「はじめてのケンカ」 (Hajimete no Kenka)
“My First Fight”
Not really, but this is the first time the anime original material has frustrated me on such a profound scale. This episode plays out so many of the tropes packed into your standard Misunderstandings 101 section of a romcom, where the couple is so terrible at communication, it causes a deep rift in their relationship until outside powers that be can mend their wounds. Junichi should know that he keeps misunderstanding Yame’s feelings when he automatically uses the opportunity to ask Yame about who Dai is to instead go on a rager about how she’s was just playing around with his feelings until Dai came along to whisk her away. He had two chances to clear the air on everything or at least clarify calmly why it made him feel upset that she started getting chummier with Dai, or why it looks that type of way when he keeps coming up to her to try and get them to hang out together. His complex about being an unpopular virgin does continue to follow him, but at this point, he should have been confident enough to at least be able to express his thoughts in a more diplomatic level with his girlfriend. It shouldn’t have taken every girl he’s made friends with chewing him apart to get him to get his crap together, and stop acting like a complete prat throughout the episode.
Yame’s not off the hook either because apparently, she felt like she never had to clarified anything. I’d think she would understand his complex by now about being an unpopular kid going out with a gyaru, but she spent so much of the episode being nonchalant around Dai while Junichi is left watching the two talk and enjoy their time with each other without him. She’s entirely oblivious on why Junichi feels this way or why he’s feeling upset about Dai butting into everything. She’s probably riding off the idea that he’d be mature enough to let her do her thing because she knows better than to jeopardize the great relationship she’s in, but a relationship is always going to have those skeptical growing pains, and she should’ve tried to reassure him more clearly. Instead, she plays the silent game with Junichi on the same day she’s going to meet with Dai. How does that not feel like a slap in the face? And Junichi sure felt it. The episode’s events are a good lesson for Junichi to place more trust in Yame, but it’s hard to gain that trust if she’s not being open about who this guy is, what he was doing, and why he keeps wanting to hang out with her.
What ruins this aesop too is that Dai is the human form of the Chris Brown song “Loyal”. It’s clear as crystal that the dude was sketchy, and trying to find any way he can to hang out with her. It came as no surprise that he is borderline obsessed with cuckholding anyone he comes across. They go out of their way for the guy to be the worst by making him that one guy from that one doujin you’ve read who passes someone’s girlfriend around to his friends. With Dai being the antithesis for this show’s main message of not judging a gyaru because of what stereotypes are associated to them, why is Junichi supposed to trust that Dai just wants to be regular ol’ friends with Yame? Do stereotypes exist for a reason if the homewrecking Host turned out to be a homewrecking Host? If Junichi should trust Yame more, and Yame’s intuition is to continue to hang out with this sketch ass dude because she’s oblivious to his motives, wouldn’t he have every right to distrust her? Or at least, distrust everyone she surrounds herself with? I guess it is the issue with trying to mind-read on both ends; Yame wanted Junichi to just know she only loves him, but Junichi wanted Yame to just know that it hurt him when she hung out with a some guy other than him. Sadly, because they’re both new to the relationship game, and don’t know how to handle one another when conflict arises, it all ended up dragging out this episode where our hunch against Dai is confirmed, and it ends up justifying Junichi’s skepticism; his only mistake was placing it in the wrong direction!
On a more positive note, the side characters really picked up the slack this time around. For all the misinformation and bad influence they give to Junichi, his friends really wanted to cheer him up and show him a good time while he was in a negative state of mind. The girls in Junichi’s new friend group also stepped up their game by chewing Junichi out for still judging Yame’s actions and playing the loser virgin card even after all this time with Yame. It took Yui’s throwdown and her Boa alias’ pep talk to help Junichi find some motivation to get his shit together, but it wasn’t until Ranko played the role of Junichi’s Life by screaming in his face and pulling him by the collar to get him to nut up. Even Nene had some advice to send his way. My only solace in this episode is the promise that maybe Junichi will knock Dai’s lights out and redeem himself by making up with Yame. The latter is guaranteed, but I can only hope the former will happen to give Junichi a chance to at least defend Yame’s honor in this final episode without stammering or awkwardly turning away. That, and to see this Utena villain reject get a facelift.