8. Increase Ratings Week

Whilst Kabapu receives a report that all four of his workers have taken a simultaneous vacation, Excel and Hyatt are also on holiday- by order of Lord Ilapalazzo. However, their day off isn’t shaping up to be all that enjoyable thanks to the current abnormal heatwave, and poor Excel spends all her time lying on the floor of the apartment, feeling hot and hungry.

It looks like Excel will have to resort to eating Menchi very soon, but fortunately for the little dog, Hyatt has procured an alternative food source thanks to local girl Cosette. Hyatt and Cosette have already eaten most of the food, but to Excel’s delight, they saved her a sandwich from Cosette’s packed lunch. Excel is quick to wolf it down, only learning afterwards that the food is from before the vacation, making it around three weeks old.

Whilst Excel tries desperate not to throw up her meal, the apartment receives another visitor- a somewhat garrulous saleswoman for the Pretty Girl newspaper, offering free swimming pool tickets with every subscription. A curious Hyatt accepts the tickets, but before the saleswoman can sort out a prescription, Hyatt accidentally vomits tomato juice all over her before closing the door.

Next door, Watanabe and Iwata have both fallen prey to the Pretty Girl saleswoman, ending up with two copies of the newspaper and four swimming pool tickets between them. Predictably, Iwata has used his second ticket to invite Matsuya to the pool, whilst Watanabe gets to take Sumiyoshi along.

At the pool, a fan service fest is in full swing, with tens of women in attendance dressed in all manner of swimsuits, bikinis and cute uniforms (and not a man onscreen). Excel, Hyatt and Cosette are all in attendance (although with only two free tickets available, Cosette had to pay for admission) as are Watanabe and the others. As usual, Iwata tries to flirt with Matsuya, but once again his own brand of rather obvious lines earns him little more than a well-aimed punch. Nonetheless, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves- all, that is, except Cosette, who for some reason seems rather distracted and distant…

Whilst Excel goes off with Cosette to get some food (naturally, Cosette is paying), Hyatt sits quietly at a poolside table with a can of her favourite tomato juice. Delighted to see his beloved ‘Miss Ayasugi’ once again, Watanabe approaches her. When he tries to buy her a drink, however, Hyatt offers him her tomato juice before departing. Thinking of it as an indirect kiss, Watanabe eagerly gulps down the rather overfull can- only to discover that tomato juice is not the only red stuff in this particular drink.

Having eaten too much, poor Excel ends up lying by the poolside in bloated agony, leaving Cosette to her own devices. It seems that the young girl hasn’t just come to the pool to relax- she is also under orders to assassinate someone. After spotting her target in the pool, Cosette heads towards her, blades protruding from her life ring. Before she can get there, however, the target is approached by another little girl, who is clearly the woman’s daughter. Seeing the mother and daughter playing happily together freezes Cosette in her tracks, and she recalls how her own mother’s death led to her being raised as an assassin by the mafia. Overcome by emotion, Cosette retreats to the edge of the pool.

On the lookout for Excel, Hyatt spots Cosette by the edge of pool, and comes over to see what is wrong. When she notices that Cosette is watching the mother and daughter pair, Hyatt wonders if Cosette is waiting for her own mother. Cosette angrily replies that her mother is dead, before bursting into tears- all she wants is to see her mother one last time.

Even as she clings to Hyatt (who appears to have died once again), Cosette finds herself all alone, standing on the banks of the Sanzu River. Seeing her mother on the opposite bank, Cosette tries to run across and reach her, only to be stopped by none other than Pedro. Pedro tells Cosette not to risk her soul by crossing the river, and points out that her mother is not welcoming her, just waving goodbye. Saddened, but filled with a new resolve to live, Cosette waves back, telling her mother that even though things are hard, she will find a way to manage.

Listening in from above, the Great Will is extremely moved by Cosette’s story, and decides to intervene to put things right. For Pedro, however, this incident only serves to remind him of one thing- he too has lost his family, and it doesn’t look like the situation will be changing any time soon.

The day at the pool doesn’t seem to have done anyone any good. Iwata, Watanabe and Sumiyoshi are all suffering from sunstroke (and in Watanabe’s case, cramps and nausea from the ‘tomato’ juice), whilst Excel and Hyatt are once again hot, hungry and stuck in the apartment- hoping that this hideous vacation will soon be over. Thanks to the Great Will, however, one person managed to get a happy ending- Cosette’s mother has been resurrected, and she and her daughter are finally together once again.

Back at the Sanzu River, however, the male characters (faces offscreen) have something of a bone to pick with Pedro. No matter bad his ‘life’ is, as far as they can see he has no right to complain- not when he was the only man to get screen time in this episode.