「夏合宿の会議で修羅場」 (Natsu Gasshuku no Kaigi de Shuraba)
“Summer Training Camp Meetings Are a Battlefield”
Although it’s a worthy effort for a harem anime to work towards a firm conclusion amidst a sea of conflicting feelings, it is rare to see such efforts amount to anything tangible. As a romantic comedy light novel adaption, it’s clear to us that this battlefield will not cease anytime soon. Saeko-san throws a wrench into that formula though, pulling off a no-bullshit attitude that gives off zero ambiguity. She knows what’s going on, sees what the audience clearly sees, and above all else, asks the question the audience asks every damn time:
Now tell me, which one of these girls do you really like?”
I’m abandoning the Hime ship–it’s all aboard the Saeko-san train!
(Semi) joking aside, it’ll be a pleasant next episode to see what good chaos Saeko can release upon the group. Today’s episode showed the standstill the group was stuck in–each girl manages to bring out a different flavor of caring from Eita, making him indecisive and causing every other girl to be annoyed at him and at one another. There exists possible internal growth for each girl overcoming their insecurities, especially for Masuzu and Chiwa, but the relationships they all shared with each other were cemented. Now that Saeko has pointed out the elephant in the room, how will the story progress? Like I said, no actual resolution will appear by nature of the genre and the progress of the manga, but what’ll be interesting is each character’s response to this plain yet sharp question.
Chiwa’s response is one of an ever-growing sadness, as she’s slowly losing many of her “advantages” to others. Previously, Chiwa could rely on the double-edged sword of being a close childhood friend–though hurtful due to being too familiar with Eita, the childhood friend usually knows best and has “first” claims. Now that Ai has taken the spot of being the first osananajimi and with Masuzu equipped with the knowledge of Eita’s dark past, Chiwa finds it hard to keep that smile on her face from cracking. I get her feelings of incompetence, of being unable to be fully open with Eita, of being constantly provoked by everyone else through karate chops and forced confessions. If she’s going to get ahead of the game, she’s got to stop hiding behind that smile and those casual compliments of hers and get serious and direct!
Meanwhile, Masuzu also is taking some blows to her confidence as everyone else traps Eita in love sickness. Having had her guise clearly seen through by Saeko, Masuzu probably will recognize how weak her position as a “girlfriend” to Eita has become. Other than in name, Masuzu is treated no differently by Eita than the rest, with Eita barely even putting up a guise when the two are “playing official”. Masuzu has a good advantage with her personality style and cool-headed forwardness, but she’s got to stop denying her feelings completely and approach them maturely and openly. At this rate, everyone else will open themselves up while she attempts to hold her anti-love stance, leaving her own feelings unresolved and well…her legitimacy as even a “fake” girlfriend ruined. I know it’d be pathetic to see her absolutely swoon for Eita, but a display of serious reflection with Eita to chime in may prove helpful in shaping an answer to Saeko’s provocation.
Ai and Hime can keep doing their business, since it looks like that the next few episodes will focus on a serious reflection from the two main heroines. With a confidence unshaken as of yet, Ai and Hime will continue to bring pressure to the other two as they re-examine how they need to win Eita, or at the very least resolve the tense feelings within themselves.