「ずっと、好きでした……」 (Zutto, Sukideshita……)
“I’ve always loved you”
He did it! He half-passed! Woohoo!! *coughs* ahem…sorry, I had to get that out real quick. A lot to get to, so I’m going to blaze through a lot of topics in rapid succession. I’ll try to keep them brief though, so be sure to keep up!
Jin’s Avoidance, Misaki’s Determination
Any fan of the romcom genre is undoubtedly used to male protagonists doing stupid things. If I have any problem with it in anime (I haven’t found this to be as big of a problem in other mediums), that’s certainly it. While both Jin and Sorata have spent time on the upper end of the spectrum (i.e. far above their peers), Jin is on the lower part of his trajectory right now. I understand that he doesn’t want to be distracted from his goal, and that he wants to become the best man he can be (for himself as much for Misaki). I respect that. But not even seeing her? Well, Sakurasou has been unapologetic about inflating the drama, so not surprising. Doesn’t mean Jin gets any points though.
As for Misaki, first of all: her bullfrog was as hilarious as it was unconvincing! Aside from that, it’s clear from her veritable mountain of chocolate that she has something up her sleeve for Valentine’s Day. That’s not what really struck me about her this episode, though. “I’m doing it. I want to make something for myself!” That line represented a quantum shift in Misaki’s character. She used to be aimless, only doing what she enjoyed and chasing Jin. Now she’s different. She’s always been a prodigy, but now she’s an artist as well. Misaki is growing up.
Sorata’s Presentation, and the Half-Pass
He half-passed, woo!! There were a lot of good things about Sorata’s presentation. The one I enjoyed the most was the combination of Fujisawa laughing, Chihiro-sensei’s advice (“Quit trying so hard”), and Sorata bowing into the microphone. All that, combined with all his practice, made Sorata realize something – it’s not all over if you screw up. Go ahead, make mistakes! Your preparation and passion will shine through as long as you don’t freeze. It’s better to be the palm tree that bends in the wind rather than the oak that is torn down. That’s why I always prefer to be a little silly (see: any RandomC podcast ever), so I’ll probably say something stupid early on, get it over with, and then be able to be myself. Works for me.
Secondly, I really enjoyed how Sorata thought about not just what would make the game fun and how to make money/promote it (via “viral” videos captured from gameplay), but the true reason that people would play, the reason behind the reason. It’s not about beating the monsters, but looking cool while doing so. Whether that will work depends on the implementation, but the fact that he thought so far is impressive.
Above all though, I got a little thrill when he half-passed. Even if his game doesn’t get made – probably due to the cost of producing it, I’d bet – he should be proud for having had such a good idea, and presenting it so well. He’s had some setbacks, so it’s good to see him stumble forward. I will say that the scene didn’t quite have the elated feelings I was expecting, but for a half-pass that happened in the middle of the episode, that’s fine. There was still more to come.
Bonus: I was going to comment on how Sorata’s presentation seemed really short, and perhaps it was. That said, if you can’t explain your idea in two minutes then you probably haven’t refined it enough, or you’re rambling. That’s what places like Y Combinator teach, and it seems to work pretty well for them. No foul!
Jin’s script & Nanami’s Embarrassment
I’m not sure on the advisability of Nanami using Jin’s script for her audition. What if it isn’t that good? I’d want to have the best materials for a situation like that! That said, using something the judges haven’t heard before is an advantage, and it led to some undeniably cute moments between Nanami and Sorata. I wasn’t fooled for a second by their script-reading, but first Sorata and then Nanami getting all embarrassed was great! Nanami’s big day is coming up though. Oh my.
Mashiro’s Awakening (to Valentines)
Throughout this episode, it really did seem like Sorata was giving Nanami special treatment. Yuuko’s consternation aside, the best thing about this was what it did to Mashiro. First of all: holy hell, massive nosebleed incoming!! The hair drying bit, the text message bit…there was a lot of Mashiro being jealous, and I loved it all.
But perhaps best of all was Mashiro going to talk to Ayano, and her saying that Mashiro should learn about love via shoujo manga. This can only end well! Seriously. By the looks of Mashiro looking at the chocolate in that store window, she has awoken to the power of Valentine’s Day. This can only mean good things for next week’s episode.
Like Onii-chan, Like Imouto
Yuuko is, simply put, kawaii-nuts. Her early phone call to Sorata was funny, and her gushing about Mashiro was hilarious (didn’t she used to dislike her??), but best of all was how she freaks out just like Sorata does. I guess they really are related, huh?
Then she went somewhere I did not expect. She gave Sorata homemade chocolate (I will never get homemade chocolate from a girl with Ogura Yui’s voice. FML!)…and then asked him who he was going to pick between Mashiro and Nanami. Wait, what? Me thinks she isn’t as much of a brocon as we suspected. She’s still a pretty big one though, heh.
Next week will be the Valentine’s Day episode, which is contractually obligated by anime romance law to be a doozie. Combined with Nanami’s audition, it should be the whammy I thought this week would be. Don’t be indifferent, Sorata.
Also, is that some Rita in the preview? The dialogue didn’t sound encouraging, but I hope we see more of her next time. Go get yourself a Dragon, Rita!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Sorata’s presentation is a huge success, woo! Meanwhile, Nanami & Mashiro are keyed into love while Yuuko stirs things up #sakurasou
- Awww, Hauhau and Souichirou-kun are finally going out! Such an adorable couple.
- Everyone, do not freak out. Yes, when Nanami came home, she and Sorata totally sounded like husband and wife…with Sorata in the “stereotypical” wife’s role. That’s totally fine! It’s 2013 people. Men who can cook and clean are hot. Or so I hope. Otherwise Stilts-oniichan is totally screwed, Orz
- Using a dryer to “dry her”? Go die, Sorata. That pun was terrible…and I loved it!
- This wasn’t the whammy episode that every fourth episode has traditionally been, but it was enjoyable, and it’s definitely building to something for next time. That does lead me back to my old concern – time. There’s no way there will be enough time to adapt all the current novels (eight), much less the forthcoming ones (two more, for a total of ten). How are they going to give us closure? I think soon, we’ll start seeing the anime take a different path – if we aren’t seeing it already. J.C. Staff has exceeded expectations so far, so I’ll keep my faith…and yet I remember Toradora’s ending, so I’ll worry as well. Don’t let me down now, guys. Finish strong!