Shikizakura ep 4: Brotherhood

What defines a good relationship between men (or boys): a good heartfelt talk that solve all the conflict and misunderstanding in one fell swoop. No need to drag on the drama, no need for deceit. Just one talk between boys that have been together since their childhood.
Episode 4 of Shikizakura might not include a lot of action, but it sure is a visual trip. There are so many different artstyles mixed in in reference to many other series to further intensify the intention that Kippei want to express. Both Kippei and Kakeru are Tokusatsu and other otaku culture fans, so the way they communicate are influence by them too, which is a pretty heartwarming thing to see. The animation team this episode either enjoyed themselves very much, or suffered overtime to deliver this episode. Even though the model is 3D, the effects are all 2D overlaid so a lot of effort was put into this.

After the last few tumultuous episodes, Kakeru finally sits down with Kippei – his roommate as well as his brother-in-arms since he was young. Kippei has noticed that his “bro” was behaving suspiciously lately and by that it means he has been hanging out with beautiful girls. Kippei immediately confronted Kakeru about it since well, he feels a bit lonely because his only best friend is going off on his own. And yeah, as a man, I can definitely understand what Kippei feels.

Kakeru – well, being the naive boy that he is – definitely didn’t think too much about what Kippei was feeling and is totally oblivious. Also because of the insecurity that Kakeru has towards their relationship. Kippei has always treated him as a blood-related brother, but he knows he’s not one, and that his past weighs heavily on him even now. Maybe he thought that Kippei was just showing him pity. But in truth, Kippei has always treated him with sincerity. So this is why these two need to talk their heart out in order to settle their relationship. Well, they did a wonderful job in the end. And their brotherhood is stronger than ever.

Aside from the very serious stuff, we also got a lot of uplifting and funny moments. Mostly due to the various references to other series to spice up the scenes a bit. You can tell they put a lot of expressions on Kakeru’s face, which is nice since the last few episodes he has been looking a bit bland. Overall, a non-combat episode yet still very engaging and emotional. A very entertaining episode even though it’s basically a quarrel between more-than-friend, less-than-brother.