「突然、ごめん」 (Totsuzen, Gomen)
“Sorry for Surprising You”
Okay, apparently this wasn’t the last episode! Good, good. My information was incorrect, so I was a bit perturbed leading up to this, but it looks like the concluding arc will have room to breathe after all. Which means it’s time to set aside the final impressions I had brewing, and talk about what went down instead.
The truth is, this episode (and I suspect, next episode as well) are what I was hoping for from Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai for a while. Things are happening now, baby, we’re not all stalled out while emotions percolate. The complexion of the love tangle is also different than I had expected during the start of the season, with Kaoru’s attention actually focused on Mitsuyoshi (not as a love interest for Alec), while it’s the snarl between Teresa / Charles / Alec / Mitsuyoshi that’s fueling most of the drama. The important thing is that it’s all moving now, with big reveals (for the characters) in this episode and a big conclusion promised for next. And who knows how it will turn out.
Which is great! That’s why I love covering (and watching) original series, because we don’t know how it will turn out. We can read the tea leaves, but it’s difficult with this series precisely because it hasn’t been firing on all cylinders. Compare it to last season’s Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho—and get used to me making reference to YoriMoi, it’s entered my collection of go-to examples and will be dredged up often … you know you love it—which was well put-together and adroitly told, which made it predictable on the one hand and devastatingly powerful on the other. Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai sagged in the middle, and it’s unclear exactly what it’s ultimate message is trying to be. Is it duty? Is it sacrifice? Is it happiness? Is it a balance of several of these, and more? It hasn’t been clear enough in its thematic thoroughfare, so I’m not sure. I’d probably put my money on duty, with Teresa and Mitsuyoshi parting ways, but only barely. I could see sacrifice too (Charles’, to be specific), and won’t be surprised if that’s the way it goes. Or something entirely different. That’s what makes it fun!
As for the actual going-ons of this episode, I like that secrets are finally being revealed. The truth of Teresa’s identity as princess of Larsenburg was expected, but Teresa finding out about Alec’s feelings for Charles was appreciated. This is the time for the series to lay it all on the table, and it is. With these few characters, at least.
I also quite like that Rachel’s relationship with Mitsuyoshi’s grandfather is that of a former coworker. No lost love, no sister he hasn’t seen in a while, nothing like that. It reminds me of The Last Jedi, and how sometimes the less satisfying answer is the correct one. She was in the story to connect Teresa and Alec to the crew in Japan initially, and to connect Mitsuyoshi back to Teresa now. Anything more overwrought than that would have been distracting.
Mostly though, I like how focused this episode was, and how it tees up the big questions for answering in the finale. Hopefully Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai can live up to the hype in its final arc and end the series with a bang.
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