「チクチク いそいそ」 (Chikuchiku Isoiso)
“Prickly and Giddy”
I wasn’t sure if they would take the “sporty and smart” or the “bookish but unathletic” route with Mitsumi and sports day. In the end, they went with the latter- which I personally found relatable, being in the “bookish but unathletic” camp myself. I’m totally with Kurumi on the dread of doing an athletic event when it’s not your forte, yet you still have to do it and put on a good face for everyone else (not that she tries terribly hard to put on a smile about it). Even though it doesn’t affect her grades or future career aspirations, Mitsumi, characteristically, goes gung ho on volleyball practice, trying to avoid looking like a fool.
Mika is none too happy about tutoring Mitsumi in volleyball, though the opportunity to hang with Sou is incentive enough to accept anyway. Jealousy is a big factor in Mika’s attitude towards Mitsumi-jealous that Mitsumi looks like she has it all made. Mika in truth doesn’t know that, she can’t see Mitsumi’s past, her struggles, or her internal narrative. When you feel insecure, you tend to look at what other people have that you don’t and make the gross assumption that because they have what you want but lack, they must live a charmed life. It’s a mindset that can lead you down a long, dark road of resentment and self-loathing. Mika has plenty of resentment, remembering who pissed her off, but not who was nice. It can be easier to dwell on negative experiences than positive ones, especially if it contributes to overall self-hatred or reflecting one’s negative emotions onto others.
Mika’s accusation that Mitsumi looks like she has it easy could be just as easily thrown back at her. If we’re going purely by appearances, she looks thin and stylish, is good at sports- but she wasn’t always that way. From flashbacks, we see that she was chubbier and unpopular and put a lot of effort into dieting, exercising, and styling to look the way she does now.
I’m conflicted about the “good job, you worked hard!” attitude with Mika. I absolutely believe you should be happy with and take care of yourself through proper eating, exercise, etc. There’s nothing wrong with makeup and looking nice (I do it all the time). It takes effort, and for those who need to strive for a better diet or weight loss to be their healthier self, that is a “good job, you worked hard!”. But there’s another side to this, of over-exercising or over-dieting. Not everyone is built thin or some who are thin may feel they’re not thin enough according to unrealistic beauty standards, forcing themselves to go on a strict regimen that contributes to an unforgiving mindset towards oneself, amongst other things. There’s a difference between “I need to watch what I eat to be my best, healthiest self, though it’s ok to treat myself once in while” vs. “I need to deny myself this food so that others will like and accept me”. If Mika falls into the latter group, I kind of disagree with applauding that (though in Mitsumi’s defense, she doesn’t know the whole story)-it is a serious, real struggle, especially with teen girls (though it doesn’t just happen with teen girls). It just needs more serious, careful handling, which, as much as I enjoy this show, is beyond the scope of this series. It probably was not intended for Mika’s past to get that dark and this is just me over-thinking.
We start to get a little more progress in the Mitsumi x Sou angle. Watching Sou’s basketball moves, Mitsumi gets taken in by his coolness and starts to get an inkling that he is more than “just a friend” material. It’s cute to see her start to come to this realization. Naturally, it gets her thinking about what Sou sees in her in the first place. I can certainly relate to the fear “Maybe I’m the only one who sees this as a friendship” and running through past scenarios in your head to puzzle out if it is just you and they’re kindly suffering you in their presence or if it is indeed mutual. It hits her that even on her very first, messy, day he overlooked her “running around like a chicken with her head cut off” mode to reach out to her. While she doesn’t come to an answer on that one, just realizing that her interest in him goes both ways opens the door for future developments where Sou is concerned.
We do get an answer of sorts (an answer which has been there from the beginning) from Mika-who surmises that Sou probably likes Mitsumi because he sees something in her that he lacks. I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Sou sees a confidence in Mitsumi, a spark and a determination for a future of her dreams that Sou himself lacks, having lost that in the wake of his fall from child stardom. Likewise, I think Mitsumi sees an ability to relax and take life as it comes attitude in Sou that she lacks. The more time these two spend together, the more they’ll rub off on each other and learn from one another-adapting and growing from interactions with others is an important part of growing up.