「特には何も」 (Tokuni wa Nani mo)
This episode proceeded largely as expected. It turned on Mitsuyoshi first being stunned by, then wallowing in, and ultimately being galvanized by Teresa’s disappearance. He proceeded exactly through the expected steps, taking a full episode to do what he probably could have done much more quickly (in run-time), because we all knew exactly what was going on. This is the place tropes can be useful: because we were all on the same page, the writers didn’t need to spell it out so clearly. We knew. The lack of that resulted in an episode that was largely exactly as expected, which means it lacked impact. We just had to get through it to see where this was all going.
Which, if this were the ninth episode, would be a forgivable sin. Since it’s the eleventh, though, of twelve, it’s troubling. We won’t get closure on Pin-sempai and Hinako, nor on Yui and Yamashita Ken. We probably won’t get closure on much of anything, aside from Teresa and Mitsuyoshi (maybe), another scene between Kaoru and Alec (if we’re lucky), and an explanation about Jiichan-san and Rachel (or else I’ll be annoyed). Taka-kun wa Koi wo Shinai opened all these doors, and it refused to explore them more fully. In its final act, it’s coming across as timid. It is a disappointment, even if many of the individual moments were enjoyable and executed well. They just didn’t build to a satisfying conclusion.
Which is why I was so pleased with the last few scenes. The discovery of the accidental movie was a dirty gut punch, but it was effective, and the first part of the episode that elicited any kind of emotion save for dull acceptance (for everything was proceeding as expected). Jiichan-san saying that Mitsuyoshi should go to Larsenburg, though. That’s what I was hoping for, but didn’t dare believe! It’s late, and there’s not enough time, but at least Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai is leaving the door open to a big splashy finale, to a moment of some closure without the overweening coincidence of the first episode. It’s a good decision, and Kaoru secretly going with is as well, though I hope he will reveal himself quickly; Kaoru didn’t work well as the only silly bloke in a serious scene this episode, and I suspect the same will be true next.
Still, for a series I had started off really excited about, yet had recently grown disappointed at the complacence it displayed, this is a good move. Mitsuyoshi showed real emotion and development, and he’s a difficult character type to get right. He needs to go this far to correct his mistake, even if it’s perhaps rude to be so persistent—it’s a tricky subject, and one further muddled by their unclear relationship and us not knowing what exactly he wants to say. Even so. At least Tada-kun the story is showing some life in its final moments. I had given up hope of more than a formulaic ending, and likely we’re still in store for that. At least the formula will be a more lively one. I appreciate that.
- The old couple was so sweet. Let this be a lesson to us all: be that guy, who told his partner his honest feelings, only we should all try to do it without a visit to death’s door. Those are the moments she’ll remember, should death claim him next time—and he will remember too, should it go the other 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.