「デモスキナンダ」 (Demo Suki Nanda)
“But I Like You”

After what Ryouma did last episode to precious Izumi, it is critical that our star redeem himself as quickly and as best he can, lest he trap himself in a character type of eternally creepy. Does he manage to do it? Let me give my two cents.

Going into this episode, I had my doubts about Ryouma’s success. At least from my perspective, there is a troubling set of conflicting standards–I can forgive a murderer if the death was justified, a thief for their unfortunate social circumstances, but for a molester (or any degree above), the story is different. It seems that their actions can only come from their selfishness–a trait not easily forgiven. I know this is a pretty heavy topic and we can argue about how stupid those standards are, but I hope it provides some context to the following discussion.

A key part in Ryouma’s partial success today came from his eager admittance of his crimes. Authenticity is semantically arguable, but at least Ryouma has a conscience to be upfront. In some series, the after-scenes merely brush the scene away (I’m looking at you Tonari) or there is still some blaming of circumstances other than the self (where forbid they blame the victim for being too appealing). For Ryouma to plead for forgiveness is a great first step. It’s a painful and somewhat pathetic one, considering his current position and his characterization, his actions make sense in context. Anything more efficient or perfect may have felt like pulling resolutions out of a hat.

It is this sort of flawed apologizing that perhaps makes forgiving Ryouma harder to do, despite how essential it is to the plot. Without the key insight of Izumi’s inners struggles and outward interests, all Ryouma can really do is hope for Izumi to give him a second chance–something we all know isn’t given easily, if at all. It’s a sad sight really and perhaps some may think he doesn’t deserve forgiveness for his transgressions–selfishness is not easily remedied by materialism. However, perhaps that is the strength of today’s episode–we aren’t supposed to be completely convinced. In fact, we’re perhaps supposed to feel the same way as Izumi–apprehensive, distant, yet curious and pitying.

Moreso than Ryouma’s dogeza, I really appreciated Izumi’s reaction to the entire situation. Instead of completely shutting out Ryouma, his desire to give him an ear is a shaky decision, yet a merciful one at the same time. While it is in Izumi’s character to be fairly defenseless and easily manipulated, he’s not completely spineless. The plausibility of Izumi’s situation was strengthened by the break in his surface character–nobody is going to be completely comfortable around someone who just violated their personal space. It would’ve been tragic if Izumi had thoughts about secretly liking it and wanting more, but we get the complete opposite–Izumi is in complete fear that he’s actually a BL character and really is weirded out and uncomfortable with Ryouma’s actions.

It helps that Izumi expresses emotional disconneections towards Ryouma’s gifts as well–we see a definite contrast between Shougo’s thoughtful Lala Lulu gifts (despite their usage as manipulative leverage) and Ryouma’s lavish, yet un-personal gifts of new clothes and a hairstyle. Isn’t it funny that those gifts seemed to benefit Ryouma’s attraction to Izumi than mend any broken bridges? It’s very indicative of the growth we have yet to see between these two, especially for Ryouma and his understanding of Izumi. Izumi himself on the other hand, has to deal with his conflicting guilt, which though absolutely illogical, is not an uncommon trait for people in his position. “Was it something I did wrong?” lingers in the back of people’s mind, even if they firmly know it wasn’t their fault. Surely we should see more of this flipped dynamic of Izumi holding authority over Ryouma, as Ryouma tiptoes around a fragile peace that he’s formed with the boy he loves.

Going forward, I sure hope we don’t have to deal with such forceful scenes ever again. The preview shows that there is more of Ryouma invading Izumi’s territory, but alas, nobody is perfect. Overall, this episode was a great one in setting the new stage for Izumi and Ryouma to move past new roadblocks, including some foreshadowing of paparazzi drama that is yet to come. For those of you still with us, I hope that we can have an enjoyable time picking apart this show for the great and not so great that it is.

Full-length images: 2, 20.

 

Preview

End Card

13 Comments

  1. I really like this episode and your insight into the character’s reactions. I think this has handled a common trope as well as any BL anime/manga that I’ve ever seen and it’s really refreshing to see a different spin on this. As someone who reads BL manga pretty frequently, I remember regretting a bit at this part that this is more of a flippant romantic comedy/commentary of the genre. If it makes any sense, I really like the way the writer balanced the comedic value with the more serious repercussions of Ryouma’s actions and I wish I could see that explored in better detail in more manga with more serious themes.

    But then again, the reason I love this series so much is exactly that delicate balance. I look forward to seeing more of Ryouma’s ever awkward and desperate attempts to win back Izumi’s good graces.

    Ralicht
  2. I was actually thinking of dropping this series after episode 3, but this episode handled the aftermath much better than I expected. I thought it addressed both the offender and the victim’s emotions rather realistically. Izumi is still very wary of Ryouma (most shoujo heroines too quickly forgive their offenders and end up letting down their guards/opening up their hearts).

    I also applaud the fact that Izumi hasn’t fallen in love with Ryouma yet (and with good reason, Ryouma molested him and I think Izumi so far is still straight). I’m really liking how these past 4 episodes have built up the characters.

    Yukie
    1. I was willing to give this episode one, only one, chance after episode 3. I did. Yes he admitted he did wrong, wow. But then he shamed(or made it awkward to not listen to someone shaming themselves while everyone watched on – a completely selfish action) the main character in a public place essentially forcing him to listen to him apologize. After gaining a toe-hold he then presumes to make the main character look cute so that he can confess. It’s at least partially the protagonist’s fault for letting him, but let’s face it… He’s not very confident in social situations. At least until the end of the show where he says don’t email him. No, all of the ‘evil one’ as I will forever now call hime, all of his actions were selfish, done to further his own well being. And while the brother may have the best of intentions, and he said I won’t let you see my brother alone, he was too quick to let the ‘evil one’ chase/hunt down his little brother. It doesn’t matter to me that he had a huge crowd of fans going at him. What is really important? He should have run quicker than the ‘evil one’. So, yeah, I’m an unforgiving person. Past shows have shown me this. If it comes down to forgiveness or a blade as to what I will offer someone who has wronged me… I’ll choose the blade and feel no guilt about it. Or not enough to bother me when I eat. I gave it another episode but, show dropped. (Sorry – had to vent)

      igniteous
  3. Well played, Love Stage. Izumi is probably one of those people who does give others the benefit of doubt, even if he was the one who was wronged. I really hope people continue watching this show.
    I wonder if Enzo can be convinced to watch episode 4 at least?

    Dotachin-san

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