「謎の「なんだかちょっと」」 (Nazo no “Nandaka Chotto”)
“Mysterious ‘Somewhat, A Little'”
Let’s face it. When a romantic challenger appears in an anime, they pose a ‘threat’ for one episode and then subside into becoming the protagonist’s friend and also make amends with the main romantic interest later on. Nothing is developed, nothing is gained except for a new good-looking member of the cast.
However, in shows that actually take the dynamics of relationships in a realistic manner, that’s rarely ever the case. Challengers may come in many forms such as childhood friend, class representative, idol, next-door neighbor, and mysterious stranger, but in a realistic setting, rarely do their challenging actions leave the primary couple unscathed. Commitments will be doubted, tensions rise, and the two end up learning more about each other…often revealing negative traits rather than positive one.
This episode takes on the staple “I’m prettier than you” challenger to bring out the sometimes nastier trait of ownership out into the open. Back during episode six we encountered the first signs of ownership from challenger #1, “high achiever”. However, tensions were more sympathetic and sad as Tsubaki still did the right thing in an uncontrollable scenario. Here however, an obvious infraction of the unspoken code is broken, with Urabe quick to lash out her jealousy. Of course Tsubaki probably wasn’t aware that buying materials that look like your girlfriend, openly no less, is a slap to the face. In my opinion, though he deserved to be scolded for carelessly buying up such an expensive photo book, ripping it up on the spot…a little rash, don’t you think? Tsubaki would’ve been better off buying his materials from his fellow classmates; at least those photos would’ve been truer to the relationship rather than for a pretty face.
However, it seems that this isn’t the end of this idol’s influence on Urabe. For the episode to spend so much time developing her character and mentioning the fact that she was the same age as our main cast AND that she has smaller, well… foreshadows that we may see her pretty face again. If she was able to get this much of a reaction from Urabe without actually being present in person, who knows what kind of wrench in the gear she could throw if she were to appear again?
Setting aside story though, the hairstyles this episode: absolute joy. If Oka were to lose her glasses, ruffle her hair, and put on that look on her face more often…she could become an idol herself! Urabe’s own stages of hair were also a sight to see, whether tied up, half-tied, or just naturally messy and parted. If this was more of a fanservice type of show, I would be demanding more of these hairstyles appearing more often! However, her hair is symbolic and critical to her character: any permanent changes would have to be reflected in her own growth.
Another interesting note would have to be the extreme color tones portrayed throughout this episode. At least four tones were expressed for long periods of time. White dominated the hair changes, red indicated a reversal, yellow accompanied a spreading trend, and dark green for jealousy. I find it nice to see these subtle details added in this episode, and I wish that the show had added this style earlier; it makes for a nice visual cue as to the current tone of the show.
Next week our first challenger appears to have cut her hair and…have shared her drool with Tsubaki! It’s looking to be a high-tension episode that perhaps lays off on the comedy to focus on this…unresolved past.
Full-length images: 5, 21, 27, 28, 29.
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ZANIBAS NICE CAPS <3
I wish this series had better art. It’s probably the one thing that turns me off it, ironically.
I don’t see anything that sticks out as even half-bad. It’s just a old school style.
Personally I love the old school character designs. They have very expressive faces.
It seems to me the first thing Tsubaki noticed about the idol was that her breasts were slightly smaller. While this might sound bad, its actually quite interesting observation on his part. This would indicate that Urabe is in Tsubaki’s thoughs all the time and that he notices every little detail about Urabe. I guess it would be nice to have that kind of boyfriend or girlfriend that notices the little details.
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The red background in some of the scenes made me think Urabe was going yandere (cut up Tsubaki with her Panty Scissors) or something equally sinister. Fortunately the “Red Sky, Take Warning” Trope was averted.
*I’m gonna take a page from Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka. This is just the fantasy of our weak-hearted protagonist, Tsubaki Akira:
Urabe: Tsubaki-kun, would you look at me?
Tsubaki: What is it, Urabe?
Urabe: here, Tsubaki-kun, twintails! *spins around and changes into the episode’s hairstyle* Tehee! (VA for this “delusional Urabe”: Yui Horie)
Tsubaki: … *Massive Blood Loss Due To Moe~*
I’m sure Tsubaki would have quite a few dreams like that. Hahaha.
