School festival arcs. Inherently boring, so series really need to add something to make it work. This series does that by just doing what it always does and making the school festival not the central focus. Instead, this was again about working hard to make something good, and very sharp dialogue and lots of addictive character chemistry.
I noticed that the bad school festival episodes just put too much emphasis on the school festival: just doing boring stuff like having a haunted house or a cafe, and having characters walk around without much passion. And really: having a school festival in real life sounds really fun, but only a few anime really manage to capture it. Sakurasou didn’t exactly capture it, but ir rather avoided it. Misaki’s bit with her sister was very surprising and a great way to develop her, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the school festival. Same for Mashiro’s subplot about returning to England.
There is one thing that I’m a bit bothered with: the way this show looks at Shiina. It’s a bit subtle, but sometimes the focus is a bit too much on her as a “pet”, rather than as an actual character. In this episode there was this focus about him not letting Shiina go back, as if she was his property. Only at the cliff-hanger the focus returned to what Shiina really wanted. It’s a missed opportunity.
Also, small detail: I like how Shiina’s painting on the wall stays there. Yay for continuity.
Rating: 4.5/8 (Good)