“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” — Howard Cosel
With the ninth episode, we’ve reached the three-quarters milestone on GochiUsa. The episode’s title suggests something a bit darker than what one might be expecting, but the end result is unsurprisingly fluffy and entertaining: after learning about the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An, Chino falls into melancholy, so Cocoa and Rize take the initiative to learn what really happened. They stumble across an old menu and learn that there was a collaboration between the two cafés long ago, resulting in the creation of new menu items (such as the coffee anmitsu and coffee youkan) that hybridised Western and Japanese styles. While attempting to figure out Rabbit House’s menu, Sharo inadvertently causes Chiya to create ever-fanciful names for Ama Usa An’s menu to keep ahead. The episode’s title stems from Tippy’s determination to storm Ama Usa An, although this is resolved peacefully, with Chino and Chiya resolving to run their respective cafés to the best of their ability. Later, Chino takes up a temporary job at Ama Usa An as part of her middle school’s curriculum, and Chiya is overjoyed to be working with someone. Acting on Chino’s suggestion, she tries to convince Sharo to join, but winds up trying Fleur Lupin’s uniform and displacing a button when it turns out the size was inappropriate, much to Sharo’s envy.
Rivalries amongst businesses form the bulk of the discussion for this episode, which ultimately returns to a recurring theme in GochiUsa. I’m no entrepreneur, but I nonetheless recognise the significance of competition; this competition eventually drives progress, as companies and businesses strive to offer new and improved products and services to differentiate themselves from the rest. This forms the basis for capitalism: market forces drive businesses to improve their craft to fulfill the customer’s expectations, and the trend should move towards superior products and services. This is an idealised abstraction of capitalism, but sufficient for GochiUsa shows that the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An is really quite trivial: individuals desiring Western-style beverages and refreshments will find it at Rabbit House, while Japanese-style beverages and refreshments is Ama Usa An’s speciality. Both cafés have their own unique points, and so, while they might be competitors, their rivalry is ultimately one that is (relatively) cordial, rather than anything serious; Chino and Chiya’s concerns about it being more serious are a bit of an overestimation, feeling that it is their duty to rectify things. However, it turns out that they did not have the full story, and so, the resolution was rather simple. In the process, the girls have yet another adventure within their town: GochiUsa continues to excel at depicting seemingly complex problems as ultimately having a relatively straightforward answer, and moreover, the right individual in the right place (in this case, Cocoa) can settle disputes spanning years.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Another Saturday, another post on GochiUsa, and another bit of praise from my end as I find myself impressed at the second season’s versatility: Chino has had, insofar, very little time alone with Chiya. This episode rectifies that to show that everyone’s known one another long enough, and well enough to keep the show going on sheer virtue of their own interactions; uncomfortable silences are rare in GochiUsa.
- While visiting Sharo to learn more about Ama Usa An’s rivalry with Rabbit House, Cocoa suggests interrogation to get the intel out of Sharo. Sharo’s imagination immediately goes into overdrive, and although it’s amusing that she imagines Rize to entice her into talking, taken out of context, this image can be disquieting. I remark depicting disturbing things in a light-hearted fashion is something that GochiUsa has been able to pull off time and time again: the last two fictional interrogations that stand out for me in the disturbing department is John Clark’s torture at Valentin Kovalenko’s hands in Tom Clancy’s Locked On, and Blazkowicz’s application of a chainsaw to force some information out of Friedrich Keller.
- These things are not suited for a GochiUsa talk, where the most amount of violence we’ve seen so far is Sharo beating herself over the head with a metal pan in a desperate bid to remember what had happened with Chiya during her childhood regarding Ama Usa An.
- Some words from Aoyama about coffee anmitsu (a coffee-flavoured jelly dessert served with a sweet syrup) being served at Rabbit House eventually leads Sharo to remember an event from her childhood, but ultimately, seemingly does not lead them any close to solving the mystery of just how deeply-seated the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An is.
- Thus far, we’ve not seen Rize and Chino as small children. Here, Sharo recalls a time when Chiya drags her along to visit Rabbit House with the intent of figuring out their menu; the names of coffee sound rather exotic to Chiya, and she decides to spruce up Ama Usa An’s own menu items, resulting in her present-day tendencies to draft particularly poetic names for Ama Usa An’s offerings.
- Rize and Cocoa reminisce about how they first met after Rize mentions that her father and another soldier became friends following a successful operation: the other soldier eventually retired and became a bartender, so there’s a slight possibility that this might be Takahiro. With that being said, that Rize’s father is a former soldier suggests that the universe of GochiUsa is not as idyllic as one might think (or perhaps a war was fought many years ago for their present-day liberty).
- Upon returning to Rabbit House, Cocoa and Rize wonder where Tippy’s gotten. After Rize wonders if Tippy’s gone to launch a one-man attack on Ama Usa An, they see Tippy fired up, ready to make pieces with Ama Usa An and giving rise to the episode’s name. Despite being in rabbit form, Tippy’s determination is incredible, and he single-handedly charges out of Rabbit House, ready to take things to the next level.
- My heart melts whenever Chino calls out Tippy’s name; for the briefest of moments, Minase Inori sheds Chino’s monotone voice and lets in a slightly more natural voice. It’s equally rare to see Tippy with this many lines in GochiUsa, and his battle-cries are hilarious. In the ensuing chaos, it appears that the writers may have forgotten about Cocoa and Rize not knowing about Tippy’s state: while it’s understandable that Chino is aware, it’s a little strange that Cocoa and Rize go along with things, too.
