「映画館Wデートで修羅場」 (Eigakan W Deeto de Shuraba)
“Movie Theater Double Dates are a Battlefield”
If Masuzu thought she had the childhood friend-type and the chuunibyou-type under control, then it looks like Fuyuumi Ai will make her think otherwise. As a 65% tsun and 35% dere character who heavily hints at her own claim of childhood friendship with Eita, Ai continues to be a thorn in Masuzu’s sides not only through interference with the club but also in diverting Eita’s attention away from Masuzu herself. Through the continued stumblings of our resident osananajimi tsundere and the valiant efforts of wingman Kaoru, the show does a fine job reinforcing the cast’s existing character traits while making almost everyone aware of Ai’s feelings.
But first, let’s talk about Eita, who suffered quite a bit this round. Though I felt envious for how Eita can easily block off Ai’s obvious advances, such emotions were overshadowed by pity thanks to some really “sad” middle school flashbacks. Though Eita may have anti-love on the brain for somewhat complex reasons, perhaps his line of thinking draws from his rejections. Even though Eita has been established as being secretly awkward, I felt so sorry for him when he smashed that blackboard, with that gaze of delusion. Despite his attempts to keep cool, our star student is actually a loose cannon in times of crisis. It only takes one unexpected event for his chuunibyou and pervert instincts to kick in, which has shown itself numerous times in the series so far. I still cringe every time his past resurfaces, but that’s what makes him stand out as a character: he is so awkward that it hurts. While he can throw a nice compliment that makes girls swoon, it is his failures to suppress his past that defines his character.
It’s a relief that Eita wasn’t the only person to be awkward this week. Even if Chiwa, Masuzu and Eita combined their embarrassing actions together this episode, it would not compare to the levels Ai achieved this week. She tries so hard yet fails–though Kaoru is probably cringing off-camera, it’s a miracle Eita has been fairly oblivious to her efforts. While Ai doesn’t suffer from the criticisms of having an excess of “tsun” since her character doesn’t come off as particularly harsh, her affections need some work getting past the web of lies she’s created. It’s obvious that she’s trying to untangle and escape her lies as best she can, but her efforts have achieved the opposite of her intentions. Everyone but Eita has at least a vague idea of what’s going on, a backfire that’ll bite Ai next episode.
This backfire though should set up a good scenario for us to see at the festival, where Ai will have her last chance to fix things up before her arc ends. Up to now, Kaoru has been the strongest wingman ever, but hints of the next episode indicate that Ai will have to survive some part of the festival alone. While I can smell the conclusion for this arc a mile away, I can imagine things won’t be going so smoothly for osanadere after she reveals the truth about their past. After the meta scenario where Ai let out her true feelings like a boss through the silver screen (which was actually more touching to watch than awkward), Masuzu must already be planning her next move for the festival in style. While she didn’t get the picture she wanted, even more potential blackmail is in her sights.
In general, with the introduction of Ai comes a much more complete cast of characters who can be awkward together. Although I still swivel in my seat when our group of “self made” clubmates perform unbearable-to-watch activities, the fact that they do it together makes it much less embarrassing and much more enjoyable to view. Hopefully the next few episodes will display their dynamic in an endearing way, where instead of antagonizing one another, they put aside their pursuit of Eita to stick up for one another. After all, what’s a rom com without outside interference (like Mana) to challenge the group and force them to get along?