「大きな壁の中と外」 (Ookina Kabe no Naka to Soto)
“Inside and Outside the Large Wall”
If there’s a book girl that needs to be played, Hanazawa Kana is poised for the task regardless of whether or not the series is titled Bungaku Shoujo. For this first episode of Shiomiya Shiori’s arc, we didn’t really get to see too much of the girl behind that quiet, intellectual, and shy exterior though. In lieu, there was a fair bit of spillover from Elsie’s episode last time, which I rather enjoyed given all of her quirky interactions with Keima. As a result, the pacing did feel a bit slow compared to prior arcs, meaning that Shiori’s story may span three episodes as well. Compared to Kanon’s one, I actually don’t mind if that’s the case, since a lot of the time has been spent on Keima’s “hardships” with the ever-so-adorable Elsie. However, I definitely feel that Shiori needs some more focus next time, because Elsie’s attempt to educate herself with some common sense in the school library basically stole the show once her new-found fascination with firetrucks kicked in. In addition, my highlight of the episode didn’t even involve Shiori, and came from Keima’s spiel about knowing exactly what quiet girls are thinking, only for Elsie to pull him out of his video game context and cause him to give up on capturing Shiori’s heart. Not a whole lot was revealed about Shiori herself other than what Keima thinks about her librarian girl stereotype, so learning more about our latest target is something I’m looking forward to seeing next time.
For introductory purposes, her inability to engage in conversation and extremely long thought process showcased her cuter side really well. There was also the revelation that she absolutely loves books and immerses herself in them as a substitute for interacting with people directly, which probably makes her the most sophisticated target to date. Upon learning exactly how scholarly she is — having read every single book in the library — I couldn’t help but see the irony in a girl like Shiori being an ideal match for Keima (since he hates dumb people), yet he’s not all that interested in her because he finds librarian girls overused to the point that only the very best ones are worth his time. Granted, he’s not interested in real girls to begin with, but Shiori is the type of girl that I can actually picture him going after if he were. The question is, does she meet his standards of being a worthwhile catch? At this point, it’s pretty hard to say since Keima never really reveals what he’s thinking about any of the girls outside the occasion blush. Personally, I get the sense that the Shiori’s ability to gather all the books they have on firetrucks in a short period of time impressed him on some subconscious level though. It’s just a hunch I have after Keima was met with silence while Shiori contemplated telling him that she didn’t need to use the library system to find all the books.
Coincidentally, it looks like her silence is the “biggest wall” Keima will have to overcome to get through to her, which was both awkward and funny to see when he was standing there for a long time to see if she’ll say anything to him for catching her from falling. I thought for a moment that he was going to walk off without a word and hope that she comes looking for him later to thank him, though I’m kind of glad he didn’t since Shiori was pretty cute when she fumbled her “thank you”. Hmm, who would’ve thought the quiet girl would be this interesting.
* Not to be left out, Kanon gets her version of the “Symbol of Love” ending theme two episodes after her arc already ended. I guess she did have a small PFP commercial cameo of sorts…