「残念王と笑えない話」 (Zannen Ou to Waraenai Hanashi)
“The Unlucky King And the Serious Story”
Can you imagine how different college/school life would be if the punishment for plagiarism was a one-on-one battle with Rika in full blown Yakuza mode?
Up until this point, there’s been a character specific episode for everyone except Rika! And sure she may have taken the liberty to make a bunch of small changes to herself throughout the season but I think this week’s episode finally took the dive to really flesh out her character and in turn push the show toward a very interesting climax.
Starting with the first point, I’m honestly surprised just how important of a character Rika has become. Looking back at her introduction during season one as the genius student who was too smart to interact with others, she’s come quite far. Besides becoming super cute after dropping her fake glasses, something about her deceptively cynical personality that’s become more prominent manages fills in the “normal” person gap that’s missing in the Neighbors Club. Essentially she’s like the anchor that not only maintains and subdues some of the ridiculous personality flaws in the club but also lets them float up and reach amazing (or hilarious) places. Which in itself isn’t a huge role, but something much larger than what I expected originally! But by the end of the episode, it became apparent just how large of a role she’s meant to play — the person who may liberate the club and actually push them toward actually making friends!
And by that, I mean the heated conversation between her and Kodaka right before the episode came to a close. Because up until point, I don’t think anyone has taken the initiative to really go out there and accept the idea that the members of the Neighbors Club are actually friends with one another. In which case you have to give Rika a big hand for noticing all of Kodaka’s insecurities and bluntly pushing him to move on.
With two more episodes left, I think the we’re in an amazing position. With all the major misconceptions cleared up and the topic of friendship shining in the spotlight, I’m really hoping that the story continues to build off of this week’s momentum to create a finale fitting of a show like Haganai.
P.S. I feel somewhat entitled to say that I feel completely vindicated about giving Kodaka the benefit of the doubt that he may not be the dense idiot who can’t realize other people’s feelings. If anything, he may be one of the most perceptive male leads ever created! At least, perceptive to the point where he’s able to clearly see the situation and attempt to lie to himself to avoid facing his fears of forming bonds with others.