My goodness, the horror of time-skipping… again!
Surely, the date of this chapter – or even the last chapter, for the matter – shouldn’t be of any concern, because both chapters are spin-offs or fillers. I know, I said it myself about the last chapter. Still, as I noticed that Ch. 540 was set on 26 September, and that Ch. 541 on 20 October – that is almost a month! – I felt a bit… annoyed. Couldn’t Hata have done a bit better about this? For example, couldn’t the tale of the Katsura sisters be told right after the end of the School Trip saga, say Ch. 520?
Anyway, the intention of Hata for these two chapters was probably to give us a more in-depth look on both Hinagiku and Izumi. Sure, they both made their appearances not long ago as the party was looking for the key in the Clock Tower. However, both were not significant players in that quest: Hinagiku took up a supporting role, while Izumi provided fan service. So, a chapter has been given to each of them to inform the readers that both of them still exist.
Interesting enough, both chapters seem to have empowered both characters in an area they were particularly weak. Hinagiku was a top class character both mentally (romance aside) and physically (breasts aside), but when compared to other students at Hakuou Academy (Chiharu aside) her financial background was modest, so Ch. 540 gave her loads of money. Izumi was a happy-go-lucky girl from a rich background, but nobody has an idea about what she is going to do with her life – not even herself – so Ch. 541 is giving her a future plan.
Truth be told, having no future plan at the age of 17 is not exactly a big deal, so why did it matter for Izumi all of a sudden? The most obvious reason is that she was not as bright as Maria or Hinagiku. While we don’t know what they wanted to do with their lives either, we can be confident that both would be hugely successful whatever they chose to do – these were overachievers we are talking about here. Izumi, on the other hand, was a very ordinary girl, and a rather stupid one at that. If she wasn’t focusing her efforts on a particular plan, she may not have what it takes to be successful in any given career.
The other reason is that of “peer pressure”. While both Miki and Riza were on par with her in intelligence (or the lack thereof), they both seemed to know what they want to do for a job. Funny yet realistically enough, both of them were content to be the heirs of their family businesses: Miki was going to be a politician, and Riza was going to inherit her family shrine. No matter how predictable you think their future plans are, they at least had their future plans. This makes Izumi, once again the odd one out, look particularly bad. She really needed something under her sleeves to make her feel better about herself.
By the way, is it just me or is there a subtle jab at politicians that an idiot could formulate a convincing plan to become Prime Minister?
Credits to her, Izumi was more ambitious than she needed to be. She had such privilege that it was actually acceptable for her to be a shut-in NEET – indeed, many of us would actually be dreaming of such a life. It was not necessary for her to get a job, yet she would prefer working for her own pay rather than living on her family wealth. The girl may not have the brains, but she did have a heart.
And it was a very big heart that she had. Once again Izumi proved that she had a huge love of nature, to the point that she was growing weeds and moss on an empty lot abandoned by her father. A little more green is always doing a favour to Mother Earth and its habitants, but Izumi then went into lengths to discuss her plants of choice. We may notice that the plants she grew were not the most spectacular ones; on the contrary, they were the weak ones which had adapted to the harsh conditions and contributed to the lives of other, “better”, plants. We can see that Izumi was highly appreciative of these “weak” ones, which in turn proves that she really had a big, big heart.
And the future plan she finally came up with was made with her big, big heart as well. She chose to become a space pilot (… are you sure that is not “astronaut”?) not because it was cool, but because she wanted to be always with her friends: she would be watching over her friends in space, and she would want her friends to know that they could always look upon the skies for her when they missed her. This actually sounds rather odd (being a flight attendant would do just fine, for a start) and could indicate Izumi’s naive nature, but it is also indicative that Izumi is an extremely sweet girl.
Granted, there would be lots and lots of challenges to overcome for Izumi to become a space pilot. We generally expect astronauts
or Gundam pilots to be both skilled and strong, while Izumi was neither. I am not even sure if any manned mission to space is being planned in real life, so Izumi’s big dream could very well be not practical at all. Yet Izumi has decided that she had to dream big, but this was such a wonderful dream for such a wonderful heart that when I looked at the last page of this chapter, I couldn’t help but say: “Yeah! Screw being practical and dream big, girl! You deserve a big dream!”
Wait a minute, with Izumi’s skills and knowledge with plants (that’s botany for you!), her possible job as a space pilot (technically still an astronaut), her own clumsiness and her ability to see the bright side of any situation, it seems that Izumi would become the female version of…