「マゴコロを込めて」 (Magokoro wo Komete)
Ask and I shall receive, as Onigawara sets Alma up on a date with Ruri so that he can finally get a clue. It’s just too bad that it revolved around a misunderstanding over Alma’s overuse of the phrase “for now”, since it made him come off as an insensitive jerk for most of the episode. From my point of view, it was pretty apparent that he wasn’t confident about protecting Ruri, so it felt like we were always one quick line away from clearing things up and saving her a lot of grief. The fact that Alma decided to whittle away in his own lack of confidence and completely ignore how Ruri was wearing her heart on her sleeve made most of the episode somewhat frustrating to watch.
I was fully aware of the scenario they were going for, and Alma’s flashback with Nakajima Megumi’s insert song “Love” helped in that regard, but the insecurities seen in them both seemed to drag out a fair bit. The contract at Alma’s house, the wait on the train platform, the realization that he left her behind, and the tears in the ramen shop — we had at least one scene too many for Alma to catch on. Even then, he didn’t realize himself, as Ruri had to speak up about how he was making her feel unwanted. In hindsight, Ruri should’ve just taken Onigawara’s advice and leaped into Alma with open arms to save us all from going through that. It worked wonders on our fellow Ashi after all.
In all fairness, this episode did make a point of how Alma closed himself off to any sort of friends after losing control of his powers when he was younger. He clearly isn’t good with people since then, making a date with Ruri being the furthest thing he’d be able to handle. He also made a point of how she should speak up if something’s bothering her, which was crude yet admirably straight to the point. The only problem I had with it all is that he stayed clueless for too long. There’s a tolerance level for density (at least for me) and Alma was really pushing the boundaries of it. I didn’t really mind how he manhandled her when he plucked her out of the water, and actually liked how he accepted Ruri’s
proposal will, so most of my personal angst came from stuff like fiddling over holding hands. (If only it was as easy as home base.)
As for Alma’s flashback, we didn’t really learn too much about his mother, plus we’re still left wondering if he actually protected Ruri in the past. There wasn’t much to take away in either case, so the focus is all on Kenmi now. Kagami knows they’re bad news but Kenmi knows that they’re onto him, which sounds like a precursor to things heating up between them. My money’s on Night and Fei stepping in to lend a hand once it does.
* The series makes a point of contrasting how much taller Alma is than Ruri, but some scenes look pretty ridiculous.
* Arakune get a cameo mid-episode, but doesn’t say anything to spice up their date unfortunately.