REVIEW: ‘Let’s Make a Mug Too,’ Episode 8 – “Kukuri of the Strange River”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

Let's Make a Mug Episode 8

Last time in the Pottery Club, Himeno had an epiphany! After her initial struggles with what to make for the 41st Minoware Contest, she decided to go with something from the heart. That something turned out to be a Minoware ceramic seat, perfect for cooling off in Japan’s wicked humid summer! Now, in Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8, we’ll see just how her newest project turns out!

Episode 8, “Kukuri of the Strange River,” starts with Mika, which is a nice perspective change. She’s on her way to Himeno’s family cafe, though there’s no Himeno in tow. She’s alone and looking to escape to an empty place… though, of course, that kind of comes off wrong. Mika apologizes, but there’s no harm intended: Himeno’s father and grandmother understand perfectly.,

Post-OP, Mika’s enjoying a nice, refreshing glass of ice water, as well as a coke float. Himeno’s family even offers up a bit of yakisoba and curry on the house. She politely declines and gets to work. It turns out that Mika escaped to the cafe to try and get ideas for the Minoware contest… or so it seems. She’s actually taking an extended break to escape from any hard work and to cool off.

Thankfully, the coke float cools her off, though it doesn’t necessarily give Mika any new ideas. Especially when Himeno’s father and grandmother end up sitting across from her, reminiscing about their halcyon days. Quickly, the always playful Mika starts to doze until she’s face-first in her book.

It doesn’t take long for Himeno to appear in Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8, and when she does, it’s with a lot of comedy in tow. Still, it’s quite nice to see Mika alone. While she’s playful, she’s also a quiet, peaceful young girl. However, when she’s with Himeno and the Pottery Crew, she becomes an incredibly likable young girl.

Towards the middle, things get a bit… strange when the girls hit up the local eel catching event. I’ll leave this segment to the viewers, but it kind of came out of left field in a show that’s pretty grounded in reality. Hopefully… Let’s Make a Mug Too won’t dip back into this kind of weirdness.

In the live-action segment of Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8, the voice actors are putting on their yukata and heading out into the streets to experience Tajimi’s summertime sites! And honestly, this segment is full of fun. For the first time since the start of the show, I found myself more charmed by the live-action bit, though we’ll get into why that might be in a bit.

While Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8 live-action segment lacks any pottery -at least, pottery crafting- it does have a lot of neat sites, including a trip to a traditional sweets shop. Afterward, the voice actors walk around with paper umbrellas, and of course, stop in for a second -and third- snack. The voice actors also get to set off some sparklers and fireworks, a staple of Japanese summer. It’s overall a really sweet way to wrap up Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8.

Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8 proves that sometimes peaceful healing anime are the best. While Let’s Make a Mug Too will never have a big, grand message, it does have a quiet underpinning of “enjoy life” that I really love. Coupled with the bit of magical realism in Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8, the show continues to be a pleasant surprise, even though this episode didn’t really progress the contest plot any further. 

I’ll admit that that was a pretty major ding for me. With such short episodes, it feels like a waste to deviate too much from the central story. Additionally, I think that many viewers might feel lost as Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8 is chock full of in-jokes and cultural jokes that not all anime fans will get. Even as a former resident of Japan -and a soon-to-be returning resident- I had some struggles. They didn’t make for a bad episode, but… they didn’t necessarily engage me.

If I had any more qualms about this episode, it would be the “yuri-bait,” which often plagues series like this. It’s always a bit frustrating as a yuri fan to see shows tempt viewers with little drips and drabs of “do these girls like each other?” instead of structuring all-female casts as just terrific friends. Thankfully, it’s a brief moment that passes in the blink of an eye.

Thus far, Let’s Make a Mug Too has avoided leering at the girls. However, a significant portion of Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8 has the girls in their swimsuits, which, of course, the camera takes a lot of time to leer at. There are quite a few panning shots that definitely remind you that Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8, and the series overall is a series with a cis male audience in mind. It’s expected that these kinds of shots will get thrown in. Thankfully, they aren’t the sum total of Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8

Ultimately, I can’t help but continue to recommend this series. It’s one of my favorites this season and definitely one of the most enjoyable anime this year! Even though this was, overall, an incredibly weak episode, I still stand by Let’s Make a Mug Too’s quality and hope more eyes will be on it before the Summer 2021 season comes.

Let’s Make a Mug Too is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

 

Let’s Make a Mug Episode 8
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

Ultimately, I can’t help but continue to recommend this series. It’s one of my favorites this season and definitely one of the most enjoyable anime this year! Even though this was, overall, an incredibly weak episode, I still stand by Let’s Make a Mug Too’s quality and hope more eyes will be on it before the Summer 2021 season comes.