At the beginning of Episode Three, Alice feels a little homesick after talking with her mother. She brings a photo album with her to school, which she shares with Shinobu, Yoko, and Aya. They find a picture of Alice with Karen, her friend from England. Karen is half Japanese and is the one who taught Alice how to speak Japanese. At first, Shinobu is a little sad about the fact that Alice has a friend back in England, and Alice tells her that if she and Karen were to ever meet that they would become good friends.
One day at the train station, the friends mention that they’ve been noticing more foreigners around. Yoko suddenly mentions that she met a blonde girl near the train station recently. Shinobu asks for a description, and right after the description is given, Yoko suddenly points out that the girl is right there. Alice immediately recognizes that it’s Karen. It turns out that when Karen went to see Alice back in England, she learned that Alice left to study in Japan. When Karen asks her father about Japan, he suddenly decides that their whole family should just up and move to Japan for a while. It turns out that Karen is a student at their school, but is in a different classroom.
Shinobu becomes obsessed with Karen, which causes Alice to become jealous. Alice spends quite a bit of the episode dealing with her jealousy. Karen, meanwhile, is having problems making friends with the kids in her class, and tries to get advice from Shinobu, Alice, Yoko, and Aya on how she can make friends.
The episode’s strength is the fact that, like the first episode, this has one overarching story instead of several small vignettes. Of the three episodes I saw, the two that introduced characters had an overarching story. Now that it seems like all of the characters are in place, I’m wondering if the rest of the series will be focusing more on vignettes than on overarching stories.
The biggest weakness of this episode is how Karen is introduced to the series. It all feels so coincidental that it starts becoming a stretch in believability. I had a hard time believing Karen’s father would just suddenly decide out of the blue to move to Japan. Not only that, I also had a hard time believing that Karen’s family just happened to move to the exact area of Japan where Alice is living and ends up being able to go to the same school. While I think there could be some potential with adding Karen to the series, I wish there had been a better way to introduce her to the cast that felt a bit more believable.
I will go ahead and watch the next episode of KINMOZA! to see what will happen next. However, this next episode is really going to have to impress me and convince me that I should continue watching Episode Five and beyond.
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