「センパイはどう思ってんスか？ / 素直じゃないんだからー、センパイはー♡」 (Senpai wa Dou Omottensu ka? Sunao ja Nain da Karaa, Senpai waa♡)
“What Do You Think, Senpai? / You Could Be More Honest, Senpai!♥”
The 11th episode of Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san heats up as Paisen and Nagatoro come at odds when neither of them is able to come up with ideas for a good painting that will beat the president’s art expo. And when the two find out the president will be displaying a nude self-portrait, Paisen has to look more inward to show Nagatoro how much she means to him.
Many of the episode’s issues fall on Paisen being too obtuse about what direction he wants to go with. He has no faith in the direction he wants to go with aside from just painting what he feels like painting, but because of this, he ends up pushing Nagatoro away while she’s only attempting to help him. It comes off as self-centered on his behalf that he wasn’t more direct with the girls about his painter’s block kicking in, but then decided out of nowhere that he wants Nagatoro to be uninvolved with his personal feud with the president. It’s really sucky on his behalf to dig himself deeper by praising the president’s nude self-portrait, and then spending most of the episode not wanting to see Nagatoro pose for him whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Nagatoro’s jealousy hits an all-time high as she irrationally takes it out on Paisen for not automatically finding inspiration in her cosplay or for complimenting the president’s painting. Even though he has no tact in not gushing about the president’s nude painting, Nagatoro is quick to pretend like they haven’t gone through this whole series knowing that he’s not interested in pursuing other women or assuming that he’s finding ways to personally spite Nagatoro. She never gives him the benefit of the doubt with this kinda stuff and is quick to act like it’s entirely his fault, that he hates her, and that he’s horrible for needing space to reflect on what he wants to paint without everyone trying to pitch in to help.
It also comes off as irrational on her part when she keeps pushing for the cosplay route when it’s always been difficult to sketch Nagatoro while she’s trying to distract him. In the process, she ends up bringing it on herself by expecting Paisen to suddenly make cosplay his secret weapon when his sketch-like drawings of her in cosplay don’t spark as much immediate inspiration in him as a poignant still-life sketch of Nagatoro walking home would.
I’m actually surprised that, with everything Gamou is saying about needing sex appeal to compete with the president’s nudes, nobody thought to suggest having a nude drawing of Nagatoro. Paisen could just draw a similar drawing the president made, but just embellish Nagatoro’s assets so that they look larger than hers. Posing nude in-person would be out of the question, so he’d have to find an image online of a nude model posing, draw that, and then sketch the face when Nagatoro is present to make it less creepy. But I guess that’d all be out-of-the-question considering that fighting nudes with nudes never came up.
It was very poignant and adorable when the two ended up making it out of a rough patch because of how heartfelt it was on Paisen’s end. This was someone who had 0 confidence in himself or his craft, but surprisingly, the attention Nagatoro gave to him and her small efforts to encourage him to draw more really affected him in a positive way. It’s easy to take the bad with how Nagatoro mistreated him in the past, but she really helped him come out of his shell in a way that actually allows him to live a normal teenage life in high school with friends who have a fun time being around him and try to get the most out of him. It makes it all the more special when Paisen’s feelings manifest in him pouring his heart out to her as he tries to save her from falling in the pool.
But what surprised me the most is how the president turned out to be. Even though she’s spent the last couple of episodes trying to bury Paisen, she is quick to notice that his attention towards Nagatoro seems to be the one unique aspect about him that has a sense of individuality. Because she wants to paint with the theme of “love”, she has a general grasp that love is a self-serving force that compels a person to completely want another person’s attention and interest.
Her distaste in Paisen’s bowl of fruit already gave her the general idea that he’s not putting any kind of soul into his current painting, so hearing such a passionate response from him when Nagatoro storms off made her want to cheer him on and orders him to chase after her. It’s a nice surprise because it’s so easy to write her off as a stuffy elitist character that it catches you off-guard to see her want his relationship with Nagatoro to thrive. In a way, it feels like the president posed this challenge so that it could be a learning lesson for Paisen to have confidence in both his ability to draw and his personal interest in Nagatoro. Next week might help to answer whether the president is doing this to antagonize Paisen or to push him and Nagatoro together as he hones his talents.