「突撃！お宅訪問戦」 (Totsugeki! Otaku houmon-sen)
“Attack! Battle of the Home Visits”
Of the many ways to cockblock a kiss, I dare say this episode offered one of the better ones. We all knew Aki and Masamune would fail in locking lips, and as expected the inevitable happened. At least ridiculous pull your hair out aggravation was avoided by having Aki hilariously do the rejecting, amidst a Masamune-fuelled fantasy of the cruel princess going ham.
Part of MnR’s charm for me is how straightforward these “staple” scenes are, the resulting drama is hardly ever forced and the character reactions logically follow their set personalities. Aki here for example probably anticipated Masamune awkwardly turning away, so when he abruptly seized the moment—literally—she was left dumbfounded, unable to respond with something besides an Aki-patented shutdown. Likewise Masamune is adrift in love’s sea, he’s penetrated so far into Aki’s head that he has no idea how to even proceed. The manga knowledge and his foolproof plan of attack has run its course, and now he’s left improvising for developments he never anticipated occurring. In a sense it’s a reversion to the harem mean where the male self-insert has no idea what’s going on, but for me Masamune still breaks the mold with his actions. Instead of stubborn, pigheaded ignorance, Masamune’s main problem is he tries too hard, he grasps for any string of knowledge which could help him (ex. Neko’s devious response to his questioning), but fails understanding the conditions and circumstances surrounding such things. Masamune got where he has through spontaneity and organic flirtation, not excessive planning and overthought. Hell his musing on needing unreasonable audaciousness is what ultimately killed that kiss with Aki. Yoshino is starting to see this problem too, and it’s only when Masamune finally recognizes his faulty logic when he’ll finally seal the deal with the cruel princess.
The looming problem for Masamune, however, resides in Neko where she grows increasingly more foreboding by the day episode. It should be obvious that Neko knows Masamune from his past—whether that be loli mom’s nostalgic memories or Neko’s stalking of Masamune’s home address—but just what that is remains anyone’s guess. Personally I doubt Neko was just like Masamune as some believe (i.e. a total fatty), but it’s clear she has some form of traumatic past with Masamune which likely revolves around bodily health. Hard to explain that obsessive pill popping any other way. Although it’s also not surprising Yoshino knows the threat Neko poses to the whole Akin revenge scheme, it will probably be interesting seeing just how big a wrench Neko ends up throwing into the plan. After all, this girl has the skill of a crazed stalker in finding damaging evidence, and her infatuation with Masamune won’t likely be dissuaded by another blunt rejection. Nope, there’s an ulterior motive at play here, and Neko isn’t going to let her cards slip before the time is right. Considering how often Masamune seems to be placing foot into mouth around Aki now though, we shouldn’t have long to wait for such a moment.