「エイプリルフール／お花見／呼び方／進級」 (Eipurirufuuru/o hanami/Yobikata/Shinkyuu)
“April Fool’s/Cherry Blossom Viewing/Honorifics/New School Year”
I go back and forth about Takagi-san. The character, not the show – though I suppose in this context it’s one and the same. Is she a mean person? And if she is, what makes someone who feels that way stay with the series? Theoretically it should be either that they don’t think she’s actually mean, or they do but don’t really care. That’s a tidy dichotomy, but the problem is that neither one of those really apply to me. I think both that Takagi – san – is mean, and that she likes Nishikata-kun (they’re not mutually exclusive). And it does bother me that she’s mean. But I’m still here.
We start out with April Fool’s Day (just the use of the word “date” pretty much deals Nishikata the loss). He should know this day is not his friend, since for Takagi-san every day is effectively April Fool’s Day. He’s out of his league and the trip to the candy store spells that out in gruesome detail. The most interesting part of this chapter is when Takagi – san – with uncharacteristic straightforwardness tells Nishikata to stop lying, as he’s too easy to see through. Part of Takagi’s schtick is that she never lies to Nishikata because she doesn’t need to in order to troll him, but for me this is disingenuous at best. The way she manipulates the truth is every bit as good as lying – better in fact, and she can do it only because she’s so good at manipulation.
After a quick detour to view the sakura and show that the power trio are getting an early start on obsessing about body shaming, the focus turns to the first day of school. Of course Takagai – san – and Nishikata are in the same class again (though she quite successfully twisted him into an admission of affection earlier by
lying manipulating the truth about that) and Nishikata-kun is determined to put childish humiliations behind him. But he can play at maturity all he wants – it has to be a two-way street and as long as Takagi persists in her childish games, he can’t move forward.
Honorifics – ah, that most powerful subject again. I continue to be struck by how stressful this topic is not just for kids in Japan, but adults too. Once more Nishikata learns that “100% Unrequited Love” is not a viable source for life advice. Naturally withholding the honorific is a way to put stress on the other person in a relationship, but as is so often the case Nishikata’s downfall is overestimating his own resolve and this get flipped around on him. Both of these kids remain stuck in their childish ways, but sadly for Nishikata the way that manifests itself is perpetually making him the victim.