- While Chiya’s grandmother does not come out to challenge Tippy, Chiya summons a bokken and accepts Tippy’s challenge, although how Tippy reasonably expects to attack is unexplained, furthering the hilarity. The aura is so intense that it reminds me of the final duel between Char and Amuro; while GochiUsa might be relaxing, the second season capitalises on setting up and executing some rather ridiculous situations for comedy.
- Before things can really escalate, Chino restrains Tippy and apologises for the trouble that’s been caused. This past week was somewhat crazy; I had the king of all headaches on Wednesday while sitting through the iOS class’ presentations, and I’ve also managed to finish the conference paper’s first draft. I’m over the word count right now, so it’ll need to be trimmed, and once that’s done and proofread, I’ll pass it to my supervisor for additional proofing. Besides that, I will also aim to finish a multi-agent simulation of a biological virus, beat Life is Strange, Sniper Elite II and Battlefield: Hardline. In short, December’s going to be packed.
- Later, after Cocoa mentions the coffee anmitsu, Chiya pulls out an older menu that showcases some of Ama Usa An’s old offerings, in turn revealing that Rabbit House and Ama Usa An once participated in collaborative projects to improve their customer-base. Chino’s melancholy wanes once she learns that the supposed feud between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An might have been blown out of proportion, and Chiya is thankful that Cocoa’s come, befriending everyone and even defusing a years-long dispute between the two cafés.
- Later, Chino is seen working at Ama Usa An for a school project. It turns out that the kimono she’s wearing was intended for Sharo, but Chiya never summoned up the courage to ask Sharo to work at Ama Usa An. That it is blue, Chino’s colour, appears to be a happy coincidence.
- Back at Rabbit House, Maya’s working with Cocoa and Rize for her project. Maya remarks that Rabbit House is a relatively relaxed place to work in, and when Rize suggests that they ought to make her work harder, Maya manages to manipulate Cocoa into trying to convince Rize otherwise. Maya has an older brother who’s not made an appearance thus far in GochiUsa, so her mannerisms are quite credible.
- Aoyama’s yuri tendencies come out full-force, full-throttle as she tries to catch a glimpse under Sharo’s skirt, leading her to try and keep Megu safe. Megu remarks that she picked Fleur Lupin because she admires Sharo’s spirit; while Fleur Lupin initially gives the impression of being a little more provocative than Ama Usa An or Rabbit House, it’s actually an inviting teahouse with an array of herbal teas.
- Watching Chiya’s grandmother tear down Chino was a little disheartening to watch in both cases, but it’s likely that she’s simply not good with words, which would account for why she and Chino’s grandfather did not get along well. From the few scenes we’ve seen of Chino’s grandfather prior to his passing, he appears to be hardworking and down-to-earth; his rivalry with Chiya’s grandmother therefore would have likely started over miscommunication and subsequently escalated.
- While Chiya intended to convince Sharo to try working at Ama Usa An for a short period, she winds up giving Sharo the impression that she’d like to work at Fleur Lupin, leading Sharo to bring a Fleur Lupin Uniform for her to try out. Chiya remarks that Sharo knowing of her desire for company at Ama Usa An is sufficient, and is content to prance around in the uniform. Watching Sharo and Chiya’s interactions, Chino
- I don’t do fanservice screenshots very often, but this one was fun to include. Earlier, I tried applying some first year physics into calculating the amount of force required to accelerate a one-gram button such that it would fly one meter without any deviation in its flight-path due to gravity, and deflect off Sharo with enough momentum to continue flying for at least 1.5 seconds after. The end calculations find that the shirt is under a fair bit of strain to be able to launch the button that far, and I’m not answering any more questions.
- After Chino messages Cocoa about spending more time at Ama Usa An to have dinner with Chiya and Sharo, Cocoa’s jealousy kicks in: she compensates by sending a photograph of her with Maya and Rize, leading Chino to smile.
- There aren’t very many scenes set outdoors this episode, but earlier, when Cocoa and Rize were on break, careful inspection of the scenery shows that the trees are still green. At my latitude, trees start yellowing in early to mid-September, so that means this episode must still be set in the summer. I’m holding out hope that we’ll get a Christmas episode for the finale featuring everyone (including Mocha), although regardless of whether or not this happens, I am confident that the ending will be meaningful.
- Oppai envy strikes Sharo hard, and she chases around Chiya in frustration. That’s pretty much it for this week’s episode, and this time, I leave the episode with yet another victory over Chimame-tai in rock paper scissors. With a record of 6-1-1-1, I’m on a neat little killstreak, and as mentioned during the second episode discussion, I’ll be discussing rock-paper-scissors after the finale’s aired to see how long it’d take machine learning techniques to pick up on Chimame-tai’s pattern, as well as whether or not their pattern can be considered to be truly random.
We’re now moving into GochiUsa’s final quarter, and with three episodes left before this excellent season comes to an end, I’m honestly impressed that GochiUsa has consistently found ways to keep things refreshing each and every episode in making use of different character combinations, allowing them to interact with one another without the other characters’ influences. Thus, while the setting’s remained constant, it’s the characters that really breathe life to the town, illustrating that the place is less relevant than the characters’ experiences. The town’s unique setting allowed season one to give a new take on familiar characters and jokes, and capitalising on well-established characters, the second season successfully creates new dynamics amongst the characters to bring them into the spotlight, even though only one new character has been introduced. If this continues to hold, the final three episodes will continue to offer top-tier comedy set in a idyllic town hailing back to a more peaceful age, so I’m definitely looking forward to what next week’s episode entails, even if the title offers very little insight as to what will actually go down. On that note, next week’s review is going to be delayed somewhat: I was invited for luncheon with lab members at my supervisor’s residence, which means driving out to Canmore. I’m hoping that the weather remains nice, as that will make the drive rather more pleasant, and will aim to get a review out on Sunday.