「習字 / 衣替え / 英訳 / プール」 (Shuuji / Koromogae / Eiyaku / Pool)
“Calligraphy / Seasonal Change of Clothing / English Translation / Pool”
This second episode of Takagi-san sets the tone for what the next batch of episodes will be like, and it’s even sweeter than the last week. While a larger portion of the pranks last week teetered towards getting each other in trouble, the balance has been shifted this week towards all the shipteasing they can offer this early in the story.
The first segment on Calligraphy class was the first one so far that ended on a brighter note for everyone as Nishikata and Takagi’s tricks were innocuous enough for no one to get humiliated too deeply or in trouble. The dynamic between the two as a potential couple is strong in this segment as Nishikata’s calligraphy evolves from being about his usual attempt to embarrass Takagi to trying to shame Takagi into acting nicer to him to outright asking her not to tease him so much. Takagi does find Nishikata getting flustered to be too irresistible to give up on, and with her calligraphy telling him that she smudged ink on his cheek, there aren’t any signs of her giving that up. However, there is optimism in how Nishikata is seeing Takagi’s kind side in a favorable light, and their matching calligraphy to stay on-guard by the end of the chapter.
Similarly, the last segment, Pool, has that same level on innocence to it as Takagi’s ultimate scheme was both to trick Nishikata into saying something embarrassing and to give him company after his broken hand prevented him from being able to swim that day. Pool was funny in the sense of how much of a mind game it ended up becoming as Nishikata cycles through every misdirected thing he’s heard about girls who don’t swim on a particular day, wondering which one won’t come out as offensive.
At the same time, the build-up is immense as the scenarios become infinite in Nishikata’s mind while Takagi tries to egg him on by letting one of those conclusions blurt out from his mouth. And then, right when you think she’s putting on a poker face about having a period or body image insecurities, it’s neither of them, and she knows he was thinking those two ideas. As if she couldn’t Captain Aizen him any further, she wonders how Nishikata came under the impression that she even had any issues with swimming in the first place.
While it does owe itself to how dedicated she is to tricking him, what makes it cute is how she faked being unable to swim that day just so that she could entertain Nishikata while he was sitting on the sidelines. That possibility is made all the more realistic when Takagi tells him with honesty that she’s looking forward to swimming with him when he recovers. He sees it as another ruse, but there were no signs of smugness or any incentive to embarrass him by the time she left to jump in the pool. It was a good note to end the episode on because rather than aiming to burn Nishikata, the conclusion of the Pool chapter was an extended invitation to eventually be able to enjoy each other’s company when he’s healed up enough to swim.
The English Translation chapter was in a similar vein as the Funny Face segment in that it was about trying to get one another in trouble with the irate English teacher. They both share that distinction as well as ship-teasing that doesn’t go quite as above-and-beyond as the Calligraphy or Pool chapters with Takagi only giving Nishikata an ambiguous answer on whether her claim that she’s always thinking about him is true. At the same time, it does contribute to the overly cute mood within the episode as Nishikata is more outwardly towards his fondness of Takagi, and her pranks have a less sinister tone to them.
Thankfully, the Ashita no Doyoubi girls were really funny this time around. The premise of Sanae having a hard time synchronizing with the uniform changes that she was supposed to do with Mina and Yukari was some nice, relatable slice-of-life comedy. Sanae’s misunderstandings of why Mina and Yukari wanted to change together with their best friend and why she didn’t have to switch back to her long-sleeve uniform to stick with the theme after her two friends would’ve switched to their short-sleeve uniforms anyways to match Sanae was a humorous example of the comedic situations that can come fro miscommunication. It’s light and fluffy, but it’s still priceless to see the tug-of-war Sanae is put through, and Mina’s expressiveness helps add to the set-up and execution of the joke that they can’t quite synch up their uniform change correctly.