Kuragehime 7

Episode 7 of Kuragehime, “Unemployed Financial Islands” (金融無職列島), starts off with Kuranosuke reminiscing over his closet, remembering a closet full of his mother’s clothes and the time he first arrived at the Kuboichi home with his mother, when Kuranosuke seemed to be about ten while Shuu seemed to be close or at college-age. Meanwhile, Shouko is annoyed that the purchase of the Amamizukan has still not been finalized: the owner of the Amamizukan, Chieko’s mother, doesn’t spend enough time inside Japan to sign the contract, even though the decision to sell the place has already been made.

Hoping that it might speed up the process even by a little bit, Inari Shouko decides to pay a polite visit to the Amamizukan. Normally, this would have the Amars scattering in fright in the presence of such a stylish person, but they can’t resist the temptation of the sweet macaroons that Shouko brought as a gift. It is just way too easy to sway the Amars towards a non-antagonistic stance with food. It’s also a chance for the show to have a bit of product placement for Le Pommier. Tsukimi is the only one to be strongly antagonistic towards Shouko when she discovers Shuu’s glasses in the bag with the macaroons and Shouko talks about having spent the night with someone, although no one realizes what Tsukimi is really angry about.

It takes the arrival of Kuranosuke to remind the Amars the threat that Shouko represents, turning them all properly antagonistic. Unfortunately, Shouko points out that it’s practically a done deal since the owner has already agreed to sell the property. Kuranosuke just declares that they’ll buy the Amamizukan themselves; the Amars are all too aware how unrealistic this is, while Kuranosuke is overly optimistic. On the other hand, Shouko is totally pissed off at the treatment she got at what appears to be a person who might threaten her own supremacy in fashionable style. It’s going to be fun seeing how she reacts when she learns that Kuranosuke is male and is actually a member of the Kuboichi family instead of being an Amamizukan resident.

After Tsukimi gets a bit of comfort from Kuranosuke over what she thinks is a lost chance of love with Shuu, Kuranosuke leads the Amars in figuring out how to gather enough capital to actually purchase the Amamizukan. The total savings of the Amars is unsurprisingly of no help, although Kuranosuke is disappointed that they don’t reach even his low expectations. That means searching for yet other ways, and the first victim is Chieko: upon learning that one of Chieko’s kimono-clad dolls can go for an equivalent of thousands of dollars each, Kuranosuke tries to force Chieko to sell them off. Chieko needs to grow up, though: doesn’t she know that the proper course for any parent when facing financial difficulties is to sell off their children? Unfortunately, the Amars don’t believe in child slavery even for dolls, so Kuranosuke is convinced to abandon the plan to sell the dolls.

In Tsukimi’s room, Kuranosuke has taken off his feminine attire due to his frustration at how things aren’t going as well as he hoped. This paralyzes Tsukimi, not to mention her glasses falling off, which gives Kuranosuke the chance to try to kiss her. This is interrupted by a panicking Mayaya, who barges in about having to fax Mejiro’s manga drafts before the deadline. And apparently Mayaya was too distraught to notice that the topless “Kurako” didn’t have feminine breasts. As Kuranosuke is bewildered at why he almost kissed Tsukimi while faxing the draft sheets, he learns that they generate quite a lot of income, which gives him the idea to ask funds from Mejiro, who has enough money saved at least for a down payment.

As for Shuu, he encounters Shouko yet again, who arrived under the pretense of returning his glasses, which he didn’t really need anymore since he had just fitted a new pair. He has his doubts that he had intercourse with Shouko, but the picture on Shouko’s cellphone removes all doubt. Of course, this is all a deception by Shouko, and given the personalities involved such as Shuu and Kuranosuke, the way Shouko is going about doing things makes me think it will all blow up in her face.

At home, Kuranosuke is having his own problem; whether he thought it was his trump card or just a one-in-a-million chance worth trying, he tries to blackmail his father into providing funds for purchasing the Amamizukan with the knowledge that Shuu had witnessed the father cheating at the age of nine. The father dismisses the threat, stating that Shuu only witnessed them reaching second base. I would have expected the father to use a more traditional form of saying “kissing”; apparently he is not totally ignorant of modern expressions. Considering his younger son’s hobby, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

At the end of the episode, when Kuranosuke goes to college dressed like a normal guy (even he doesn’t go so far as to cross-dress during exams), while being surrounded by fawning girls (probably following him around because he’s a good-looking rich guy; he wouldn’t be bored with them otherwise), he notices a poster for a flea market. This gives him another money-making idea that he pitches to the Amars, whose biggest problem is that the flea market will be held in Harajuku, the deadly fashion capital of the world. In preparation, he starts looking for abandoned stuff around the Amamizukan that could be sold.

Given the obsessiveness of the Amars, they would probably be highly ranked experts in their respective fields (if anyone were ever to rank such fields) at the national level at the very least. Given a good public relations manager and a good business manager, I wouldn’t be surprised that their fetishes could somehow be turned into a quite respectable source of income. After all, just look at Mejiro. Just imagine Kuranosuke being the PR agent and Shuu managing the business side … Of course, this is all irrelevant since such a respectable income level would still fall far short of getting enough money to purchase the Amamizukan in the short time before Chieko’s mother comes back from abroad.

Finally, the title of this episode is probably a reference to the Japanese series of novels Rotten Financial Islands (金融腐蝕列島).

By Shounen A

伝説の少年A. The Legendary Boy A. The counterpart of Konata Izumi from Lucky Star, he is an otaku of legendary reputation whose tastes foretell the rise and fall of anime series. Or not.