「泣かれるよりはいいだろ」 (Nakareru Yori wa Iidaro)
“It’s Better than Crying”
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this series is that everyone is honest with their feelings. Hinako doesn’t deny her feelings for Pin-sempai, nor does Yui for Yamashita Ken, nor does Charles for Teresa or Nyanko Big for Cherry. They don’t lie to themselves or in intimate conversations with a third party, that is; when it comes to the person in question, they’re not always so open. Naturally. It’s a scary thing for a high schooler (or college student) to admit that you like someone, especially when you know them well and it seems like you missed your “chance” (it’s always easier when you’re clear from the get-go that you want to date). Add to that list Yamashita Ken and his crush.
I appreciated how Yamashita Ken openly admitted to his crush while talking to Yui, either because he was ignorant of Yui’s feelings or because he respected her enough to not lie (or both). But I even more appreciated it when Yui admitted that she was not okay with just seeing him smile.
“I don’t want to be happy with just seeing him smile! I want to hold his hand if he’s with me! I want to talk to him! I want to do all sorts of things with him!”
It’s okay to be selfish like that. It’s okay to want more than the consolation prize. Of course, some times it’s also best to give up; some times it’s best if that’s that, with love and with searching for gold bracelets. If Cherry-chan continues to ignore Nyanko Big, maybe it’s best if he moves on (though I don’t pretend to impose human dating norms on cats). But I appreciate that Yui-chan isn’t going to be this waif that waits in the wings, content with the secondhand smile of her love. She’s still probably going to wait in the wings—I don’t expect her to go into a full-on assault, though I’d be ecstatic if she did—but I suspect she’ll do what we all do: try to show her good sides to her crush while looking for a good opportunity to leap. And if no opportunity presents itself by the time her feelings cool, she’ll move on. That’s the healthy thing to do. Far more healthy than “I’m happy with her smile,” at least.
I’m also beginning to really enjoy the ambiguity around Charles. Everything points to him having a crush on Teresa, but also being aware that she does not have a crush on him. It’s not that they have a bad relationship, he just seems cognizant of the fact that, though they’re engaged to be married, it’s an arranged thing, and she’s not gaga over him. Which is annoying because it makes him a lot more sympathetic! Can you imagine? You’ve “won,” you’re marrying the guy and/or girl you love, but he and/or she doesn’t feel the same way. How frustrating. But what really ties it all together is that he appears to be concerned for this, he’s not content just because he’s “won.” He wants her to really love him. Which, agh! Now we’re officially in a place where someone is going to lose out. That’s what good romance stories are made of, but it’s always bittersweet. I want everyone to be happy, but that ain’t life. The writers did a good job of making Charles sympathetic though, when the late-introduced pretty boy could have so easily been a sort of villain. Well played.
As for the rest of the episode, this series is making good use of its cat character. It’s an unusual play, reminiscent of something like Tamako Market, except Nyanko Big can’t talk. The best episodes really are Nyanko Big episodes. Though, speaking of talking: Charles’ ability to talk to cats was silly, and broke the established rules of the setting, but ended up not feeling too out of place by the end of the episode. In fact, it was only the unrealistically specific directions he got in the first encounter that seemed like he could really do it, while the rest could have been him just talking at a cat. I guess what I’m trying to say is, this ain’t some kind of fantasy/sci-fi type show, so cool it on that, Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai. You got away with it here, but don’t push your luck.
- Sunflower Express is definitely a Poirot (Agatha Cristie) reference, isn’t it? Poiron indeed, haha!
- Hinako, you really do have bad taste in men, though I appreciate how you’re trying to at least dress him better. Hopefully he’ll learn to outsource those decisions to someone with better taste. Which is anyone else, really.
- Nyanko Big, mo lik Nyanko Sail Big … Cat. Just click the link.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Forbidden Island, coast to coast.