「オレのトモダチ」 (Ore no Tomodachi)

“My Friend”

The relationship between Suna’s screen-time and Ore Monogatari’s effectiveness is not coincidental.

This was one of the best episodes of Ore Monogatari, I’d say, and neither that or the fact that the B-part was much the stronger half is down to chance. It’s not so much that Suna is the most interesting member of the cast (though I certainly think he is) but that his involvement takes the series into directions that are just more interesting and emotionally complex. As good a romance series as this is, at heart – and I’ve said this from the very first episode – I think it’s more of a friendship story.

It seems Kawahara-sensei is playing with expectations in some subtly interesting ways here. Where Suna’s character might normally be the straightforward and predictable one and the awkward and misunderstood Takeo the inscrutable and somewhat dark one, the roles are clearly reversed. Takeo is indeed misunderstood (though almost exclusively by females), but he’s an emotional bulldozer. He plows straight ahead, undaunted, and seems constitutionally incapable of taking offense at any slight directed at him (though not at those he cares about). He’s wholly admirable and funny, but rarely surprising. Suna is a still pond that runs deep – he never reveals all of himself, while Takeo rarely hides any bit of himself (and certainly not in his new work uniform). They’re a contrast in a way great fictional friends often are, but the photo-negative of what we usually see in anime (and shoujo).

For a while here, it looks as if we’re going to get a pretty conventional lovey-dovey episode akin to last week’s. Takeo discovers (by asking directly, of course) that Rinko’s birthday is only 10 days off (June 15th). These two are so blissfully in love and Rinko so guileless that when she says all she wants is for Takeo to spend the day with her, we know she really means it. But Takeo knows enough to put himself in Suna’s hands here, and it pays off. Suna – as usual – goes above and beyond the call of duty in making things right. He gently steers Takeo away from the stuff that just won’t work (like his boot camp itinerary), suggests stuff that will, and lets his friend know that no matter what Yamato said, he needs to buy her a present (he even has some good ideas for what, based on the fact that he’s always observing).

I’ll be honest – I really love characters like Suna, who never miss an important fact about those they love, but never call attention to themselves. Suna knows a lot more about Takeo than Takeo does about him, but it’s not Takeo’s fault – that’s just how he is – and it doesn’t reflect a lack of concern about Suna on his part. So when Takeo senses that something is off with Suna, you know there must be a good reason. Suna, as ever, would just as soon keep himself to himself, and Takeo respects his desire not to share. But even as he loses himself in preparing for Rinko’s birthday, he never totally loses his nagging concern that something is up.

When I say Suna’s involvement takes Ore Monogatari in more interesting directions, this is exactly what I mean. Takeo’s giddy courtship with Rinko is sweet and fun, but he’s really more interesting as Suna’s friend that Rinko’s boyfriend. There’s some intriguing new stuff with his mom, too – she’s pregnant (it’s OK, though – she’s 40, but she “has the body of a 22 year-old”). And Takeo gets a part-time job to help pay for Rinko’s birthday rather than borrowing from Suna – at a “macho cafe“, where’s he’s paraded around in short-shorts and a tank top in front of an (almost-entirely male) admiring clientele. Japan is the mecca of theme-cafes, of course, and there’s one for every fetish – but it does seem a little skeevy (this is the second time the show has ventured into uncomfortable comedy) for a 16 year-old to be put into that kind of work environment, irrespective of the gender of either the 16 year-old or the patrons.

This is all building up to the revelation – courtesy Takeo’s mother – that Suna’s father is in the hospital. Naturally Suna hasn’t said a word, but neither has Yuriko-san – both of them protecting Takeo-kun. And on top of that Suna is alone, his mother and sister traveling abroad. The issue is a heart condition, which almost claimed Sunakawa-san once already (again, Suna never told Takeo), for which surgery is scheduled June 15th. What’s important here is the way each of the boys reacts to this all being out in the open. Takeo declares that he’ll put off celebrating Rinko’s birthday to be with Suna at the hospital, and Suna shows anger for the first time in the series in insisting that Takeo do no such thing. If he does, Suna says, that will only make him feel worse.

The reason this is such a great friendship is that we know, indisputably, that both of them are being completely genuine here. As deeply bedazzled as Takeo is, he’d absolutely set that aside to be with Suna. And Suna would absolutely hate it if he did. This is developing into one of the great bromances in modern anime, no doubt about it – both of these guys just care for each other, emotionally and practically. It’s no slight to Rinko, but this is quite simply the central relationship in Ore Monogatari – just like the looks and personalities of the two male leads, superficial appearances are deceiving. Good romances are pretty uncommon in anime, no doubt, but friendships this profound are winged unicorns. And it’s that element that makes this series really stand out as something special.



  1. Sunakawa can easily be rank the best male anime character when it comes to being a friend. He can easily rank a “cooler” version of Sasuke since he isn’t “cold hearted” when he turns down girls. I have to agree with his choice of girls where I wouldn’t want to date a girl, that badmouths others especially my good honest freind, as they would be “impure” in many ways.

    1. I agree and this is also my favourite episode so far. I do enjoy characters like Suna who have a lot more depth. Don’t get me wrong, I like Takeo and Yamato, because they are really nice people, but I think it’s more fun watching the bromantic side of things.

  2. IT’ll be interesting to see how the date plays out, whether she’ll learn
    that Suna’s dad is hospitalized and that (indirectly) she’s the reason he
    can’t be with his friend.

    Of course in RL, a medical thing like this would absolutely take priority
    over a birthday celebration and I think it’s true in any culture. How could
    Takeo enjoy himself or be dedicated to Rinko on her birthday when he’ll
    be worried about his friend and his dad. He’ll be unfaithful to Rinko and
    he’ll be unfaithful to Suna.

    So I gotta wonder if the writers have considered this and will include it
    in the next episode.

  3. Well, if the Show want some serious undertone then i have 2 Scenarios for you

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    So both persons here, still has room for growing. Until now we see an Present Takeo, minimal flashback of his youthful time with Suna and his Sister. There are plenty of room for “world building” if the Mangaka want to stretch out their Life

    I am looking forward to next Episode, the Dating

  4. you know what, i made some deeper thoughts about Suna behavior

    Looks like Takeo is for him somethink alike this:
    No not Love in Gayness. No, Takeo is the light in his Dark and gloomy World. His Dad always on the brink of dying, perhaps his mother could not take it anymore and got divorced. And when he meats Takeo for the first time, he was already in the Dark world. So Takeo is the first one, that made him forgot all about that for a second, and he laugh for the first time

    So Takeo is an Light anchor for the Dark gloomy World where Suna would or is living. And Girls making fun of his “Guardian Angel” (remember Angel’s are not always Sexy females) is not welcome into his world. So Suna want to make his best Friend Takeo happy, as of something of share the Joy he bring into his (Suna’s) life with Takeo

    Yes, if you want and take here and there all the little hints and Aura, you can also see this conclusion.

    Please, remember this is my conclusion, not spoiling. Well you could also say, Fan fiction or speculation.

    Bro to the roots, where even Love for a Girl do not chance that (well the Girl also do not mind)

    1. Didn’t they subtly hint that in the classroom scene? Kinda dark and shadowy with the other classmates being transparent as if Suna just sees right through them. Then Takeo shows up and everything became much brighter.

  5. Ep 09:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    9/10 for the Bro Feelings

    1. argh crap forgotten again…

      Show Spoiler ▼


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