「いつか、雪が溶けるまで。」 (Itsuka, yuki ga tokeru made.)
“Until the Snow Melts”
So just totting up:
Akane likes Yuki, but Yuki likes Tooru, who likes Kyouko (but maybe not anymore), who likes Izumi. Sakura likes Tooru, who likes Kyouko (but maybe now Yuki). Makio likes Izumi (probably), which Kyouko doesn’t like. And just who the heck does Kakeru like? I don’t think the answer to that question is especially clear-cut.
If you’re a fan of the relationship drama side of things, this episode of Horimiya was surely paradise. While I think Horimiya does this sort of musical chairs far better than most high school romances, it is the most conventional part of the series to be sure. If Ishihama-sensei was going to adapt the whole manga in 13 episodes I would just as soon most of this be jettisoned to be honest, but if you’re going to focus on it this was about as essential an episode as there could be. So fair do’s, I suppose.
I must confess the first part of the episode with Hori getting her knickers in a twist because she thought there were guys after Miya (which to be fair may not be entirely wrong) didn’t sit especially well. There was an unpleasant odor to that whole exchange and it wasn’t especially funny – I don’t think anything more need be said than that. Fortunately it was over with quickly and the focus turned to Yuki, where it stayed firmly for the rest of the episode. And a good one it was, if indeed pretty conventional. In a two-cour adaptation of Horimiya I’d be all about eps like this, but that’s not what we have so my feelings are a bit mixed.
One thing I know – if you never suit up and play, everyone is out of your league. Horimiya has a good sense for this sort of elemental truth to romance and it’s on display here. People usually like someone who likes someone else, and there’s nothing they can do about it. People often never take a chance because they assume they’re not good enough and will get shot down. And as Kakeru notes at the end of the episode, it does hurt a lot more because it’s really no one’s fault. If it was, if there was someone to blame without knowing it was wrong to do so, it would hurt a lot less.
Poor Sakura is the one who kind of gets the shaft here, because she’s pretty much done everything right. She was open about who she liked, she put herself out there, she took a chance. And what did she get? Zippy doodle, that’s what. Oh sure, Kakeru’s sympathy – but as consolation prizes go, that’s right there with a 10% off coupon at Yoshinoya (if it’s something more than sympathy, that could be different). Yuki, sweet girl she is, kind of blundered her way to the promised land. As her own onee-san scolds her, she never goes after what she wants until it’s too late. Maybe that’s the best strategy, in the end?
As for Akane, he got screwed too. It was his honest approach to Yuki that started the whole chain of events leading to Tooru and Yuki ending up together. I’m sure it’s no consolation to him that the girl he likes rejected him because he’s supposed to be too much of a reach, and for his part Akane has never shown any indication that he believes all that nonsense people say about him. He seems like a nice guy finishing last, just like Sakura, but that’s often how these sorts of things play out in real life. It may not be the most upbeat messaging there is but it is pretty realistic.
I think we’re now pretty much at the “rubber meets the road” portion of events, because even if it intends to wrap the story up in three episodes the adaptation is going to have some hard choices to make. A lot of stuff happens in the rest of the manga, and while obviously not every bit of it is essential, more of it is than some manga readers would have you believe. Seeing what Ishihama and Yoshioka’s priorities are in this regard is going to be a fascinating exercise.