「体育倉庫/保健室/宝くじ」 (Taiiku Souko/Hokenshitsu/Takarakuji)
“Storage Closet/Nurse’s Office/Lottery”
It’s back to the manga for Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san this week (not that it ever felt like we left it). This was mostly pretty low-key material right in the series’ strike zone, but there was an iconic manga moment or two stuck in there. In a season that’s pretty light on romance, the kind of idyllic charm this series can conjure up really hits the spot.
For my money, the best-ever “locked in the gym storage closet” scene in anime was definitely Kyou no Go no Ni. For sheer laughs and innocent ecchi that one is hard to beat, but Takagi-san subverts the trope to fit the premise quite well. I know some will argue this was yet another case of Nishikata being hoist by his own petard and yes, he was the one who decided to try and use the situation to prank Takagi-san in the first place. But damn, she was pretty ruthless once she’d turned the tables. As pure trolling goes, just for the layering this is one of her better efforts.
The real importance of this scene, though, is in setting up the next one. Fans of the manga know that nurse’s office chapter well – it was a cover image, and became one of the series’ signature moments. I would say Takagi actually shows a fair bit of tenderness towards Nishikata-kun here, but I must point out this is yet another example of her cheating. I mean, that whole “seitai” business, come on… It looks like Funimation didn’t even try and translate the pun and I can’t blame them – that would have been a hell of a challenge (for the record, seitai is a type of Japanese massage).
And yes, an 8th-grader did just offer to perform massage on another one in the nurse’s office. I was surprised that didn’t get more of a reaction from Nishi-kun.
Honesty is one of those cliches about Japan that’a actually true. This is a county where people leave their laptops on their table in Starbucks when they hit the head, and I can speak from experience in saying that every item I’ve ever misplaced or forgotten on a train has been turned in to the relevant authorities. But a ¥100 shoutengai raffle ticket? No one would have blamed the girls for just taking a spin there, surely – though with the price being the local sake, it sort of becomes a moot point…
Finally, we have the payoff to that setup. And as usual, Takagi-san saves the most intense relationship chapter for last. Though it’s framed as a game there’s not much teasing going on here, really – as easy as Nishikata’s “games and manga and better games!” dreams are to mock, you can tell Takagi is pretty into her own dream here. And I think when Nishi-kun initially said “build a house” you could almost see her heart rate creep up a bit. This whole scene was interesting because you could see Nishikata perceptibly get swept up in the moment when he was answering Takagi’s questions about the summer festival, and forget the game altogether – and that never really changed. This is about as natural and “couple-like” as I’ve ever seen the two of them, I think – which I suppose means Takagi-san’s game plan is definitely starting to bear fruit.
BTW – if you aren’t, you really should be listening to the ED sequences. As with the first season they’re changing every week, and I love that the series is using classic J-Rock and J-Pop tunes this time. And judging by the fact that so many seem to hail from around 2001 (like this week’s “Anata no ni“, by MONGOL800) my guess is that they’re the tunes mangaka Yamamoto Souichirou was listening to when he was Nishikata-kun’s age.