"Kodocha Vol. 6": More Real Than a Reality Show
While we are only about a quarter of the way through the series, Kodocha seems like it has thrown every conceivable hurdle at Sana, Akito and Co., yet they all bounce back and become stronger in the end. Now that the matter of Sana’s mother has been effectively settled, its time for her to get her career back on track. Let’s check up on her and see how she is doing!
In episode 21, thanks to Naozumi, Sana makes a visit to the orphanage where she spent a portion of her childhood before being formally adopted by “Mama.” After meeting and greeting the various children, including several “Sana fan groups,” she comes across a young boy who reminds her much of Akito before they became friends. In Akito-fashion, the boy irritates, prods, and bugs Sana until she realizes just how much like Akito the boy really is. She begins to show him that he doesn’t have to be an outsider, and that there are more.. constructive ways to get attention.
This is a good old fashioned comedy episode and a nice break from the more dramatic turn that the series had taken lately. I’ve never been a big fan of Naozumi, but he proves his worth and supplies many entertaining scenes.
The next episode deals with Akito and his newest hobby – Karate. His friends are skeptical that someone like him could possess the discipline and respect necessary to succeed at it. In his first lesson, he almost leaves due to his impatience. Sana and her friends observe the young hothead scrubbing the floors and meditating quietly and are shocked to see the progress he’s making. After leaving Akito to his devices, Sana contemplates quitting Child’s Toy due to the fact that she’d get to spend more time with her friends. After some words from Akito, she agrees to return though, and with renewed vigor she resolves to lighten her schedule to allow more free time. All in all this is a solid episode, but Sana’s quitting reminds me of when Peter Parker resolves to quit being Spider-man. Its been done before, and you know it isn’t going to stick.
The third episode returns to a subplot (Sana’s real mother and step-sister) that was so well resolved, I was surprised they’d reopen it. After a friendly shout out on television from Sana, Mariko heads for the place where the show was filmed, taking it as an invitation. While Mariko’s parents scramble around in a mad panic, Mariko accidentally falls under the care of Zenjiro. Eventually, with the aid of Sana, Mariko is found safe and sound, but not before Mariko’s father attacks Zenjiro, believing him to be a kidnapper. This episode is harmless fun, and with the interplay between Zenjiro and Mariko, ends up being one of the funniest of the series. It shows that Sana’s real mother has grown up, and is indeed a good person.
The final episode of volume 6 deals with a returning plot thread from the very first episode! Due to the boys’ disruptions (that ceased when Sana tamed Akito), Sana’s class is far behind in the curriculum and will be tested for proficiency in every subject. Sana, while being very intelligent, realizes that her math skills are less than stellar and fears that she will fail the math portion of the exam, thus preventing her from graduating. After a underhanded-yet-well intentioned plan by Akito, the teacher championing the surprise exam, Ms. Andoh, realizes that arbitrary testing of the students is unnecessary, and she resolves to forgo the formality. This episode signals the end of Sana’s run in elementary school and showcases some nice continuity by referencing past events. It truly puts into perspective how far characters like Akito have come since the beginning.
While only ¼ of the way over with, Kodocha makes me feel like I’ve witnessed a real live person growing up. Sana and her friends seem as real as anyone, and its impossible to not get emotionally invested in this show. Farewell Kodocha in Elementary School. Hello Middle School!