I felt a little bit better about this episode. Animation-wise I am still not super impressed (side profile shots of Natsuki really emphasize the lower quality for me), but the story seems to be making a bit more sense, so I am just going with it. Can’t always have my cake and eat it too.
Remember last episode when Kobayakawa was sleeping on the couch in the teacher’s office? It turns out she has hay fever, and her medication makes her sleepy. She feels it would be awkward if she constantly had to go to the nurse’s office to lie down, so Katakura-sensei has graciously allowed her to use the couch when she needs to. After Natsuki rushes out in embarrassment at being “caught” with her by the teacher, Kobayakawa finds out that the muffler she was given came from Natsuki. Kobayakawa decides to return the muffler to Natsuki, saying she’d feel bad if she kept it. She and Natsuki have a cute conversation, and we finally see a smile from her! Looks like she might have something resembling a personality after all. And Natsuki is just adorable with his constant blushing and stammering.
The bulk of this episode is devoted to Valentine’s Day, which is right around the corner, and thus the Japanese tradition of women giving chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day. (White Day, one month later, is when men return the favor. But I digress.) This is why Natsuki says he’d like it if Kobayakawa (first name Anna) were to give him chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and also why the boys later make their “reverse chocolates” from scratch (it shows more thought and effort went into the gift, versus just buying something from a store).
This episode marks the addition of a new character, the plum-haired Mari Tsutsui. There’s obviously something big hidden in her backstory, because most teen girls don’t react to flirty guys by spitting on them. Ugh. And while I feel bad for whatever happened to her in the past, it doesn’t excuse hitting people, stealing from them or just being as bratty as she seems to generally be. Let’s just say this is a character I have yet to warm up to. Y u so bitchy Mari??
Which is why I haven’t quite figured out why Tomoya seems to be drawn to her. Apparently he likes girls who call him names and are confrontational to his face? Really?? Mattsun you can do so much better!
My thoughts: I wish these episodes were the length of a typical anime show, because it’s often harder to write more when there’s less to draw from (unless I’m absolutely head over heels in love with the show). I did like the pacing of this episode, and it felt like all of the scenes flowed together much more smoothly compared to the previous episode. I’m glad Anna started to open up a little to Natsuki, but I really don’t like Mari. More than anything else, based on sheer curiousity, I came away from this episode wanting to know more about Mari’s backstory and her friendship with Anna. How does Anna tolerate Mari, and what does she see in her abrasive friend that others don’t? I must know!
Also, was there a quick Gundam reference during the boys’ chocolate-making scene, or was it just a generic robot?
I feel like I have lots of questions about what might happen that might be explained by reading the manga, but I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything for myself, so I’m going to continue to watch this show blind. I wonder if we will get an episode centered on each of the boys, like we get character-specific episodes in other shows? I think that would be really awesome, because I’d like to know more about Keiichi. *halo*
Keep trying Nat-chan!