Another amazing episode. At this point, things have to go really weird if the third season isn’t going to end up as better than the second one. It even has the potential to still surpass the first one. I haven’t seen an episode that beat the Hotaru episode, but apart from that the new season has just about everything running in its favor, and it has two very important things that the first season didn’t have: consistency and development.
Natume’s development really is THE major selling point of this third season. And heck, this episode added even more of it. I mean, the power of friendship is cheesy and all, but this show completely nailed it. Natsume’s concerns for his friends, and their concerns for him were incredibly heart-warming. It’s a wonderful way to show how much the cast has grown since the start of the series: back in the first season, the characters were still way too distant for this episode to have happened.
School festival episodes are overused, but thankfully not the biggest cliches out there. Those go to the hot spring episode, the beach episode and the pool episode, simply because everybody always does the bloody same there. Of course there are the bad festival episodes that are just there to waste time, but the good ones manage to show the cast in a different light, allow the characters to show themselves off, or highlight development. The best ones re the ones who want to make points that could not have been made without the choice to go with a school festival (so, no cheesy “let’s wait until the festival to confess to each other or something). Here, so much stuff gets thrown at Natsume, and he finally gets the chance to show himself off in the center of the attention by being the store clerk. The festival was a perfect chance for that.
Rating: *** (Awesome)