「棚町薫編 第三章 ウラギリ」 (Tanamachi Kaoru-hen Dai Sanshou – Uragiri)
“Tanamachi Kaoru Chapter 3 – Betrayal”

With the way things ended last time, I really didn’t know what to make of this episode coming in. The family drama aspect hasn’t been touched upon amidst all the kissing fetishes, so this third chapter of Kaoru’s arc gave some unexpected depth to the series as a whole. However, when I actually finished watching this episode, I was surprised that the entire showing involved Junichi frantically searching for Kaoru and helping her cope with seeing her mother with another man. I didn’t mind the time spent going down this route since it did put a different spin on things, but was left wondering if the short four-chapter arcs could spare it. While the flashbacks Junichi had helped emphasize his relationship with Kaoru up to this point and how he’s still straddling the friendship line, he didn’t show any indication that he’s crossed over.

He did the right thing in my books by refraining from making any sort of move on her when she was troubled with family affairs and he was still unsure about exactly how he feels, so it’s possible this is a more sentimental means to the same end. Either way, it’s a stark contrast to Haruka’s arc where confessions were flying left and right and the flirting was happening non-stop, that’s for sure. As such, I initially had doubts about Kaoru’s story matching up to Haruka’s in light of this turn of events. It’s pretty easy to compare where Junichi was with Haruka three episodes in and see how much farther along they were after all, but then it hit me that his relationship with her didn’t start off on the same grounds as Kaoru’s. What happened in that arc had a lot to do with Haruka herself and the senior/junior type of relationship she had with Junichi, so it’s an entirely different ball game when it’s a middle-school friend with three years of history.

Looking at things from that perspective made me appreciate what Junichi and Kaoru have going on a lot more. The fact that they have a history naturally changes the course of their development, which quite honestly I haven’t ruled out the possibility that they may even remain just friends. It probably goes without saying that I’d like to see them wind up together, but their hesitation towards making that happen is understandable. All one needs to do is try and picture a friend of the opposite sex as something more to get a feel for how strange of an outlook it can be (assuming you didn’t like them before). With the final chapter in Kaoru’s arc is titled “Progress”, it’s very likely that they will hook up before it’s all said and done though. Regardless of the outcome, if there’s one thing that I’ve taken an unexpected appreciation of with this omnibus format is that it depicts how drastically different things can turn out depending on the circumstances.

To some, Junichi was quite a failure of a human being in Haruka’s story. In Kaoru’s, the same people might see him as a good friend deserving of her affection. The question is, has Junichi’s character really changed or is it just how the girl he’s with affects it? Given how every arc starts off with the same premise, I’d personally consider Junichi a constant in the very beginning, who changes depending on the girl he takes interest in. Not only does he end up with a different girl in each variation, but Junichi himself changes based on his interactions with her. While the game’s character designer Takayama Kisai has mentioned that the omnibus format is intended to highlight each of the girls, I’m starting to view it as a means of highlighting Junichi as well. Rather than comparing who he had the most interesting or eyebrow-raising story with when we’ve gone through all six arcs, I’m curious to see who brings out the best in him. I’m already labeling him as the submissive one in a kinky marriage in Haruka’s, and the very opposite in a playful one in Kaoru’s. He may have more fun in the bedroom with Haruka, but in public he looks like he wears the pants with Kaoru by his side.

Junichi proved that here with the way he realized that she’s not really upset about her mother betraying their decision to live alone together, but by how it affects her memories of her mother with her father (who I presume passed away based on the sound of things). What’s more, him remembering that she’s into seasonal, limited time variation of snacks emphasized how thoughtful he can be. I’d say without a doubt that this Junichi is a lot cooler than the one that Haruka ended up marrying, even though he’s not hitting it off as quickly with Kaoru. I gather that will change during Christmas Eve next episode, seeing as Kaoru has a whole new image of Junichi for understanding her feelings — except the one she may need to make clear herself. Now that would be an interesting change-up, Kaoru confessing to Junichi first. Ai, Sae, and Miya look like they’ll be around as well, after all their talk about blue, red, and green colors, which I’m still not sure what they were alluding to. Pssh, first-year girls. 😛 (<3 Ai though.)




