「非モテはぐフナセンパイにもついに春が到来っスか～？ / 愛とか言われちゃってますよぉセンパーイ？」 (Himote Hagu Funa Senpai ni mo Tsui ni Haru ga Touraissu ka～? / Ai Toka Iwarechattemasu yoo Senpaai?)
“Has Spring Come Even for You, the Unpopular Loner Louse Senpai? / Did You Hear Her Talk About Love, Senpai?”
The finale for Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san builds a strong case for Paisen and Nagatoro’s blossoming feelings for each other as the two confront how exactly they feel for each other during an art exhibit of portraits he made of her. In the process, it helps wrap up their current dilemma as the Art Club President warms up to the two.
It was heartwarming to see that the Art Club President is far more sympathetic this time around. She was pretty cool last week when she urged Paisen to make amends with Nagatoro, but her fight against the Disciplinary Committee was a moment where I could feel her frustration at having to fight for an exhibit she already got clearance for. It was rough to see the Committee giving the Art Club President the thumbs-up to display her erotic art only to decide to penalize her when they realized that it was erotic art.
On top of being someone you wanted Paisen and Nagatoro to fight for, they also made the Art Club President very amusing in this episode. While she begrudgingly decides it’d be noble for her to accept any punishment that Nagatoro has in store for her, she ends up deciding it was a liberating part of her art to have to promote their merch in a bunny suit. It was funny to see her sense of humor come out when she tries to change in front of Paisen deliberately to bother him after spending so much time egging him on to express himself more.
At the same time, that quality in her is what made her pivotal to Paisen and Nagatoro’s growth. Because she values the true quality of one’s character and sees it as part of one’s self-expression, she notices right away that much of Paisen’s strength came from the feelings bubbling inside of him towards Nagatoro. Where his focus on Nagatoro not only gave his exhibit more direction but also mirrored the central theme of love that was also a part of the Art Club President’s exhibit.
I guess what made this episode adorable was that it was one where both of them took each other seriously enough to accept that they do have feelings for one another. Whether it’s the value, passion, and love that Paisen placed drawings of Nagatoro or Nagatoro’s not-so-secret emotions towards Paisen, the finale gave us a good impression that the two are starting to head into the next step of their relation. The kiss Nagatoro gave to Paisen in the last scene cemented this even further and made it so that the anime could end as a non-conventional rom-com.
The last episode of Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san hit differently. I was so used to watching this season every weekend that, now that it’s ending, I’m not quite ready to see it go. I started getting attached to a lot of the cast now that the material sobered down into a cuter rom-com between the abrasive Nagatoro and the shy Paisen.
At first, it was one of those ones I was thinking of dropping early because I was covering so many shows at once, but Nagatoro-san was easy and pleasant to write, so it was fun to see the plot unfold as Nagatoro and Paisen started to become comfier with each other. I don’t regret having extra work to do to make sure that this show was able to be covered in all of its glory.
The first episode might’ve put people off, especially since it can be Stockholm-y to suggest that Paisen would ever fall in love with Nagatoro after she bullied him to tears. But through the emotional maturity the two characters go through, it was nice to see that Nagatoro would come to be protective of Paisen, and Paisen would use Nagatoro’s encouragement to come into his own as an artist that can be proud of the work he does as an artist.
I ended up really loving the side characters even more than the main cast. The smugness of Gamou-chan’s demeanor was amusing because deep down, she ended up being intuitive very quickly and took it upon herself to rope Paisen into situations where he could stick up for himself or promote the cool art he’s been doing along the way. It was endearing to see how cheerful Yoshi is at being a clingy dependent friend until she has to think for herself, causing her to freeze up and not know what to do without the guidance of her clique. Even Sakura was a fun character because of how many sinister Machiavellian schemes are hiding behind her calm, friendly, and caring demeanor. The Art Club President’s development was also a pleasant surprise because, rather than being the stereotypical killjoy, she ends up encouraging Paisen to examine his art more thoroughly, see what shines through in his art, and let out some of her playful side by challenging him with her own outrageous, ribald artistic choices.
It was also really funny to see that they don’t spare any expense at also goofing on Nagatoro. Most shows like this are afraid of having the antagonistic heroine get egg on her face, but Nagatoro has several episodes where she is embarrassed as hard as Paisen gets. Whether if it’s through being thrown into a jealous rage by her friends or having her pranks towards Paisen backfire on it, it was refreshing to see that it wasn’t completely one-sided against Paisen the entire time and that they’d have their fair share of fun at Nagatoro’s expense.
I honestly really had a good time with this show. It had its edginess to it, but it also had a lot of cute charm, and as time passed, it became much more endearing to see Paisen gain confidence in himself and Nagatoro become affectionate around Paisen. It might be the kinda show to get a Season 02, but if that doesn’t come into fruition, I’d be happy with reading a little of this by my own accord.