「疑惑の新学期」 (Giwaku no shin gakki)
“The New School Term Filled With Doubts”
When we all look back on MnR at season’s end, this episode without a doubt will be the one which made or broke the show. Up until this point MnR was proceeding well, we had a logical procession from initial meeting to building of rapport and personal discovery which normally would have ended with the true confessions and final revelations. The show had all the components necessary for this path, and could have even ended with the fallout of Masamune’s big reveal and vengeful rejection if drama was desired. Instead we got ourselves a fake Masamune.
My main problem with Gasou’s introduction as touched on above is his apparent superfluity. There is no need for this character when the central premise—Masamune’s revenge—already possesses a logical conclusion. Aki and Masamune were already gearing up for the big reveal, Aki in admitting her interest in Masamune—at least to herself—and Masamune in sticking with his plan. The upcoming battle of the plays for example could easily have served to naturally finish MnR’s main plot, all without needing Gasou.
Given Gasou is not technically required then, why is he here? So far I’d argue Gasou functions less a rival/character than a roadblock, a blatant means to drag MnR’s story out and generate further drama. The guy after all is largely Masamune in all ways barring the chub, he’s smart, athletic, and friendly with damn near everyone. He also shows up just as Aki becomes vulnerable, and with an authentic marriage letter/signature to boot. This doesn’t even cover the character reactions, with only Yoshino seriously questioning his presence. Aki though showcases the problem the best. Up until now all guys were utterly annihilated by the cruel princess, and even Masamune with his skill took a couple of episodes to wear her down. While Gasou materialized just as Aki was reminiscing, explaining away her sudden meekness and shyness is still difficult, especially that 180 reversal in interest regarding Masamune. Given the speed and nature of Aki’s change here, the whole thing just feels deliberately forced to me. At least Neko’s ignorance towards Gasou has the excuse of the arranged marriage being kept quiet, barring a few proud yuri lovers.
Although I’m criticizing a lot here, part of me is withholding actual judgement until we receive some further information. We don’t know why Gasou is impersonating Masamune for starters, or why he showed up now of all times. Furthermore was last week’s revealed misunderstanding between Masamune and Aki and the missing memories—on Masamune’s part—regarding Aki’s supposed rejection all those years ago. For all I know Gasou could end up serving a more important role here than initially thought. Until we see just where MnR chooses to run with this, there’s little point in excessively fretting over the minutiae. Doing so after all would take away from watching Kojuurou reach
her his final form.
Character problems aside, Gasou demonstrates a useful piece of pickup knowledge: getting “in” with the group. Going for a girl can fail spectacularly if her friends dislike you, so getting friendly with them first can eliminate a large source of potential romantic trouble. If Masamune had done that originally for example, the yuri gaggle might have actually sided with him against Gasou.