The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House – Episode 2 “Guardian Spirit” Recap & Review

Guardian Spirit

Kiyo finally finds her place in episode 2 of The Makanai. It has been four months since the girls left home and Kento, the nice boy who escorted the girls to the bus stop when they left, is at Kiyo’s grandma’s house. Kento confesses he is lonely without Kiyo there.

Back at the Maiko House, Mother has a break of character as she instructs an assistant to keep her favorite biscuits stocked. Mother and Mother Azusa discuss how Kiyo is not fit to be a maiko.

Mother Azusa asks Kiyo to come to her room to talk, and Kiyo learns that she will not be attending lessons anymore. Mother Azusa suggests that Kiyo return home and find other employment or go to high school. Kiyo is distraught that she and Sumire will be separated.

Later, Kiyo is in her room, and Sumire, upset bursts in peppering Kiyo with questions. She tells Kiyo that she will appeal to Mother for her. On her way to speak with Mother, the unnamed non-maiko girl tells her not to speak to mother. She tells Sumire that Sumire knows it’s pointless. It is obvious that Kiyo does not possess the skills required to be a maiko.

Mother Azusa and a man walk together and discuss Kiyo’s dismissal. The man suggests that Kiyo can flourish in another environment, and Mother Azusa becomes hopeful at this thought.

Sumire sees Kiyo casually walking home on a sunlit path after doing some shopping, but Sumire chooses not to join her and chooses another path that is shadowed by buildings. Later, Sumire joins Kiyo in doing laundry on the rooftop, and Kiyo happily gives Sumire a sour candy. Sumire asks when Kiyo is leaving but the girls smell something burning and race downstairs, where they find the Maiko’s frantic over a pan of burning food. Kiyo quickly turns on a faucet and puts the burning pan underwater. Kiyo humbly asks if she may prepare food for the maiko’s. Everyone watches excitedly as Kiyo prepares them a simple and beautiful meal. Everyone wows over the food and you we can see an idea shining through Mother Azusa’s smile. Mother expresses how Kiyo is like a guardian spirit over the maiko house.

It is clear that Kiyo is now going to be the makanai (maiko chef) and is happily setting up new sleep arrangements when the unnamed non-maiko girl stomps on her joy by telling her to consider whether she will still be successful in her new role.

To honor her new role, the undeterred Kiyo heads to a shrine at night, when the local bartender greets her. She learns that he is like her, he once worked in the kitchen but was reassigned to bartending. She continues her journey up to the shrine and meets a nice family on the way, who she shares rice balls with. She finally returns at dawn, to see Sumire waiting for her with a kind of coverall apron from Mother Azusa. Kiyo is finally and officially the Makanai.

The Episode Review

Overall, this was a good episode with a decent plot. The short length (38ish minutes) of each episode are just the right length. It would definitely be boring if they had tried to draw out the episodes more.

The last episode ended with a phone call, but this one did not continue with that segment. So, it is a little bit unclear what the phone call was, but I suppose it was a call from Mother to Mother Azusa to arrange a meeting to discuss Kiyo’s future.

It would have been nice if it was a little more obvious considering the cliffhanger it left on the previous episode. It is also kind of weird that they haven’t identified the unnamed girl that lives at the maiko house. We’ll see what the next episode has in store.

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2 thoughts on “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House – Episode 2 “Guardian Spirit” Recap & Review”

  1. The “unnamed girl” is Ryoko. She is the girl they mentioned in the 1st episode that when Kiyo and Sumire mentioned they were 16 and mother said ” You are only a year younger than Ryoko. Since you are all around the same age, you should be kind to one another”

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