Deaimon gives us one big question this week: is Nagomu’s friend who taught him how to play the guitar also Itsuka’s missing dad? It would make a certain amount of sense; after all, he brought Itsuka to Nagomu’s house knowing it was a place where she would be taken care of, and how else would he have been so sure of that than that he spent a lot of time there himself? The guitar is also one of the defining features Itsuka has for him, and while plenty of people play that instrument, it feels like it might be a bit much if both she and Nagomu were associating the same instrument with two separate missing (or at least vanished guys. Plus it would be a nice story thread as well if it turned out that Nagomu was helping his old pal’s daughter. On the other hand, if the two men are one and the same and also the same person as the one who just finished performing at a semi-local pool, that would mean that Itsuka’s dad has been close to her all along, just not coming to see her While there are reasons why he would do this – none of which a little girl is likely to truly understand – it could make the whole thing feel way too easy, assuming you’re willing to forgive him for abandoning his child.
Whatever the answer turns out to be, this feels like a fairly scattered episode. We have two distinct plotlines on top of the ongoing story threads about Nagomu and Kanoko, Nagomu and Itsuka, and the legacy of the confectionery, the pool trip and the reveal that Nagomu’s coworker Saki likes to cross-dress in his spare time. Of the two, Saki’s feels more out of place. That’s not because he likes to go out in drag, but rather the sort of nonevent of it being introduced into the story. There’s exactly nothing wrong with him using dressing as a woman as a way to escape from his stress; It gives him a chance to be someone else and to let all of his dreams go. Him being embarrassed by it also seems fair, because others could see it as something weird or subversive. But the introduction of it feels pretty canned, with a customer falling for a photo of Saki in his female guise and Saki trying his damnedest to hide it to the point where he accidentally costs the shop a customer. The whole thing just seems a bit uneven – really, why should Saki get in trouble for not revealing to a client the name of someone who purportedly works at the confectionery? Technically he did the right thing. We could theorize that Saki’s cross-dressing was a way to show that Itsuka has no prejudices and just accepts people for who they are (which feels like it could be a counterpoint to Kanoko, who seems more judgmental), but that doesn’t feel strictly necessary for the story. It is nice to just see a character who cross-dresses not become an immediate joke, however, so perhaps the nonevent is just that – something random about a character that has no bearing on the story because it doesn’t affect anyone one way or the other once the outsider’s issue has been resolved.
That idea of the outsider with an issue plot point is used a bit less well when it comes to Kanoko. Mostly this could come back down to her behavior as seen in Nagomu’s flashback about their breakup, because we still haven’t seen the even from her perspective. But without that, her continued passive insistence that he dumped her – and her complaints to a little girl about it – make her look like she’s taking minimal responsibility for an event in which she at the very least had an equal share. She’s not mean to Nagomu per se, but she is sharp with him, which right now just feels like she’s kicking a puppy. When Saki teases him about his lack of swimming skills, it comes off as friendly ribbing. When Kanoko calls him creepy, there’s a harder edge to it. It may just be her personality, but it’s making her difficult to warm up to as a character.
But maybe that’s part of the beauty of this series – everyone’s got their own things that they’re dealing with, and that doesn’t always make them characters we can get behind. But it does make them people, and people, the sweets in the show, aren’t perfect. But sometimes, like Nagomu making an attempt to get closer to Itsuka, they do try their best.
Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.