「敵う・叶う」 (Kanau / Kanau)
“To Rival / To Come True”
Episode at a Glance:
On her newfound shortcut to school, Hikari comes across Ogata Aoi, secretary of the Takishima Group president (i.e. Kei’s grandfather), who’s been instructed to observe Kei’s school life at Hakusenkan. While originally thinking he’s some sort of Kei obsessed maniac, Hikari offers to help after hearing how he’ll do anything for Kei because he feels indebted to him (恩義). Carrying a Yappi doll with a hidden camera in her pocket, Hikari draws the immediate attention of Kei and Akira, but manages to cast it off as a recent fashion trend. In the greenhouse, Megumi holds a recital that’s supposed to be kept bearable by Tadashi and Jun’s new volume control invention, but it expectedly fails and traumatizes Aoi as well. During a picnic with sandwiches prepared by Akira, Kei and Hikari end up fighting for the last one, resulting in a jigsaw puzzle contest to decide who’ll get it. Despite Hikari’s feverish pace, Kei’s inhuman abilities allow him to start eating his prize before Hikari can put even put in her last piece.
After school, Hikari meets up with Aoi again, pleased by what she’s shown him, but he tells her that Kei’s going to transfer schools to London since Hakusenkan isn’t suited for him. Curious as to how one can make a decision like that without Kei’s consent, Hikari finds out that this is a decision made by his grandfather, which he can’t refuse. Hikari refuses to accept this because Kei’s her rival, so Aoi decides to show her how different their statuses are and brings her to various companies that Kei’s the president of. Catching sight of Hikari in Aoi’s car, Akira calls Kei about this, who’s surprised to hear that Aoi’s in Japan. In Aoi’s car, Hikari is shocked by Kei’s position in the Takishima Group, but isn’t intimidated by it since it only motivated her to find her own part-time job while in school, so Aoi takes her to his villa to show her Kei’s various achievements since childhood. Meanwhile, Kei drops by Aoi’s place and finds that he’s not there, so he decides to take a taxi over to Aoi’s villa. When he gets stuck in a traffic jam, Kei gives the address to the driver and tells him to come by when he can, after which he gets out of the car and runs at a superhuman speed the rest of the way.
After showing the slide show about Kei, Aoi questions Hikari exactly what Kei is to her, causing her to pause for a second, but respond that he’s a precious S.A friend and a rival that she wants to win against no matter what. Realizing that he’s not getting through to her, Aoi decides to take Hikari home, making her think that he’s given up on forcing Kei to transfer, so he tells her bluntly that Hakusenkan and the S.A class are too low class for Kei. Naturally, Hikari takes offense to this, so Aoi tells her to prove to him otherwise by landing a blow him, stipulating that if she can’t, she’s unfit to compete with Kei and claim to be his rival. Hearing this, Hikari frantically tries to land a blow but can’t and ends up being pinned against a wall, where Aoi tells her that the worlds she and Kei live in are different in terms of heredity, intelligence, and power, and that she can never hope to compete with him. After being asked to stay away from Kei so that she doesn’t suffer either, Hikari is brought to tears and starts calling out for Kei, who shows up at the door and knocks Aoi to the ground, questioning who the hell he thinks is making Hikari suffer. Relieved and in tears, Hikari hugs Kei from behind.
Kei then drops Hikari off at home and tells her that he plans to stay at Hakusenkan until he graduates, much to her relief. Seeing her response to this, Kei insists that she probably feels this way because she likes him, akin to an object of affection, but Hikari responds with a blank look, before bursting out in embarrassment that there’s no way in hell. Inside though, she wonders about the feeling in her heart while Kei walks off with an expressionless look on his face.
「恋・変」 (Koi / Hen)
“Love / Weird”
Well, it definitely seems like things are picking up between Kei and Hikari now, with this episode being only the beginning of it. Given the time constraint of the series (i.e. three episodes left), I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last thing they touched upon. However, I don’t really have any complaints about the pacing thus far, and this episode in particular really helped establish some of Hikari’s feelings towards Kei, despite how much she refuses to acknowledge it. Credit goes to Aoi for being the “bad guy” here though, giving Kei an opportunity to save Hikari and make her realize a bit more about what he means to her. In comparison to Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, I find that the comedy in Special A heavily outweighs the mushy stuff, so scenes such as this are actually a welcome sight. For someone so strong-willed and resilient to criticism/adversity like Hikari, it’s nice to see that she has a soft side as well, which makes it evident that she’s still a (somewhat) fragile girl deep down inside.
Comedy-wise, I couldn’t help but laugh at the number of pieces in the jigsaw puzzles and more so when I saw Kei analyzing the pieces like some sort of android. It’s kind of disturbing to see how only Kei exhibits these inhuman levels of abilities, but at least he did break a sweat from all the running. Aoi on the other hand got a nice welcome recital from Megumi, who for some reason, doesn’t sing like she did before anymore. It’s a bit of a shame since I thought Megumi would finally impress everyone this time around, but they went back to the usual comedic gag.
Next time looks like a date between Kei and Hikari, the latter of which is looking pretty cute with her hairstyle. The preview looks pretty promising too, hinting at all sorts of emotional responses from Hikari, so hopefully we’ll see some more progress between her and Kei. Last but not least, it looks like we’ll see more of Tadashi’s mother as well.
– Hanazono Hikari (華園 光) / Gotou Yuuko (後藤 邑子)
– Takishima Kei (滝島 彗) / Fukuyama Jun (福山 潤)
– Toudou Akira (東堂 明) / Nabatame Hitomi (生天目 仁美)
– Karino Tadashi (狩野 宙) / Shimono Hiro (下野 紘)
– Yamamoto Megumi (山本 芽) / Takagaki Ayahi (高垣 彩陽)
– Yamamoto Jun (山本 純) / Yonaga Tsubasa (代永 翼)
– Tsuji Ryuu (辻 竜) / Horie Kazuma (堀江 一眞)
– Ogata Aoi (緒方 蒼) / Yusa Kouji (遊佐 浩二)
– Hikari’s mother (光の母) / Nabei Makiko (鍋井 まき子)
– Taxi driver (タクシー運転手) / Hirao Kentarou (平尾 健太郎)