“Thank You” is best summed up as a prelude for the final stretch of this season of TONIKAWA. Tokiko has sent invitations for a camp-out party to virtually the entire cast, and the main task of this week’s episode is to get everyone to the camp site and settle in. It’s not as substantial as last week’s surprise-filled outing, but it gets the job done. As a bonus, we get some pretty significant scenes between Nasa and Tsukasa in the second half, which continue to develop the more personal side of their marriage.
The early scenes are admittedly more filler than anything else, as various parties decide to join Tokiko, Nasa, and Tsukasa on their camping trip. There’s a few comedic interactions and mildly funny moments—particularly Kyuuma’s “censored” reference to how the trip will be like Yuru Camp—but this first part of the episode definitely feels padded out. Easily the most notable scene early on is the opening conversation between Nasa and Tsukasa. Nasa is eager to go, but Tsukasa comes up with a whole list of excuses for staying home, with Tokiko being hinted at as the real reason. This is an interesting moment because it addresses Tsukasa’s curious connection to Tokiko as well as her anxieties over being out in public, which we’ve seen a lot of this season.
Once everyone arrives at the campgrounds, “Thank You” gets a bit more compelling, particularly in how it conveys that Tsukasa is more than she seems. In one scene where she and Kyuuma explore the forest, Tsukasa demonstrates an extensive knowledge of the area’s plant life. While we might have previously dismissed this as just “things Tsukasa knows,” it resonates differently now that we’ve learned Tsukasa is far older than she appears to be—especially when she talks about how one flower was used as a medicine “in the old days.” And, despite her initial reservations about hiking, she proves surprisingly adept at navigating the forest, as if she’s done it many times before. It’s cleverly done, since the characters don’t suspect anything, but the audience suspects a little more because we have a bit of extra context about Tsukasa’s past.
The most significant moments of “Thank You” come in the later scenes with Nasa and Tsukasa at the riverside. Separated from the rest of the group, Nasa tries to be physically intimate with Tsukasa, much to the latter’s embarrassment—a persistent theme this season if there ever was one. Things get spicier, though, when Tokiko shows up to play matchmaker again, which has been a fun new dynamic in the second half of this season. She’s even gone ahead and set up a glamping tent for Nasa and Tsukasa so they can sleep together(!!) But, once more, the dialogue hints Tsukasa is hiding something. When Tokiko reveals she set up the glamping tent because she’s sure Tsukasa “is sick to death of the old-fashioned kind,” it’s easy to read into it and think something isn’t right here.
Still, Nasa and Tsukasa’s interactions after Tokiko leaves have to be the highlights of the episode. Nasa’s attempts to make Tsukasa happy, the nervous attempts at physical intimacy, and especially their final conversation all play to this show’s strengths and come across as good-natured, honest, and wholesome. Their final exchange is a touching one, as Tsukasa reveals she instinctively knew Nasa loved her when he agreed to marry her without hesitation on the night they met. Nasa’s leap of faith, and the certainty of his answer, convinced Tsukasa that he trusted her, and that she could trust him in return. It’s not the physical closeness Nasa was going for earlier in the episode, but it’s a new level of personal closeness and knowledge of one another, which in many ways is far more important for a marriage’s success.
“Thank You” is an uneven episode that takes a while to find its focus, but the rewarding ending makes up for some of the early sputtering. The choice of visuals for the final scene should also be commended: the blanket of stars and glow of the moon cast a mysterious ambiance on Nasa and Tsukasa’s conversation, giving it much more weight. It’s good to see TONIKAWA is still keeping its warm and sweet side, despite the questions about Tsukasa’s past raised in last week’s outing. Will more secrets about Tsukasa’s identity and history be revealed in due course? Undoubtedly, but that’s for another day. For now, it’s enough to sit back and bask in the moonlight.