Toy costars. She forces Rei to visit Asako’s apartment, and the two finally rekindle their lost love. Everything in Sana’s life seems to be going well until Akito’s father collapses during dinner, blood running from his mouth. Akito and Sana share a close moment waiting for word on his father’s condition.

A member of my own family has experienced a bleeding ulcer, and the scene where Akito’s father collapses captures the dire feeling perfectly. (Parents, don’t fret as the drama and blood are just enough to convey the seriousness of his illness, and not too graphic or frightening.) The episode also has another Sana rap, so look forward to that.

The final episode of is the worst of the bunch, but it’s still very funny. Sana’s guns-a-blazin’ approach to her career has begun to take its toll on her life. Utterly exhausted during class, Sana has no time for her friends, who start to ostracize her. Tsuyoshi and Akito spring into action, inciting a large group fight that lands all of the boys in trouble. It isn’t until Sana misses her friend’s birthday party that she realizes the mistake she’s making. But she realizes that’s not the end of it when Tsuyoshi disappears. This episode has more of what made the last episode so great—Sana’s commercial shoots. I sincerely hope more thirty-second gags like these will make it into future episodes. For those with an odd sense of humor, be on the lookout for Sana’s imaginary bird, and be ready for one of the stupidest, funniest scenes of the entire series, if only in the English dub.

Kodocha just keeps getting better and better. The absolutely stellar dub cast and script make this one to watch in English. These four episodes comprise the strongest entries in the entire series, and the mystery surrounding Tsuyoshi promises lots of intrigue and excitement in volume four. The only thing wrong with the show is that the new DVDs don’t arrive fast enough. Fans looking for a family-friendly comedy series should pick this up immediately!

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