「俺のジンクス」 (Ore no Jinkusu)

“My Jinx”

Ore Monogatari has a remarkable ability to make the strangest things emotionally resonant.

Here’s a serious question: if the main pairing in a romantic comedy is the weakest part of the series, is that a weakness or a strength?

In a vacuum, I suppose I would reluctantly have to answer the above question with “not enough information”. But when I apply it specifically to Ore Monogatari, I think it’s a little of both. After all, the main reason that paradigm exists here is that the other themes and characters are so very good, not that the main couple is remotely bad. But the truth is no matter how good the side dishes are, if they overshadow the main course, I do think that represents at the very least an imperfection for a chef.

I loved this episode (no new OP or ED, by the way) – I’d rank it among the top three or four of the series – and I think it really shows off that dynamic in play. There’s an element of this in what Oda said to Ai-san after Rinko presented her with a coffee chiffon cake – like her, the cake was special because it was a little bitter, but has an inner sweetness to it. I love sweets, but a contrast of tastes is always more interesting than a singular one. And something mysterious is innately more interesting than something we already understand completely. Ai is bittersweet, and so is her story – Makoto is mysterious, and so is hisstory. Takeo and Rinko are sweet and good, but there are only so many ways to show that two inexperienced young people are in-love with each other.

“Bittersweet” would be a perfect way to describe this episode, and why it was so good. There’s just something innately sad about Ai-san. Yes, her infatuation with Takeo is odd and a little pathetic in a way – but that just makes it sadder, because it’s clearly genuine. And Oda being willing to go to such lengths to push her to move on (one can argue whether his motives are partially or totally self-driven) when Ai has never given him a crumb of evidence that she’s interested is pretty sad, too. Both of them are in love with someone based on a very simple act of consideration – one clearly given with no romantic inclination behind it. They’re both in love with someone simply because that person was decent towards them, and acts of kindness given freely are rarer than they should be.

Yet while there’s more than an undercurrent of sadness to Ai and Oda’s story, this episode would also be thoroughly enjoyable simply for the comedy. The whimsical and just a little snarky take on Disneyland is a secondary track running through the episode (like Suna’s slit-eyed disapproval), and watching Takeo try to literally fit in provides many moments of hilarity (especially the scene where he and Ai share a ride in the teacups).

Oda doesn’t miss a beat – he’s even surreptitiously sabotaged Takeo’s cellphone to make isolating him easier – but this ep is really all about Takeo and Ai. The moment when she asks him if he remembers telling her she reminded him of a flower is pretty heartbreaking, because he doesn’t – the defining moment of Ai’s childhood isn’t even one Takeo remembers. Yet, almost in the same moment, Takeo finds the same flower and again tells her she reminds him of it. This is a pretty deep thing, actually, because it really show how true and unchanging Takeo is – and that’s both why Ai loves him, and why her love is forever fruitless. He’s still a child, and in their relationship he always will be. What Ai loves about Takeo is the reason they can never be a couple.

It’s pretty sad and heavy stuff, really. And if I’m honest, much more emotionally powerful than the declarations of love between Rinko and Takeo. Oda’s role here is definitely as a facilitator, and he plays it well – in his way, he’s forced Ai to move on from Takeo at least a little (though not entirely, as her reaction when he recounts – in a hilarious Namikawa Daisuke impression of Eguchi Takuya’s Takeo voice – an episode from their shared childhood). Takeo and Rinko’s love survives another test, but as always, Ai’s painful longing and Makoto’s Sphinx-like emotional reclusion are the real headlines of Ore Monogatari.



  1. Again an Episode Sweet as cake. Well there was enough time for our love pair, to make it sweet again. Alone the “finding” in the end

    p.s. i just wanted to give this posting some comment. it was so alone with 0 comments… 🙂

  2. My fav. ep so far.

    I loved how Suna’s comment on how relationships usually don’t work out became an echoing theme in this ep, and the way each character came to some kind of conclusion on their own relationships…Takeo and Rinko realize that what they have is a special and cherishable relationship in their reunion, Ai realizes that she likes her current relationship w/ Takeo too much (perhaps more than becoming his gf? it’s complicated), and Oda comes to the conclusion that he won’t passively wait for Ai.

  3. Ai is such a great character, being mature enough to keep her feelings to herself to prevent things from being complicated, and realizing what she loves about Takeo. In another timeline, I would of been happy to see her pair up with Takeo. I also like Oda and the fact that he is very direct about what he wants, he doesn’t try to beat around the bush or lie about his feelings, which is refreshing. I know this isn’t a show for drama, but it can be suprisingly deep in it’s messages about love relationships, which is a nice twist to all the cutesy moments between Takeo and Yamato.

  4. I don’t find the main pairing a weakness at all. I still have things that I’d like to see from both of them, and their slow plodding pace isn’t a weakness. In this episode, I think I’ve seen the two of them grow a bit (the reunion scene before the parade was tear-producing.) I’d also note that I approve of the writer’s ability to provide dramatic tension without disrupting the main relationship. Far too often, it seems that writers need to have the ‘rival’ or the ‘misunderstanding’ invade the main pairing. This writer realized that we can appreciate the possible second pairing, which is what I was fighting for the entire episode, so I feel this episode was truly top notch. The problem is that Suna’s mysteriousness will soon look like ‘lack of development’. There only so far that being aloof (or a 5th wheel in this episode) can get you. Suna’s character needs a surprise development, otherwise he’ll fade into the background.


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