「恋を強いる檻」 (Koi o Shiiru Ori)
“A Prison to Compel Love”
For once the preview does not lie: government girl definitely has the best tits this side of Misaki. Just look at that frame, those playful eyes, the hint of bashfulness. Plus big breasted best girl also offers a great personification of this week’s shenanigans where we not only learn of the birds and bees, but also receive a physical demonstration. It’s been mentioned before, but when KtU decides to hit the gas, it hits it hard.
Normally I would invoke shades of Brave New World after seeing KtU’s form of marriage “training”, but what we got this week, as with the general marriage system itself, fell into an interesting grey area. Not so subtle hints about doing it for babies and seemingly forcing unprepared teens into sexual relations (with rumoured consequences for failure to boot) are coupled with a voluntary sign up and some surprisingly realistic advice. Having sex for enjoyment, encouraging positive bodily exploration with one who loves you equally in return? Not often such ideas are openly emphasized in real life, let alone anime. The coercive elements keep remaining under wraps or bound to peer pressure, giving the entire marriage system an eerie degree of possibility that still surprises me. This is why I doubt the talk of secretive cameras and punishing kids for not sleeping together are anything more than urban tales, it wouldn’t mesh with what we’ve seen before (not to mention the “just kidding” line from best girl’s partner). No, if there’s underhandedness here it comes from the newly named Shuu and her involvement with the bureaucratic nitty gritty. Too early to jump to conclusions of course, but if she’s not involved with that corrupted text and Neji’s matchmaking (and is entirely unrelated to the Mr. White Hair), I’ll be shocked.
The real development here was Ririna though as her feelings start emerging. I’ve been harping on it like mad, but yes, this is entirely expected and fits with the general story, even her emphatic denial. The poor girl is crushing, but doesn’t want to accept it because that means going against Misaki and hurting Neji. It’s denial for a purpose, but Ririna is quickly running out of time to live the lie. Obviously cutie pie and beta boy won’t sleep together—that means Ririna wins immediately, cannot have that—but what happens in that room is still important. If Ririna keeps Neji at arms-length it only encourages him to continue pursuing Misaki—to his detriment socially—while opening up to Neji and accepting they have “something” means cutting off Misaki and ending that “perfect” romance. Neji too must come to a decision himself considering his realization that Ririna
does indeed look best with her hair down is a legitimate match. Choose Ririna and lose the girl head over heels for him, or pick Misaki and suffer the wrath of society. Ironically forcing both kids together into a room for a night is probably the best way of resolving the issue. One way or another a decision will be made next week, and both Neji and Ririna will have decided upon their intended winner/loser in this battle of hearts.
Somehow I think it makes that cliffhanger just a little less annoying.