「迷い猫、見つけた」 (Mayoi Neko, Mitsuketa)
“Stray Cat, Found”
After what I felt was a jarring and lackluster showing last week, it’s nice to see this series bounce back with an element of depth one wouldn’t normally expect from a romantic comedy. Picking up right where we left off last time, the laughs and general fan-service were somewhat sparse, aside from Fumino coming out of the bath in the buff, but it was a really welcomed change-up that gave way for the character development to be center stage. I got a taste of this more dramatic side to things from my research-oriented read of the manga last month, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it transitioned on screen in the anime.
While it may not look like much on paper, the story involving Takumi and Fumino as orphans who felt really unwanted before and how it correlates to Nozomi’s current situation adds a really nice sentimental touch to the series. Given how Mayoi Neko comes off as a typical run-of-the-mill harem on the surface, this extra level of dimension to the story also helps differentiate it from being stereotyped as just that. Things weren’t quite enough to get me too emotionally into how Nozomi ran away after feeling like she wasn’t wanted and how Fumino felt responsible, but I was still taken back by how well all of that was portrayed. It was like all the jokes suddenly went out the window and we had a real serious outlook on orphans and what they have to go through mentally.
To that end, I really like how Fumino ended up revealing to Takumi that she likes him, which is awesome to see this early in any series. Granted, she still ended up denying it at the end, but the fact that she made this first step (read: huge hurdle in anime) has me looking forward to their interactions down the stretch. To be quite honest, I’d watch this series for Fumino alone as I just love her dishonest tsundere character. The fact that there are all these other things going for the series though just makes it all the better.
This includes Nozomi, who I couldn’t help but feel sorry for as she chose to go back to living on her own. As a result, I was so glad to see Takumi talk about how him and Fumino were unwanted orphans too and tell her that they’re her family now, before giving her a hug (aww…). There just aren’t enough really sentimental hugs in anime nowadays, so I really thought that was a sweet move on Takumi’s part. So with a nice mix of comedy, fan-service, and drama as shown here, I have renewed hope in this series and can’t wait to see where they take things. Patience is indeed a virtue and this series has reiterated that. Go AIC studio!
Note: An updated ending sequence debuted this episode, which I’ve included below.