「本物、じゃないよな」 (Honmono, Janai yo na)
“It Isn’t the Real One”
Twisting the knife. That’s what this episode was all about. Low-level dread permeated the entire episode, because once Teresa got up the courage to ask Mitsuyoshi out on a date, in light of the determination we knew she had to go back and marry Charles/become the queen, we knew what was going to happen. She would leave suddenly, likely because she knows that her feelings for Mitsuyoshi just keep growing, and she needs to nip this in the bud before it gets out of control. It made the whole date bittersweet before the bitter struck, which is a neat trick if you can pull it off.
And one somewhat distracted from by the other main affair, that of the letter from Rachel/Reiko to Jiichan-san. On one level, I really like this—it lends reason to why Teresa and Alec ended up precisely where in Japan they did in light of the parallels between Rachel and Jiichan-san, because if they were in some way connected and it was just coincidence, well. Shit that’d be annoying. But Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai’s enduring problem rears its ugly head once again: it moves too slowly when it ought to move quickly and do more. When they’re doing character episodes, having fun, or featuring Nyanko Big, slow is great, but here the lack of answer to the whole Rachel thing distracted from the Teresa/Mitsuyoshi angle, at least to me. I’m still more curious about that then what Mitsuyoshi will do, and slightly miffed that we’ll have to wait until the end of next episode to find out what the relationship is/was—I’m guessing childhood friend/old crush, based on the old picture and the thematic parallels it’d create with the Teresa/Mitsuyoshi situation—and how it will spur Mitsuyoshi onto action after an episode of moping. Guh.
What I really liked is the evolution of Mitsuyoshi’s feelings for Teresa. He’s another tricky character to use, because he doesn’t emote much, doesn’t have any glaring personality problems, and largely isn’t aware of what’s going on inside his own ticker. Dense can turn into unlikable fast. But that hasn’t happened with Mitsuyoshi, and even though the transition from him considering Teresa a friend to something more have been clunky, that’s true to life. Feelings are clunky. I don’t hate it, and the way he clumsily asked if she’d like some coffee at the end was very real. I liked it a lot.
After that, it all comes down to what Mitsuyoshi will do. Personally, I hope they go big with the final arc. Fly to Larsenburg! Tell her how you feel! Remember what she/you said? “But if you’re regretting not being able to honestly share your feelings, then try to share them from now on.” “You should just try not to repeat the same mistake.” Do that! Hopefully the last episodes will go big, otherwise Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai risks fizzling out and never maximizing the potential it had all along.
- Bonus points to Kaoru who, even though he fumbled it when Alec gave him an opening for a daito, still made her smile. His goofy personality was exactly what she needed right then. He done good.
- The regular finally showed off his schools! Good wingmanning, brother. Not sure which kid you were wingmanning for. Both, probably? Good job either way.
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: Risk Tolerance in the Creative Life.