Isn’t that photo book supposed to be 3000 yen and not 30000? Aside from the fact that a 30000 yen book is almost nonexistent, for it to pile up in the store is almost impossible I think.
It is 3000.
approx $30 USD which is normal for a photobook.
Closer to $38 these days. The exchange rate sucks. Bad. I remember the days when it used to be way over 200 yen to the dollar.
When I’m buying stuff from Japan I tend to cringe.
Other than that- great post Zanibas! Guyys- don’t make the same mistake with a magazine especially early on in a relationship.
Both Urabe and Tsubaki are in the trust building phase of their relationship. They need some testing with jealousy to really cement their relationship.
Thank you for the correction, and thank you for reading the alt-texts 😀
The different color tones this episode was probably because of Episode director Shigeyasu Yamaguchi, the director of Yumekui Merry and Casshern Sins. He really has an artistic touch to his works.
So… Urabe sleeps naked? Maybe she’s secretly a nudist like another soft-spoken protagonist I know.
A downvote just for that? Well, OK she probably isn’t a naturist (as they prefer to be called), but sleeping naked is very unusual for Japan.
Yes she is
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They both seemed a bit childish. I can understand Tsubaki feeling jealous about the attention Urabe’s getting, especially since she doesn’t want their relationship to be revealed, but wanting her to hide her face seems almost mean after he previously encouraged her to be more open and around her fellow students. I can understand Urabe being angry that he bought a book of an idol (even if it looks just like her) but actually destroying it?
And I’m wondering what exactly makes them a couple. There have been a few times where they showed strong emotion towards the other (including this episode) but where does it come from? Just from sharing saliva?
Points added to this ep for actually showing Oka and Ueno together. That’s the first major event between the two in a while that wasn’t a flashback. Of course you could write it completely out and the episode wouldn’t change much, but it’s nice.
I agree that Urabe looks the best when her hair is slightly parted.
I can see why Urabe enjoys it when Tsubaki ruffles her hair. Head massages are one of the best things ever, you feel so good after one.
Nice job again on the photo photo-spread. I think you would have attracted a lot of viewers if you used the photo book shots on the front page. Those shots are gorgeous.
A lot of “rubbing” went on in this ep.
This Urabe girl is starting to make me uncomfortable. I would personally feel quite threatened to be in her boyfriend’s shoes. It seems that one is forever at risk of doing something that would displease her, and possibly be forever at risk of being under the “knifepoint” of her scissors. All symbolism aside, she is QUITE extreme: stoic and austere on one hand, but on the other, quite possessive and easily “aroused.” She’s like one of those acquaintances who on common days would ignore you, but as soon as you didn’t invite them to a gathering, he/she would get on your back about it and make herself the victim to your abuse and lack of care.
On another note, it surprises me how these students have time to play with one’s hair during schooltime. I remember having 4 minutes between classes and approx. 10 minutes during lunchtime for break in high school. But then again, few anime students are seen to be doing anything schoolwork/testing-related.
It is true she “scares” with her scissors to Tsubaki, but the few times she uses her knife when she has done damaged to her boyfriend? Never. She can destroy anything, except him.
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One doesn’t have to wait until for the harm to becomes physical to conclude that someone is dangerous. From all of the episodes aired so far (therefore spoilers = irrelevant), she seems pretty darn unbalanced. Tsubaki is constantly scared, jealous, unsure, nervous, and/or anxious. How is that not damaging in a relationship?
@ Banana Furikake
Lol. The pleasures of the falling dollar. There’s article stating that gas would be somewhere around $2.95/gal if it had the strength of a Chinese Yuan, $2.80 if Euro, $2.60 if Yen, and $2.40 if Swiss Franc. It’s currently $4.20/gal in LA.
Aye. Great for exports but sucks if you buy stuff from out of country.
The only thing with the Yuan is it is pegged to the US $. Yeah- same here in Oregon for gas prices. It’s still up over $4. “Refinery fire” in Bellingham.
Aye, when you run fewer refineries than needed, run them at 120%, and never do the maintenance — oddly enough, stuff breaks. The futures market speculators love that.
Well more twin tails for Stilts. I’m surprised this series wasn’t covered in the podcast but maybe a later one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and I’m kicking myself for not noticing all those colour themes(except the red one, I got that). Hair is a form of expression for people especially girls.
Also should I be ashamed that I also noticed Imai’s breasts were smaller?