「山田は僕を」 (Yamada wa boku wo)
It’s that day once a year that brings dread and anticipation to the hearts of all- and no- I don’t mean Christmas or tax day. The boys are all atwitter with their Valentine’s Day chocolate- is it giri, if it doesn’t say so? “Only gives you one chocolate to give you the wrong idea”- pin pon Adachi- unless you can read the room. Moe’s certainly getting her kicks out of teasing the boys, which is kind of cruel if you ask me.
Both Anna and Kyou are dancing around the whole chocolate game. Anna loves the choco, so long as Kyou’s not getting them from anyone else (and that one she eats herself). “I’m a guy for the day!” she says. Which, I don’t know that I could blame her- who wouldn’t love free chocolate. When Anna does pull them out for Kyou, she does so in the most roundabout way. For one, the chocolates are your everyday bagged assortment kind you can get anywhere (and quite delicious, especially the strawberry and kinako mochi flavors), so nothing to clue the habitual overthinker in on the intent. Then, she gives it to him through some weird ruleless chocolate shogi game that Kyou kindly plays along with, awarding them as a victor’s prize.
There are different things that could be read into this. She’s nervous- giving chocolates to your crush really puts yourself out there and carries the potential for rejection, especially if she’s not 100% sure yet how he feels. This may also be her way of not making Kyou feel uncomfortable- he might close himself off or run away at such an open display of interest, something she has already expressed a fear of. Anna’s “Lucky” when she sees Hara give her boyfriend chocolates no problem says it all. She wants to express herself openly, but it’s all a learning curve. As for the chocolates themselves, it seems random, but she knows he doesn’t like sweet things and furthermore, doesn’t know what he likes. With an assortment, there’s a guarantee there’ll at least be something he likes.
While the whole roundaboutness lets you play it safe, it doesn’t get you anywhere either. Both Kyou and Anna did a fine job of taking that one step closer after the whole conversation with the heart-shaped chocolate bun. (And if you notice, Anna smudged the chocolate on Kyou’s face to look like a heart). There was a whole lot of chemistry heating up in that scene, enough to make their middle school hearts melt like chocolate lava (it sure made mine). Kyou remembering Anna’s “Today I’m a guy” declaration from way earlier in the day and going out of his comfort zone to give her chocolate was wow, one of my (many, many) favorite moments. As was his agony afterwards upon realizing he gave her chocolates named “melty kiss”. Which, in turn, gives Anna the courage for take 2 of gifting Kyou the real Valentine’s chocolate.
Of course, she’s nervous as hell- it’s basically a confession, and she’s already self-conscious about how he’ll take the chocolate when he’s already said he’s not a fan of sweet things. Kyou, as usual, is the king of tact when it comes down to it, assuring her it’s good and they get hug #2. A pretty big deal that he’s letting her into his personal space like that. That was a special moment for him, so naturally as a sentimental person, he’s not going to want to eat it. And thank goodness for that, because it’s only after a closer inspection at home that he realizes what’s written on it (“su” for “suki” or “love”). For the first time ever, Kyou’s able to accept that yes, Anna does like him- and not even his twisted logic can warp that at this point.
From here on, we start to see even more of a difference in Kyou and Anna, a heartwarming openness that’s practically written on their faces. Anna’s chocolate certainly gave him the ego boost he needed. Though, now, he needs a game plan- only one month until White Day. We get cute moments like Anna and Kyou waving to each other or Kyou trying to smack Nanpai’s hand out of the way.
Ah, Nanpai. Kyou is none too fond of him (who can blame him). You can see Kyou tense up as soon as he sees Nanpai. He’s grown so much though- Kyou stands up to Nanpai with his little comebacks, whereas before, he couldn’t muster much of a word. Nanpai’s “Guys and girls can never know each other” was frankly rather dismissive and totally untrue, as Kyou points out. Kyou’s statement about how different guys and girls are, but through communication they can find common ground was so mature. Nanpai clearly has a lot more to learn about the world and relationships. Nanpai’s not a horrible person per se. Just a person with A LOT of room to grow. Which is the point. Everyone probably has someone like that in their life, and part of maturing is learning how to deal with them, like how Ichi learns to handle his classmates without crawling in a total hole. It made me really smile when Kyou commented offhand to Adachi about how he learns more from him than Nanpai- basically Kyou affirming their friendship. I am so proud of Kyou for the friendships he’s learned to cultivate- it’s certainly not easy, especially at that age. But he’s doing it, as so many of us have.