  1. Oh the classic friends get together. What a a nice way to see Junichi. He’s grown up. I’m loving the how everyone appearing. Especially Ai-chan. Not only that, Haruka has a significance this time around lol. Leading our lover boy to where Kaoru is. Neither side has confessed, but it looks like both of them are acknowledging their feelings for each other. With this… we’re almost closing our Kaoru chapter. TBH, I was hoping the Kaoru arc went a little bit longer, even if it was an episode longer.

    Sora no Kaze
    1. Yep, its good to see Ai again. It wouldn’t be long now…

      Anyway, I agree with you about Junichi. He is really grown up for a main character in these anime adaptions of visual novels. Usually, they are self-centered and don’t usually care for other peoples feelings. I feel like I can really relate to Junichi as a person in this episode. Thats a plus in my book.

  2. I’m a bit disappointed that they aren’t together yet in contrast to the Haruka arc where they got together as early as the end of episode 2 but I guess what you said is true that they didn’t start off on the same grounds.

    I’m really looking forward to the last episode of this arc. But I guess I’ve got to be patient and wait like a good boy.. =P

  3. Man, it would be quite the coup if Junichi and Sex Hair end up just as friends at the end of the arc. It would effectively be the protagonist “losing.” Something completely unexpected in a show such as this. It would really make me question my initial reaction to the show if that’s how it went down. I’m not holding my breath for it, though.

  4. Whats with the Junichi “fanservice” bath scene X_X~ Get out !

    Anyways, looking forward to next episode to see how this will end… (Havn’t finish Kaoru arc on PS2 yet ~_~). And still waiting for Nanasaki arc ^_________^

  5. “Ai, Sae, and Miya look like they’ll be around as well, after all their talk about blue, red, and green colors, which I’m still not sure what they were alluding to.”

    I’m thinking of Powerpuff Girls cosplay.

  6. I honestly thought that towards the end of the episode they’d get together, but I guess that’s all for episode 4. I’m liking the arc so far, so much for sex hair being a kinky arc, unless you count that bellybutton thing. lol

    great post. :]

  7. I have mixed feelings about the next episode, I am excited for the next episode and to see how Kaoru’s arc will end. However, I am sad that it will end. I really wish for more episodes of this show.

    Its hard to really say where each story arc begins however I guess that Kaoru’s arc started sometime after Tsukasa became the committee for the chrismas party for Junichi’s class. That is something that will stay the same until her story arc begins…

    If what you are saying is true that Junichi real stays the same in each reset, then does that mean that he didn’t watch Haruka walk to school like back in the first episode?

    Anything short of a happy ending will never happen. I am positive that we will have a happy ending that is appropriate for the story.

    1. When you mean that Tsukasa becoming the Chrismas Party committee will stay the same. Do you mean until Show Spoiler ▼

      I believe that Junichi’s path changes when he encounters the love interest of the arc right after he gets dumped by his date. Which thus changes the story as well as his interest in the love interest accordingly. That is just my opinion.

    2. Lol, your spoiler didn’t turn out right.

      Yeah I do mean when Junichi does that.

      Your theory makes a lot more sense than mine. That is of course, that the other story arcs will begin like Kaoru’s did. So it may or may not be right, we’ll going to have to wait and see.

    3. How was I suppose to know that would happen, at least I followed the directions unlike some “people”.

      Haruka’s story arc didn’t start like Kaoru’s arc, why is that?

      1. I was laughing so hard at that. In fact, I still find it funny. I wonder what was Tsukasa’s reaction to Junichi’s scream. Since it was right after she answered the sensei’s question.

