「かえでクエスト」 (Kaede Quest)
Episode 11 makes quick work of the last episode’s reveal that tabloids have picked up on Mai’s relationship with Sakuta by clearing it all up in a press conference. Much like how the second episode of Koga’s arc created a clear-cut distinction that there were no misunderstandings between Sakuta and Mai, this episode made it clear that all it took for Mai to be able to sweep up much of the controversy under the rug was to clarify that it was all an understandable situation as Sakuta was a classmate she fell in love with that inspired her to get back into acting. It’s quite a relief that Seishun Buta Yarou has been distinct in making sure to tease at the dramatic pitfalls of lesser romantic comedies and nip them in the bud so that they aren’t taking up lengthy moments of screen time.
Similarly, it was interesting how they handled Shouko’s re-emergence. Where rather than Futaba keeping Sakuta’s plans a secret between themselves, Futaba took it upon herself to message Mai right away to have him tell her about his plan face-to-face. Mai accepted it as quickly as Sakuta’s other plans to help girls affected by the Adolescence Syndrome, but instead of Sakuta leaving Mai alone again to face off against Shouko, a change of events caused Sakuta to change his mind, throwing a wrench in their reunion in favor of spending more time with Mai before the sun goes down. Shouko’s invite could definitely leak into future events, but for the time being, it seems to be on the backburner.
This is because it’s Kaede’s time to shine. Throughout the episode, we see more from Kaede’s perspective as she is inspired by Mai and Sakuta’s liveliness to create a journal to overcome her fears. An unknown number of afflictions have happened to her throughout the entire time such as having lost her memories, having the flu after overcoming one fear of answering the phone when Mai calls and being afraid of leaving her home. We’ve gotten to know her from her heart-warming cuteness and her openness towards fighting against her worries, but at this point in time, her journal signifies a more clear-cut dedication to venturing out.
Because of this, every stride she takes to face off against her fears is emotional and cuts deep into the core for anyone suffering from anxiety or panic. Particularly, the part where she realizes she’s outside of the apartment and breaks down because she always thought being ruled over her fears would mean she’d stay in the same situation she’s trapped in for the rest of her life. It’s the mentality she kept hidden all this time that make moments where she takes strides towards improving her quality-of-life all the more emotional. It’s hard not to get teary-eyed when Sakuta starts crying over his little sister finally being able to step outside of the house again.
There is a storm a ‘brewing, however, when one of her old classmates is brought back into the fold to approach Sakuta and Kaede after Mai’s press conference alerted her to their location. Kaede’s lost memories and the disappearance of her bullies are now looming over the anime as these mysteries are now in the forefront of Kaede’s arc.