「センパイ、顔真っ赤っスよ～？ / センパイは、もうちょっと……」 (Senpai, Kao Makkassu yo～? / Senpai wa, Mou Chotto …..)
“You’re All Red, Senpai” / Senpai, You Could Be a Little More ..”
For this week’s Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san, Paisen continues to find himself beleaguered by Nagatoro’s horny bullying and, by proxy, the horny bullying of her friends Yoshi and Gamou. But as she spends more time with Paisen, Nagatoro starts to get accustomed to him to the point where she not only explores ways to get under his skin but how to get him more comfortable with being in his own skin.
When some people talk about “guilty pleasures”, they usually talk about something that’s either terrible that they enjoy or something they like they know isn’t good for them. For Episode 04 of Nagatoro-san, it was the absurdity of its brand of cringe comedy that had me feeling terrible for laughing. The imagery of Yoshi dragging Paisen’s hand towards Gamou’s chest while Gamou is boisterously reveling at the moment was too ridiculous to not get a chuckle out of. It’s that same immature giggle I got out of Stardust Crusaders when Enya got a kick out of slowly forcing Polnareff to lick a toilet. You want to be offended because Paisen’s consent is completely thrown out the window by her self-absorbed friends, but it’s hard to take any of it seriously when Gamou in particular is even more of a cartoon caricature of what viewers saw Nagatoro as in the first episode.
That same kind of cringe humor comes from the latter part of the first segment as well when Nagatoro miscalculates how Gamou’s trick would work. The Nagatoro-centric segments recently have been made funnier by how much her teasing ends up backfiring, but while her seductive hand-washing with Paisen did the trick, the same could not be said for when the larger anpan slips from her chest while she has him grope for the best bun. Right when Paisen absolutely should have noticed something was way off with the side of her chest that no longer had the bun, he kept doubling down, and started using two hands while he was under the assumption he was still feeling anpan. You get that kind of impulsive reaction to it as you’re frantically instructing the screen not to go further as if that would spare Paisen from the grim fate that awaits him.
But this episode wasn’t all pervy humor with the second segment giving a little more credit to Nagatoro for playing into the positive traits Paisen has. Compared to how Gamou and Yoshi embody the personality Nagatoro might have ended up with if she kept up her cruel act with Paisen, you’re able to see how far Nagatoro has come with her regular demands for him to do sketches of her. She could sense that Paisen was feeling rough because he has an emotional need for the same kind of validation that the baseball team shares with each other.
While the old Nagatoro would have belittled his masculinity for being desperate for validation, she coaches him into understanding that you can only receive praise if you’re open enough to praise others. On top of all of this, she even lowers her guard when Paisen gushes about how cool her kick was as his one genuine praise that didn’t feel phoned in. Even though she likely enjoyed his company from the start, you can definitely tell by this point that she’s taking him a lot more seriously as someone she is trying to win over.
While Paisen has a lot of work to do if he wants to have self-respect, he deserves credit for how he processed what Nagatoro was trying to convey with the second part. When she decides to let go of her impulse to pose to urge Paisen to be more forward with her, it gives him the right amount of focus for him to work on the one thing he’s stellar at. For how much he rags on himself, Nagatoro’s interest in constantly having him do the one really cool thing he has going for him is bound to give him the right amount of confidence to solidify that he is, in fact, a great artist. I mean, if he ends up being conditioned to be aroused by anpan, then having Nagatoro encourage him to draw more should help to do the trick for him.