Land of Tanabata – Episode 2 “Marukami Village” Recap & Review

Marukami Village

‘Land of Tanabata’ episode 2 sees Emi, Nanmaru, Tagaya, and Tomoko arrive at Marukami Village. They try to inquire about Professor Masami Marukami, but to no avail. The villagers seem to keep to themselves and maintain a distance from the strangers. It’s not until Nanmaru and Tagaya enter a café that they hear a reference to the professor by the villagers.

However, upon further inquiry, they find that the villagers were only talking about the Tanabata festival. The demeanor of the villagers changes, becoming much friendlier, when they discover that Nanmaru is a descendant of the Minamimaru family.

Earlier, Emi had revealed that although Nanmaru’s surname comes from the Minamimaru family, he’s actually a descendant of the Marukami family.

Tagaya explained that since Tadayori Minamimaru was killed without having any children, his relative Marukami sent his youngest child to be adopted by the Minamimaru family to continue the family line. Thus, Nanmaru is a descendant of the Marukami family, which enthralls the villagers.

Amongst themselves, the group from Tokyo discusses the Tanabata or Star festival, celebrating the meeting of Japanese deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair, respectively. Usually, the festival is organized every 7th of July, which is why the group is surprised to find it being celebrated in June in Marukami Village.

Later, the villagers organize a banquet in Nanmaru’s honor, terming him ‘young master.’ During this celebration, a detective visits them and hints that the villagers are the prime suspects in a murder case since they had vehemently protested against the construction of a golf course through the sacred Mount Marukami.

The next day, Nanmaru and the team hike Mount Marukami in a quest to find the whereabouts of Professor Masami and meet the villagers along the way. Although access to the Mount is restricted due to the Tanabata festival, they are allowed to look around due to Nanmaru’s status. They don’t find any clues, except for seven stones carefully kept in a line at the mountain top.

In the course of the episode, we discover that Sachiko works at the café where Nanmaru and Tagaya met the villagers for the first time. She visits Nanmaru, who shows her his superpower. She leaves after telling him to live a normal life. Later, at her home, Sachiko’s menacing brother, Takashi, visits them, and it becomes clear that the family is afraid of him.

Meanwhile, Nanmaru and the team decide to return to Tokyo after the Tanabata festival. At the café, Sachiko tells Nanmaru to meet her at the festival to answer his questions about his superpower. At the festival, after Nanmaru leaves with Sachiko, Tagaya and Emi make their way to Mount Marukami for the last time, despite the prohibition to hike the mountain during the Tanabata festival.

Sachiko informs Nanmaru about the two types of individuals occasionally born into the families of the village: “Within Reach” and “Window Openers.” There are only five telekinetics, including Nanmaru, while there are many window openers, with Sachiko being one.

Although the latter don’t have any powers, Sachiko says that she sometimes has nightmares. Both types of people, especially the “Within Reach,” are qualified to become the priest of Mount Marukami. Becoming a priest could help Nanmaru make a living, but it would bind him to the town, unable to leave.

Meanwhile, Takashi inquires about a “new Within Reach” with the villagers, but they refuse to disclose any information. He gets entangled with some drunkards and ends up cutting off their feet while revealing a “jewel” embedded on his forehead.

Elsewhere, Tagaya and Emi witness a peculiar ritual with torches and stomping at the top of Mount Marukami. They notice that one of the stones is missing, and Emi wonders if each stone disappears each day of the festival, which is supposed to be seven days long. The group performing the ritual notices them and charges toward them with their torches.

The Episode Review

This episode mostly builds around Nanmaru and his association with Marukami Village. We also discover the two types of people: “Within Reach” and “Window Openers.” While the “Within Reach” are the people with telekinetic powers, it’s not quite clear what the “Window Openers” can do. Much of the cultural essence seems lost in translation due to the absurd naming of these individuals.

The show leans towards focusing on the plot rather than the characters, typical of the science fiction Japanese genre. Hence, Nanmaru’s musings about finding a purpose or having a supernatural ability are quite underdeveloped. No character stands out, as the show is laying the groundwork for the action that is to follow in the coming episodes.

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