…at least for now. I’m still finishing up my notes on book 2 of Asobi ni Iku yo!, but I’m also enjoying book 3. I’m about halfway through chapter 6, and I’ve now had four pleasant surprises in the development of minor characters.
First, Ichika has a much larger role, and doesn’t just appear out of nowhere on the beach. She had an interesting scene in book 2, but she’s fleshed out a lot more here. Her home, her friend/ally Tabito, her work as a model-maker, a hint of her power as a sennin, the lack of any attempt to hide her ears and tail in public, and the reason she went out to the beach to check up on them in the first place, after she meets up with our second surprise development, Assistoroid #6.
When the assistoroids were introduced in episode 2 of the anime, one of them behaved slightly differently from the rest, in what seemed to be a small bit of visual comedy. That wasn’t mentioned in the matching scene in book 1, but in book 3, it’s revealed that #6 is definitely different from the others. When house-sitting Chaika orders them to take a break from their work, the rest do normal things, but he goes off exploring the neighborhood on his own. He’s just normal enough to pass all the usual diagnostics, so neither Eris nor Chaika has realized that they have a unique individual on their hands. He ends up playing games in the park with Ichika and a group of small children, and comes home with a resin model of himself that she made for him. As the kids head home for lunch, we finally learn her name, as they call out a happy bye-bye to Ichika and 6-chan.
The third surprise is in the scenes between Jens and her new assistant Muttley, assigned to her in the epilogue of book 2 after her failure on Antonia’s ship. She had asked for a full squad of reinforcements, and she got him instead. Their relationship is different, and in particular, he’s a much better tactician, spending a merry day slaughtering her in various wargame scenarios before relaxing in front of the TV to watch anime.
The most recent surprise (and I suspect not the last) is who else showed up on the beach: campy film director Kawasaki, who came to Okinawa looking for Manami and Aoi, to show them the rough cut of his latest movie, featuring them. The sight of a crazed pervert running across the beach leads Maya to order the maids to open fire (while Manami frantically tries to intervene in time), but he evades their hail of bullets with the grace of a ballerina, and when Maya orders the maids to shoot again, he not only evades, but ends up behind her, admiring the fine muscle tone of her buttocks and thighs.
Maya loses it at this point and fires wildly, until Antonia rebukes her for putting everyone in danger. After that, things settle down, and Kawasaki gleefully pulls out a portable DVD player to show off his movie, to the admiration of the film-club members. But a bit later, talking alone with Manami, he drops the act and gives her some serious advice about fully enjoying this too-brief time in her life. When others start to join them, he camps back up and heads off into the sunset.