For an episode devoted primarily to Kanako and Junpei, the title “Friends” is almost like a spoiler in disguise. I must’ve been unconsciously expecting something to happen though, as this was a mere afterthought. Junpei was really smooth bringing Kanako’s friendship doll back into the picture and getting her a special cell phone strap from the theater with it. If he hadn’t started bawling his eyes out during the movie, she may have confessed too. While Kanako’s busy wrestling with her feelings and loyalty to Kaede, Junpei has much more pressing problems — his curse escalates.
After seeing how Keizou repeated the damage that Junpei did to Neko Jizou, I’m really starting to think that the real curse are EMPTY CANS in the MIDDLE of the street. They’re literally labeled for that statue with a name meaning “cat tea” (of sorts). As Junpei’s misfortune would have it, he develops a sensitive tongue to hot food when his curse advances. The shrine’s broke and Keizou’s unable to get money out of their believers, so he takes up a job at the post office to earn some donation money in an attempt to quench the cat guardian’s wrath. Naturally, nothing goes quite according to plan for him as he ends up spending most of the money he earned on a forced date with Kanako. Worst of all, he inadvertently lets Kaede overhear him talking to cats. Enter cat ears on Junpei’s head as a result.
I mentioned back in episode nine how I liked the fact they brought the friendship doll up again. Well it looks like the anime is riding on this plot device to reach some sort of original conclusion. Here, Kanako pretty much gives up on confessing her feelings to Junpei and opts to keep him as the close yet dense friend he’s always been. Judging from the preview, it looks like she’s going to discuss this with Kaede as well, which may lead us to a Junpei x Kaede finish. I’m not going to get my hopes up though, since the curse problem will probably take precedence. Speaking of which, I’m not certain if the cat shown at the very end is supposed to be Junpei, but it does bear some similarities. Whatever the case, this turn of events gave the show a much more serious atmosphere despite the jokes that were littered throughout. It’s an interesting change-up that I’m all for, if it leads towards some semi-satisfying ending next week. It’s coming down to the wire with both the curse and Kaede’s feelings in the balance!