「一年の計はカウントダウンにあり/据えチョコ食わぬは女の恥」 (Ichinen’nokei wa kauntodaun ni ari/Sue choko kuwanu wa on’na no haji)
“The Countdown is the Time To Plan Your Year Around/Shameful is She Who Spurns Chocolate”
A double whammy of New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day is a welcome sight. But it seems that once Hina Loji realised that it wouldn’t be able to achieve anything significant with the few episodes left, we’ve gone into full on yuri pandering.
New Year’s Eve
As with all cycles, the year ends, and the start of a new one is ushered in. We catch a glimpse of all the characters (Yayoi, Mahiro, Yuko, Teachers, Principal,) spending quality time with their nearest and dearest, but the focus is undeniably on the two individuals who stayed behind at the ALCA dormitory. Lion is such a sweet girl, sticking around to make sure that Nina wouldn’t spend New Year’s Eve alone. While I’m sure Nina would have done fine being home alone, even exhibiting some minor irritation at not being able to have some time to herself, I’m sure she ended up having a much better New Year.
I quite wanted to see the alleged Christmas KFC tradition particular to Japan, but the other foods worked out fine. Lion and Nina spent some quality time together (which is what truly matters), sharing a sumptuous meal of crab hot pot, before moving onto the traditional New Year’s soba. All of it looked so good, and I was reminded of how much I missed the food in Japan.
Though I made it clear that I’m not a particularly big fan of yuri, I don’t understand why the kiss didn’t get directly shown. If a commitment has already been made to teasing really hard, I’d prefer to see it go the whole way rather than receiving half-hearted treatment. Now we’re just stuck with the worst of two worlds, with the girl on girl enthusiasts out there probably feeling less satisfied as well.
I didn’t think this episode could get any more yuri-sexual. Then they time skipped straight to Valentine’s Day, with everyone making chocolate muffins for each other. To further complicate matters, Nina shoots one of Amor’s arrows to protect Lion from a malfunctioning oven, unintentionally infusing temporary powers of cupid into the baked treats. Any person who consumes the chocolate muffins are overcome by strong feelings of lust towards the first person they see – cue Nina and Mahiro making highly aggressive advances onto Lion and Yayoi respectively. Maybe it was cute and funny for the first few seconds, but then the novelty wore off pretty fast, and I was left with a big fat scowl on my face. While most of this episode seemed like some cheap ploy geared towards getting the blurays to sell like hotcakes, to each their own, I’m quite certain that I’m in the minority of people who do not enjoy yuri. Plus putting aside personal bias, I can’t really fault Dogakobo’s heartwarming execution of the idea either.
Now there’s only two episodes left, I’ve consigned myself to a lukewarm finish. Can’t say it was unexpected for the series to go for an uneventful conclusion, but I’m slightly disappointed, considering I was always holding out for the hope of more. That said, the series has pretty much accomplished what it set out to do – being a load of silly fun with cute girls doing cute things. Packing up shop and winding down is probably the more sensible choice, as opposed to the high risk high reward of attempting to go an extra mile with merely three episodes left.