      2. Lol, who knows, but it definitely would have been funny to know if this show was a comedy anime rather than a romance one. The timing of Junichi’s scream was just prefect though.

  8. LOL,Junichi looks silly in the bathtub with that grin smile while turning red.*sigh* there goes the 2nd arc next episode.oh well,i’ll just watch till the final episode of Tsukasa’s arc(but im eager to see Ai’s arc though).Divine,ever thought of making a poll at the very last episode,poll about who’s the crowd favorite I mean?On another note,after Kaoru’s arc it’s Sae’s who happens to be voiced by Konno Hiromi(Kogami Akira of Lucky Star anyone?)makes me wonder how flexible her voice is.

  9. Well, Haruka has dominance because of her age (I guess a year means a lot?)
    Kaoru is on equal terms with Junichi so that makes the two of them more playful.
    Ai and Sae are both underclassmen so I imagine he’ll be either the dominant male there, or some sort of figure for them to look up to.
    Rihoko is a child hood friend, but less violent than Kaoru, so I assume he’ll be dominant there as well.
    And you just know that Tsukasa is a sadist in class rep clothing. No chance he wears the pants in that one.

  10. Well, now they both have a relative idea that they like each other, and this time Miya and Co. were the ones that were there just to be there. What in the world were they talking about anyways? Anyways, now Junichi is even more the man in Kaoru’s life, so good times! Looking forward to the “Progress” next episode. I was hoping all the arcs ended on the Christmas date, but the preview didn’t say anything about Christmas…

    Oh, and I fully approve of that pink outfit Kaoru had on while playing pool!!

    1. Its true that the preview didn’t say anything about Chrismas. However within the preview, there is a christmas tree with Ai in front on it. There is also the Port Tower that Kaoru was talking about back in episode 5. I wonder what the preview means by Progress. I hope that Junichi and Kaoru will kiss at least.

  11. I was surprised at this episode. The last two felt like a remix of the initial arc for the most part. But seeing Junichi not acting like a putz was actually pretty cool. This episode actually felt pretty warm and heartfelt . . . like it could be a REAL relationship developing.

  12. Someone once pointed out to me that the difference between Junichi in the two arcs is how it began in Christmas Eve. In episode 5, Kaoru as a friend, was there to invite him for Christmas cake after she realized he was stood up. As a result Junichi probably got over it much quickly than Haruka’s arc. And it shows, Junichi isn’t an annoying, hopeless romantic and there is no sign of his pathetic “planetarium of loneliness”. He’s more likable as a result so I’m quite interested how different he is in the next few arcs.

    As for this arc itself, I’m quite impressed at the “friend zone” Junichi and Kaoru have established. It’s almost breaking my willing suspension of disbelief, but at the same it lead the some very interesting dynamic. It would have been much better if there were a couple more episodes to develop it, so I’m a bit saddened it will end soon. Hopefully it won’t feel so rushed.

  13. Nice to see a quite dependable – in real life situation male lead – not a heroic one, mind you, but solid friend.
    And piece of advice to all sister-haves: lock the bath door. Miya is not the only sister with strange ideas… (speaks from exper- ience, 2 own rl younger sisters…) But you should probably know it already 😛

  14. oi seriously..what’s going on with the story mann~i don’t really understand.. :S the first 4 chapters(correct me if i’m wrong),that dude went with haruka..then now with kaoru!!GRRR!!WHATS GOING ON!!!??

    1. Parallel universe format — that’s what the omnibus refers to. In each version of reality, the characters make slightly different choices that lead to very different results.

  15. Divine’s review is one of the more thoughtful ones I’ve seen in a while. Nice critique/analysis.

    Yeah, Junichi IS reacting differently, much as real people do when dropped in different social contexts. For me, this series is almost more interesting in a “Thrice Upon a Time” (sci-fi by Hogan) way as any other reason. Watching the little quantum shifts that lead someone into entire different results.


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