Renai Boukun – 02
「くんすかくんすか×青司くんを傷つけていいのは…私だけなの」 (Kun suka-kun suka × seiji-kun o kizutsukete ī no wa… Watashi dake na no)
“Sniff Sniff x The Only One Who May Hurt Seiji-kun… Is Me”
This week has been a pleasant surprise for Renai Boukun. It still continues to play around with popular anime tropes by ramping them up as high as they can go through off-the-wall humor, but something feels…different. Because this episode got more serious about the idea of Seiji’s harem actually having to do the cupid job, they look much deeper into the idea of falling in love and romance that goes beyond scribbling down names to watch the fireworks. The first couple they try to pair without full reliance on the Kiss Note is Shiina Mari (Ootsubo Yuka), the class rep, and Kusunoki-sensei, a teacher with a penchant for poetry. Unlike the more comical pairings in the show, their relationship is handled maturely with them realizing the boundaries that such a relationship would have, and Mari decides it would be best for them to go out once she graduates with a high paying job. One of the more poignant things about this is the fact that she refused to have their names written down because she wanted the relationship to bud naturally. It provides an interesting, different perspective for the main characters when their matchmaking method is more keen on setting people up right away.
It was also a great episode for Yuzu. For someone with a questionable approach to how she wants to appreciate Akane, she has a well-grounded concept of love in that she knows that love is an emotional pull that you feel on a more personal level. It resonates well with Mari & Kusunoki-sensei’s conflict in letting love develop as their feelings do rather than pairing them together just because they can. Yuzu is also a good foil for Guri as she enables the schemes that Guri is up to, yet also tries to help her understand the human aspects of love that go into why people should be together. Setting up a love clinic to pair people up by request is funny, but it’s also the easy way out that Guri is slowly comprehending thanks to Yuzu and the student x teacher pairing.
The emotional center of the episode doesn’t bog down any of the laughs though, as the ridiculous scenarios are still coming in strong. The whole robbery gone awry was amusing as the main characters kept carrying a casual conversation in the middle of an intense hostage situation. Even though Akane didn’t have as much to do this time around aside from having Seiji slowly adjust to her affection, she had one of the funniest moments in the episode when she went crazy on the robbers for hurting Seiji, and unwittingly became the hero of a news story. There wasn’t too much time to see what the deal was with Seiji’s blue-haired sister, Aqua (Takahashi Rie), who deeply resents her brother, but I’d imagine they’ll get to her story soon enough. Still, color me impressed that a show that is this silly with its jokes would explore love much further than jotting down names in the Kiss Note.