「僕は大人のなりかけ」 (Boku wa Otona no Narikake)
“I’m growing up”

If Anna’s sweatshirt or just being in her proximity was enough to set Kyou freaking out, getting buck naked in Anna’s house (in the bath, of course) certainly takes that to the next level. It’s funny and cute that Anna set Kyou a bath- that’s such a mom thing to do. Anna’s mature side comes into play here, her caring instinct setting in, taking care of his wet clothing on top of the bath. It’s nice that after Kyou had his turn in the lead in the keychain hunt, Anna gets a shot- their strengths play off each other.

The way Norio-sensei builds up the suspense with the dog on the scene was masterful. You know something’s going to happen because dogs have this sense of when they’re not wanted around, and that’s when they get super up in your space. Having it all happen in slow mo almost, with the crash land ending Kyo gets on Anna when she comes in for the save, it kept me hanging every second.

For as forward of a girl as she is, Anna does have a sense of tact. Changing to a sweatshirt after the close call with the dog and squishing Kyou was her realizing that Kyou was getting uncomfortable. A small thing like that shows her consideration for him, that her feelings for and relationship with him aren’t all based purely on her own feelings, but also are centered on a desire to make him feel comfortable. It shows a maturity for her age.

Wow- solo hotpot before dinner, that’s some serious food dedication there. If you’ve never eaten one, they’re super large and filling- hence why they’re always eaten with others and would be difficult to eat alone in one sitting. Like Kyou, it also made me feel a little sad thinking of her eating by herself- part of the fun of hotpots is the experience of sharing with friends or family (I really love hotpots, if you couldn’t tell). That for once, she has someone she can share her appetizer with makes for a special moment between the two of them.

A person’s house is really like their avatar- you get a sense of their likes, their hobbies, their habits just from a quick observation. One thing Kyou picks out is the piano gathering dust in the corner, which leads to a deeper conversation. Last season we saw Anna’s struggles with self-confidence, and we see that come into play again here, as she describes her childhood experiences with extracurricular activities. She tried one thing after the next- sports, dance, music, but nothing stuck because she felt she wasn’t good enough compared to others and quit. I’m really glad to hear that her parents are supportive of Anna and not forcing her to continue something she doesn’t enjoy for the purposes of their own agendas.

Comparison is a beast, I can say that much. There’s no end to it- with that line of thinking, there will always be someone better than you. Which makes it significant that Anna has stuck with modelling and acting- I hope she has found her niche here and that she doesn’t quit it in the future out of self-esteem. Sometimes with hobbies, you have to go through a bunch before you find something that sticks- goodness knows, I used to be like that myself until I found a few that fit. If you were good at everything, it would be hard to find something you truly love. But it sucks to go through the process of narrowing down where your interests and abilities align.

We see Anna at her most vulnerable here, confessing her fear that she’ll become such a burden to everyone around her, they’ll burn out and reject her. It’s partly why she’s so nice. The fear that if she’s mean to someone, she won’t get that approval and it’ll make her a bad person, then other people will see and react to that. Kyou also has those social insecurities, but he handles it in the opposite way by isolating himself. Her opening up not only drives them closer together, I think it’s also a way for them to come to terms with what they’re each individually dealing with. And because they can understand each other in that way, they can grow through each other. We’ve already seen progress with Kyou in his social relationships since becoming friends with Anna.

It was a watershed moment for Kyou too, opening up to Anna about his fears of growing older- which was no small feat for him to do that when he tends to close people out. Puberty is scary- nothing prepares you for it and in many ways, it’s like a stranger is taking over your body. Anime doesn’t often convey that well, but Norio-sensei doesn’t shy away from that when Kyou’s voice starts to crack. He’s just starting to find his social circle at school and making inroads with Anna, only for that to happen, which I imagine makes talking that much more awkward for him. Again, this is where Anna really shines, her cheerful outlook brightening Kyou’s prospects. Everyone needs that friend or that parent who can be like “It’s going to be ok, we’ll get through this together!”, and she is that for him.

Puberty is not just about the voice- it’s also the smells. Oh gosh, just seeing Anna’s reaction to her smelly uniform was enough to make my nostril hairs curl. It was absolutely adorable to see Anna and Kyou play around during gym class, and Kyou’s sensitivity to Anna’s sensitivity about the odor. They look out for each other. This episode really highlighted the mutuality of their relationship- it’s not ANNA and Kyou or Anna and KYOU, it’s Kyou and Anna. It’s a level of healthy growth and partnership that you don’t always get to see in anime.

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