「棚町薫 後編 ミチヅレ」 (Tanamachi Kaoru Kouhen – Michizure)
“Tanamachi Kaoru, Second Chapter – Companion”
Regardless of whatever arguments Junichi may have with Kaoru, it seems like he always has his mind in the “right place” to ensure that their relationship can overcome anything. I didn’t have any real idea about what we’d be in store for in this episode, so it actually proved to be a pleasant surprise in more ways than one. The highlight was undoubtedly a scared tsundere Kaoru, who gave us lots of interesting looks when nature forced her to be one with it and go braless, but I was most surprised by how their argument spiraled down to a seemingly unrecoverable path for a mere episode and somehow rebounded without feeling incredibly forced (albeit with a lot of force).
From that, I could get a real sense of what the writers were thinking with Kaoru’s follow-up arc: Emphasize that they’re inseparable “bad company” and show how that can actually be a great thing in a relationship. The initially creepy yet clearly hospitable inn helped reiterate that notion too, making the eventual scene at the beach that much better. While it may pale in comparison to how these two lovebird hit it off in the original season, the end result was still awfully sweet. Kaoru’s drawing was the perfect conclusion to it as well (even though I suspect Junichi will be called out for having someone else do his homework for him.)
If I were to nitpick about something, it would be the Japanese timidness that continues to be prevalent in anime, which doesn’t always seem to fit in the context of what’s going on. That of course is in reference to Junichi and Kaoru sharing a room together, even though they’re already going out. The immediate thought that they’d have to get intimate just because their futons were touching is getting a bit old, much like indirect kisses through sharing a drink. I figured Kaoru was beyond these “cultural conventions” given what happened last episode, so I was a bit disappointed that she got rattled at all by sharing a room. This is coming from the same girl who invited Junichi to join her in the hot spring as him after all, and I’d imagine that sleeping in a room alone is scarier than taking a short bath alone. In any case, Kaoru’s outgoing personality and playfulness still makes her one of my favorite heroines. Now let’s see what Sae and the kinkiness she’s willing to endure will bring us next.