「僕は山田と」 (Boku wa Yamada to)
“Yamada and Me”

This really is Kyou’s baptism of fire into the world of female politics. He’s been privy from a distance to their squabbles and drama, but this is the first time he’s in the middle of it with nowhere to escape or hide. The baptism in question being an invitation to Anna’s house to make chocolates, which even the invitation itself sends his stomach into knots. “The rest of them are just Yamada’s friends”- he doesn’t even consider himself Yamada’s friend, can’t fathom why she would see him as such. Which sends him into his twisted reasoning that Anna’s date and time text couldn’t possibly be referencing what she clearly stated was an invitation to her house. The (chocolate) icing on the cake was Chi’s “What are you doing here” which throws him into the abyss and he almost leaves.

Moe’s “act” was the very definition of “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Mama starts 3rd degreeing Kyou within an inch of his life and Moe swoops in to save the day…by pretending to be his “bae”. It gets Mama off Anna and Ichi’s case, but makes tensions run high in the girls’ circle. Understandably so- I’d be pissed and jealous if I were Anna, especially with how Moe is clearly enjoying the ruse and Kyou uttering not a word of protest. Anna has been wanting to introduce Kyou to her parents for a while now and “bestie’s boyfriend” is definitely not the way she was envisioning the first meeting. I surmise that Moe is partly trying to help Anna, partly having fun torturing her, and maybe partly has some feelings for Kyou. I think Mama knows what’s up- moms have that kind of intuition, plus seeing Anna and Kyou interact tips off the Mom radar. Of course she and Papa are going to give him the stink eye if Kyou’s not up front- they want honesty, it’s their daughter in question.

This is all too much for Kyou and he convenes with his cool alter (or should I say altar) ego in the bathroom. Kyou’s imagination of being formally introduced to mama is a shotgun wedding? That cracked me up- going from 0 to 100 there. It’s ironic because trying to avoid your greatest fear can cause that fear to actualize. His alter ego is correct- he needs to face his feelings and be honest with Mr. and Mrs. Yamada- it will cause problems down the line. If he keeps running away from himself and Anna, it will only send him in circles where he will keep running into himself over and over again.

What seemed like total defeat as Kyou headed for the door turned into a total victory moment when he ‘fessed up to Mama Yamada. The huge amount of guts that took for him to do that. Honesty really is the best policy and the parents respect that, completely changing their attitude towards him (for the better) afterwards.

Kyou isn’t out of the woods yet- he rejoins the girls inside, only to be met with Anna’s giant of a father. Meeting your romantic interest’s parents for the first time can be intimidating, but that is magnified one hundred fold with her dad’s appearance, and the realization that the scary dude Kyou met in the elevator the other day was none other than Papa Yamada (Hosoya Yoshimasa). No doubt Kyou will have some very large sweat stains to go in the laundry later, terrified that Papa would connect the dots and realize that that was Kyou in the elevator. Fortunately, Papa is a gentle giant and not a man-eating titan, finding in Kyou the gaming bud he’s always wanted.

You can see the resemblance between Kyou and Papa (well, excluding the height)- both are quiet, observant men of the shadows. Even their hair style is similar. It makes sense of how Anna is able to skillfully and patiently bond with Kyou, she’s used to having an introvert at home. If you needed further proof, Kyou fits right in with the family and is already accepted by them. One more level cleared.

I was totally dying (and so was Ichi, though for very different reasons) when Anna mentioned that Papa calls Kyou “Yamada”. Papa remembered meeting Kyou and the jersey he was wearing, but didn’t put two and two together that it was his daughter’s (and thank goodness for Ichi’s sake). ROFL.

Kana cares a lot for Kyou and understands what he’s going through because they’re cut from the same cloth. As such, she subtly expresses her concern that Kyou shouldn’t set his sights so high on Anna. I half wonder if she is speaking from her own experiences. She doesn’t come across as too experienced or skilled in the romance department, so I’m assuming she’s had more than her share of heartbreak and doesn’t want Kyou to experience what she’s gone through. While her heart is in the right place, and it is good that Kyou has someone who cares about him so much, I 100% disagree with her. She’s only basing it off of a surface level conception of Anna, what she assumes about Kyou (have more faith in him), and what she knows from her own insecurities. You can’t say “there’s no chance, she’s outta your league” without trying (my motto is “you don’t know unless you try”). And you absolutely can’t say “it’ll never work” until you talk to the other party. Which is what Kana gets at when she comes around in the end with “It’s not about whether you have a chance, but about what you wanna do”, which was wow, profound. It’s such a simple thing but gets so overcomplicated by overthinking and assumptions.

This is really at the heart of Kyou’s struggles, the need to get over how he thinks the other party will respond and taking charge of his own wants and needs. This marks yet another crucial moment in his development, as we see him taking charge of what he wants to do- declaring it out loud to sis (drunk on amazake, which has almost no alcohol lol) and then acting on it with Anna- “Don’t give the boys chocolates”. That newfound initiative leaves a strong (good impression) on Anna for sure. Which leaves us hanging for next week and Valentine’s Day……

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