The Seaside Café Familia’s sudden notoriety draws local news and unwelcome reminders of Riho’s past career.
Episode 9 — “Riho and Her Past”
The Bathos Melodrama Meter!
The Goddess Café Terrace did not play any games of subtlety in this episode about Riho’s abandonment fears. It’s there in the title: Riho’s past messed her up. Have you ever wondered why people need therapy? I’m not talking about drugs for chemical depression or attention deficit disorder. Instead, I mean how an outside observer points out unhealthy patterns in a person’s life so she can recognize when they happen again. Then act differently. In Riho’s case, as a child actor, she thought working harder would keep her family together. That was irrational because her father explicitly asked her not to. Then he left because he couldn’t stand watching his wife treat her daughter poorly.
Because they’re still learning to balance their emotions with their thoughts and actions, we expect children to act and think irrationally. But when an adult acts like a child, that’s outside the regular order. Those grownups need counseling for childish thinking and behavior. But Goddess Café Terrace wouldn’t put Riho through boring counseling appointments and then have her blab about them to her friends. That’s what American ‘90s sitcoms did.
No. This melodramatic anime needs to put a character through the emotional wringer and show that character collapsing in a puddle of tears in someone’s lap. The ancient Greeks called that moment “catharsis.” The essence of drama is the slow energy buildup culminating in a theatrical release. Did Goddess Café Terrace trip over the line into bathos handling Riho’s childhood trauma over divorce? Yes, when it tied Riho’s compulsion to work hard for the Familia to her jealousy at not commanding Hayato’s attention. Riho had also bundled her desire for approval inside there, so Hayato became her proxy father figure. It’s also bathos when a story piles on too many issues for the dramatically cathartic spill.
Strangely, the show forgot to include scenes of Grandma comforting Riho when she started working at the Familia Café Terrace. The formula for Goddess Café Terrace, so far, has been to portray Hayato as the stand-in for Grandma. He keeps the promises she made to the goddesses. In Riho’s case, Hayato is the replacement for her father, but she will keep her promise to him, so Hayato won’t leave. Or fire her. This episode sacrificed the dramatic harem formula for bathos and melodrama.
Protecting the Nest Points.
Riho racked up the points as the Nest Protector again. She forgot to take breaks, making her extra hungry for Shiragiku’s cooking. And Hayato explicitly thanked her for watching over the café. Just pay her back in head pats, Hayato. Okay?
Grandma’s Little Girl Points.
I saw only one scene for points in the Grandma’s Little Girl category. Ami wondered where Riho was at dinnertime. The girls have the rule to eat together, so Riho’s absence saddened Ami.
Baka Charm Points.
Ami’s mask obsession ignited the spark for the comedic set piece in Goddess Café Terrace. Hayato forbade her from using violence on customers, but he said nothing about scaring them! Borrowing the fear factor from Jason, Pennywise, and Ghostface, Ami ran off the delinquents with threats of Street Fighter moves and the return of Mad Dog Ouka-chan! Ami even had a summer special on the menu, like Shiragiku’s watermelon parfait. I want to see Ami do a somersault kick!
Ouka and Hayato also scored points. Ouka is so bad at cooking that she can’t pour water through a coffee filter. She was also the butt of Ami’s explosive pranking at the beach. And Hayato still hams it up with Ami with military chuunibyou jargon.
Drunk Girl Points.
Wow. No one got drunk in this episode but watch for next week! Shiragiku wears cat ears in the preview.
Cool Charm Points.
Akane couldn’t fool me. She had more than altruistic reasons for teaching Ouka and Ami how to make coffee in the café other than boredom. She also wanted them to replace her behind the bar so she could join Hayato at the Seaside Café Familia! Failing that, she tried to get his attention with a summer love ballad she wrote. Cutely pouting doesn’t fit the charm she usually coolly exudes.
Riho claims she has recovered from her collapse the day before. You know she’ll do it again in Goddess Café Terrace. Aw. Look how happy Riho was to hear that Hayato panicked over her condition. But that dude doesn’t look so concerned now when busty beach babes are flirting over him. Wow. The Familia Café Terrace is dead during the summer. Akane and Ouka are bored, so Akane suggests Ouka learn how to make coffee. Will that idea pan out? Ah. Akane wants to stick Ouka behind the counter so she can hang out with Hayato!
Welp. The episode title refers to Riho’s past, so Hayato’s curiosity about where she learned her interpersonal skills and charisma will become a plot point. Oho. Shiragiku claims she has a job lined up after she graduates from college. Her evasiveness hints at applying for Hayato’s MRS degree!
Here we go. Ami wants permission from Captain Hayato to bust some dudes up! Those jerks from the cherry blossom festival are back to harass more girls in waitress uniforms. Ami scares them away with scary movie masks! And the threat of Mad Dog Ouka-chan! Too bad for Riho: whenever she wants to flirt with Hayato, he’s surrounded by beach bunnies.
Finally, Goddess Café Terrace presents the swimsuit beach episode with the Familia goddesses. Akane sees her chance to flirt with Hayato on her day off. Hayato likes fishing but is terrible at it. Har. Ami ruined Akane’s chances at telling Hayato how she feels by “quoting” love song lyrics.
Here comes the drama about Riho’s past: she was a child actor star! And her parents divorced because of her career. Riho can’t run away from her past but can run away from work. Hayato will withhold head pats if Riho keeps doing that.
Cathartic Head Pats.
Lesson learned. Papa will fire you from the Familia if you think you should work harder when he tells you not to. No head pats for you, Riho-chan! Hayato is now Riho’s sugar daddy in Goddess Café Terrace. Take some responsibility!
One crying jag later, and Riho is all better. Isn’t melodrama grand? Ha! The other girls knew who she was all along! No! Riho only wants head pats from Papa Hayato!
Next time, we find out Ouka’s twin sister, Kikka, has beef with her. Twins! They have flower names. Ouka (桜花) has the kanji for “cherry flower,” while Kikka (橘花) has the kanji for “mandarin orange flower.” And Shiragiku gets drunk off something. What ridiculous thing will it be this time?
Goddess Café Terrace (Megami no Café Terrace, The Café Terrace and its Goddesses) streams on Crunchyroll.
Do you think Riho developed a fetish for father figures? I like how the DILF from Seika Girl’s Academy works hard for his daughter’s approval and affection. Emphasis on “hard.” Check out the beach episode OVA in the J-List store!
There are only three episodes left in the season for Goddess Café Terrace. Is that enough time for Hayato to deal with Shiragiku and Ami after the twin sister hijinks with Ouka? Or does Ami even need a melodrama episode? Would you like Shiragiku to get drunk on Hayato’s manly aroma for two weeks to end the season? Let us know in the comments below or online on Facebook, Twitter, or Discord.