「今そこにある危機」 (Ima soko ni aru kiki)
“Clear and Present Danger”
I must admit it’s pretty nice of MnR to support my blogging decision this season. Just when I think I’ve made a grave mistake covering four shows, here comes this episode to relieve all that uncertainty. The reason for this of course lies in the material, where Masamune—after making great strides in the seduce Aki plan previously—is now faced with the challenge of sealing the deal. You’ve got the girl’s attention and she’s obviously attracted, so what happens next? For Masamune that is the conundrum.
Watching Masamune flounder around the question was hilarious, particularly because his central premise—building intimacy and rapport—was correct. Aki is crushing hard on him, only makes sense solidifying that infatuation through a reciprocal show of affection. Masamune’s big problem was the timing of that affection. As Masamune learned the hard way, cheesy romantic lines and declarations of overbearing love–particularly those sourced from manga–are best reserved for intimate moments, not randomly chucked out on a moment’s whim. Messing the timing up only serves to crank up the creepy meter, especially for girls like Aki.
Thankfully for our Casanova, however, Yoshino saved the day. I’m really thinking Masamune named her right with the Master title, because Yoshino once again provides factual advice. Her pullback encouragement is a form of hot-cold/push-pull in the pickup world, where pulling back your attention is meant to catalyze an outpouring of interest by the girl. It’s designed to shock the girl into showing interest for you by inducing a fear of losing your attention. Naturally this only works if the girl is already interested (and usually playing hard to get), but Aki’s romantic fall is obvious to all but her so the gambit pays off in spades. Kind of funny how those cheesy lines work when organically spoken in the heat of the moment isn’t it?
What really gets me though is Aki herself. Her growth out of the tsundere state into something more “natural” is surprisingly interesting, particularly given her reactions to Masamune’s seduction fit her personality so well. Being all tsun on the surface she cannot admit her infatuation, so naturally doubles down on the tartness and lashes out—half-heartedly—from frustration at her own emotions. The poor girl has fallen hard for Masamune, but is only now realizing it, with a little help from Yoshino of course. For such an initially repulsive character, Aki has certainly turned into someone capable of being cheered on. After all she lacks any romantic experience, eliminating suspension of disbelief, and her fear of pain provides a reasonable explanation for her attitude. That tsundere personality could easily be a defense mechanism for example, as evidenced by the quick rejection of
Yoshino’s Masamune’s letter and Aki’s repeated denial of infatuation. There’s something serious missing from Masamune’s known history with Aki, and that thing will likely throw the whole revenge plan into question.
While that thing may be unknown, at least we know where this story is going next. With a new girl entering the arena it’s clearly love triangle time, and the first serious test for Masamune’s seductive skills. No idea how our Casanova will get out of this one, but I’m definitely looking forward to the results.