「彼女のとか？」 (Kanojo no toka?)
“Are These Your Girlfriend’s?”
I already know that Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru is one of those series that’s going to be frustrating even when I like it. The reason is simply that it’s being frustrating on purpose, at least some of the time. That’s a challenge because the line between “on-purpose” or not can get pretty fuzzy. It’s a high-risk narrative strategy (with what I hear about some developments later in the manga, this series is no stranger to that). But when it works it can really be effective, and it mostly worked this week. Mostly.
I spoke last week about the challenges when introverts try and connect with extroverts. And as much as anything I think that’s what Bisque Doll is about, at least at the moment. While each side brings a different trip-wire to the party, the two ends of the tunnel rarely meet in the middle on the first try. Introverts and extroverts have an extremely difficult time putting themselves in the other’s place, because they’re wired such that they can never truly feel what the other feels. This can get frustrating deeper in the relationship, when (if) both sides are aware of the gulf and actively trying to bridge it. Where Marin and Wakana are now, they’re just straight-up whiffing on the pitch.
Now, I knew (even though I’m an introvert) what Marin meant when she said “hey, there’s an event in two weeks”. But then, I have a lot more life experience than Wakana, and I’ve been a recovering introvert for most of it. I also knew (because it was obvious, frankly) exactly what was going to happen. Wakana was going to kill himself trying to finish the outfit in time because he assumed this event was the be-all and end-all of the Shizuku social calendar. To Marin it wasn’t that big a deal, and if he’d been more assertive in discussing things with her he’d have known that. Which was never going to happen.
Events conspired to make things a lot worse for poor Wakana. First Gramps fell and hurt his back after seeing what was in his grandson’s shopping bag (how long is this misunderstanding going to play out, I wonder). That left him convalescing for two weeks at his cousin Miori’s house (she wasn’t the one who berated chibi Gojou, was she?) and Gojou at home by himself. Also it’s midterm time at school, and while I imagine he’s probably a good student it’s not the sort of thing you can coast by without a care. And he’s got the requisite guilt over not practicing his brush skills with the Hina dolls (which is, after all, what his chosen vocation in life is going to be).
Again, all they had to do was have a real conversation, Wakana and Marin, and all this could have been avoided. She even tried to initiate some contact – sensing something was amiss, even if her diametrically opposed personality type kept her from guessing what was happening. None of this was her fault – she couldn’t have been expected to guess. It wasn’t really anybody’s fault, even if Wakana’s doormat personality was the source 0f almost all of this week’s frustration. It’s one thing to not be able to say no (as with the tour request, where I almost admire him for agreeing), but he actually committed to something nearly impossible without even really being asked to. That’s some serious doormat skills right there.
In the end, all is revealed. And is usually the case when people this different reach that point, each is totally shocked because it would never have occurred to them to think what the other was thinking. Marin reacts as well as anyone could expect – she feels terrible and blames herself for what happened. And Wakana holds up his end of the bargain – he does his best to shoulder the responsibility himself, and takes appropriate joy from seeing what his creation looks like when actually put into use.
I think it’s pretty clear this was a watershed moment, because Marin was seeing Wakana in a way she never saw him (and perhaps any guy) before. Love? I don’t know, but at the very least it was her subconscious registering the potential for something. Most of us thrill at the notion of another person going to great lengths just to make us happy, an at her age it’s likely Marin has never had that experience quite so acutely as she does here. If this is indeed a budding relationship all of the heavy lifting is still yet to be done, but you can’t ever get to it if you don’t set foot in the weight room…
Full-length images: 31.