「七咲逢編 第一章 サイアク」 (Nanasaki Ai-hen Dai Isshou – Saiaku)
“Nanasaki Ai Chapter 1 – The Worst”
The arc I’ve been looking forward to the most has arrived! Logically speaking, flashing the bottom portion of a swimsuit shows just as much skin as underwear would, yet girls tend to feel that one is socially acceptable while the other is indecent. I guess we can cast another one off to how we’ve all been “brainwashed” by social norms. Personally, I think a swimsuit has just as many sexual connotations as panties, especially when it’s coming from a girl like Nanasaki Ai. If she feels differently about it, all the better. *evil laugh* That being the case, Junichi should just let Ai tease him all she wants about getting aroused by the sight of her skirt flipping up and her swimsuit being exposed. After all, it’s not about the material itself, but the mesmerizing act of a girl’s skirt flipping up that leads to any potential “excitement”. Even more so when she does it voluntarily. Clearly, that’s not something Ai’s aware of, nor the fact that she’s combining two Japanese fetishes into one — school uniforms and swimsuits. Now that’s just asking for trouble from perverted middle-aged men. A swimsuit is not a disappointment! Beware of perverts!
That warning probably doesn’t mean a whole lot coming from the person who just made semi-sarcastic remarks about wearing swimsuits underneath school uniforms for convenience, but! …the point I was trying to get across is that it’s this tomboyish and playful side of Ai that I love. Back when I was researching for the Summer 2010 Preview, Ai’s spin-off manga was something I happened to skim through to get a sense of what this anime would entail. Starting with the swing scene where Junichi caught a glimpse of her “underwear”, Ai’s subsequent teasing about how she’s going to have him and Umehara arrested for being peeping toms is what instantly caught my attention. The fact that she didn’t look like she was joking at all was part of it, but it was more so that cool demeanor she gave off. Plus she’s athletic — being a member of the swim club and all — and you can never go wrong with sporty girls who have a competitive side to them. It’s for those very reasons that I consider her a bit of a tomboy, which contrasts nicely with the other side of her personality that she only shows to people she’s close — the girlish, family-oriented one that’s good at taking care of people. In particular, not only does she do the grocery shopping and take care of her house while both her parents are working, she also happens to do volunteer work on the side by picking up litter at the beach. Quite frankly, it’s the best of both worlds when a girl gives off a sense of independence on the outside, but is actually a sweet and caring person on the inside, and that’s exactly what I love about Ai’s character.
In a lot of ways, she has the same charm points of the stereotypical cool-but-nice kind of guy a lot of girls love, so it may help to perceive her as the female version of that. She’s an example of what fans have coined “kuudere”, a combination of the words “cool” and “deredere” (lovestruck). As such, she’s usually soft-spoken and always respectful to her seniors, which makes her seem a bit distant and closed off. However, she’s like a completely different person once you actually get to know her better, which Junichi ends up being the lucky bastard to do so. Compared to Sae, Ai is a junior who’s completely capable of taking care of herself yet is still a girl at heart who likes to be complimented and have a guy around who treats her well. She is willing to settle for a guy like Junichi after all, so that says something about how (desperately) girlish and sentimental she can be at times. Thus far, their interactions have been pretty frequent and fairly innocent, with their relationship stemming from Ai’s side first just like with Sae. Her questioning Miya about what her brother’s like suggested as much, so it’ll be interesting when Junichi starts seeing Ai as something more than his sister’s friend. Even before getting there, the sheer number of encounters progressed their relationship a lot further along than I thought it would for a first episode. For one, they already walked along the beach together after Junichi helped her buy more bargain sale stuff, plus Ai called him cute for getting flustered by her swimsuit and smiled at the sight of him picking up litter. That’s good progress in my book.
At this point, I’m just hoping that Junichi stays “respectable” this time around and doesn’t mess around with Ai just because she’s younger. I honestly doubt he can pull the same kinky stuff he did on Sae before Ai would slap him to his senses, but the innocence thus far has a much better vibe to it. Oh, and before I forget, Ai’s cool because of the puffy yellow jacket that she wears. It may seem like convenience over fashion, but it still looks good when she’s wearing it. Also, Yukana in a high school role is awesome with her ability to switch between cute and sultry voices. Win + Win = More Win.
* P.S. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when Junichi said Miya’s even cuter when she’s quiet (i.e. shuts up about the shopping district lottery).