「ドライヴ・マイ・カー／パーティーはそのままに」 (Doraivu Mai Kaa / Paatii wa Sono Mama ni)
“Drive My Car / A Party Like That”
So it turns out the secret to dancing (and how everything in the world works) is the infamous Konami Code, or at least that’s what any avid gamer will probably conclude. Between that and the big Zaku head bicycle carriage, I wasn’t sure what made me chuckle more like a big geek, but watching Keima work his magic on the surprisingly poor Mio as well as Elise whine about not being able to wear a cute outfit made this episode one to remember. There were also his “gamer physique” strutting its stuff in manual backbreaking labor and Elise not doing him a favor by slapping a motor on that bicycle of his, which I wouldn’t have had any other way for comedic purposes. I figured it wouldn’t have been a problem given how buff Keima turned out to be, though I guess hauling a locomotive train is in a league of its own.
Comedic antics aside, it’s kind of weird how I’ve taken Keima’s romantic simulation mentality to heart and can understand his systematic approach to winning over a girl. This includes planting the seeds early on and then figuratively watering them by increasing the number of encounters. Would it work in real life? I actually find it’s hard to say, as it would really depend on how one goes about it. Without a doubt, becoming a substitute chauffeur after learning that a formerly rich girl is now living a life a poverty following the death of her father will probably just creep her out more than anything else, but it’s probably a surefire way to keep yourself on her mind in one form or another. Granted, it would likely land one in stalker-ville in real life, with little hope of getting out of that rut forever, whereas in an anime it leads to some interesting results. Just be sure not to mix 2D with 3D, as Kirino will tell you.
Looking back, I can’t really say that Mio’s arc was anything special nor did it unfold all that surprisingly, especially in comparison to Ayumi’s one with the running shoes that Keimi slipped into the fruits basket. The first arc definitely had more of a romantic simulation/anime-like feel to it because of how far ahead he planned, while the way he handled this most recent one was actually a lot more believable, carriages notwithstanding. At the party for the rich and snobby that Mio was trying to avoid attending, the only aspect that was somewhat hard to buy was how she reacted to Keima’s advances. It probably would’ve helped to hear more of Mio’s internal thoughts and if his sudden confession from last time was still weighing heavily on her mind, as it was only briefly touched upon at the start. The fact that she only showed her genuine smile when she was about to whip Keima into shape, yet it somehow turned out to be the focal point of Keima’s game plan didn’t quite click with me either. I was well aware of the approach they were going for, so it just felt like a lot of the emotional build-up in Mio was lost in the screenplay.
Still, it’s always fun to see a tsundere’s tough exterior torn down — even if Keima used her attachment to her late father as a crutch — and it didn’t hurt when Yuuki Aoi made Mio sound very Murasaki-like. The kiss didn’t quite “wow me” like Ayumi’s one, but I get the feeling it’s because Keima was the one who initiated this time around. He didn’t have Mio helplessly in love with him like Ayumi was, which was more impressive in my books. In any case, with two targets in the bag (…or jar I should say), what’s caught my attention the most are Keima’s reactions to seeing the girls he’s worked tirelessly to make fall for him suddenly forget what happened yet still seem to have some feelings for him at some subconscious level. It’s hard to imagine that Keima doesn’t feel anything in the process, even if it’s all just an act from the beginning. I can somehow see that aspect becoming a focus later on in the series, albeit unlikely to be covered in this adaptation.
* It looks like we’re going to get the same ending theme sung by each of the girls. It isn’t quite as nice as Amagami’s character-specific songs and sequences, but better than nothing at all.