My initial thoughts were that finally, FINALLY we at long last get a Mari-centred episode, focused on her feelings for Anna and her…
hatefest rivalry? with Tomoya. “I hope we get to find out why she’s always freaking out over Anna all the time, especially when anyone else tries to spend time with her.”
I went into this episode thinking if I had to watch yet another episode full of Mari spazzing out at anyone who spent time with Anna other than her, I was going to drop this show. I’m trying really hard to like it depsite having never read the source material, but Mari makes me want to rip my hair out by the fistful. I can’t remember the last time I watched an anime which had a character I detested so strongly.
But, after having made it through the darkness into the light, I can say that this episode makes Mari slightly more redeemable. So rest assured that this review isn’t just one big rant in disguise. Onward ho!
Tomoya has plans with a friend, but they back out on him at the last minute. While he’s deciding what to do next, he sees Mari meeting up with Anna. Naturally he has to go impose, and Mari is pretty livid. Anna completely misses the reason for Anna’s anger towards Tomoya, and suggests that he invites Natsuki to come along shopping with them. Anna seems happy that Natsuki is in their little group, so Mari resolves to get in Natsuki’s way all day to keep him away from Anna.
They go shopping and hit up an arcade together, with Mari trying her best to beat Tomoya at everything while getting between Anna and Natsuki. But she can’t be around Anna constantly, and it’s during one of these moments when Anna asks Natsuki if they can break away from the group for a bit. …Really?? o_o Yay!
After Mari loses at all the arcade games and runs out of money, she goes looking for Anna, but gets really upset when she finds her missing. Tomoya tries to coax her into playing more games with him, but she decides to sit on a bench and sulk instead while she waits for Anna. Tomoya asks her if she loves Anna, and Mari’s blush makes the answer to his question pretty obvious. This explains a lot of things, although it is not specified if Mari is a lesbian or if she prefers women because she’s had negative experiences with the way men have treated her. The rest of their conversation makes it sound like the latter might be true, but it’s not definitive and seems to be left up to the viewer to interpret for themselves.
When Mari returns from getting a drink, she hears Tomoya talking to Natsuki on his phone and goes *completely* postal. She accuses him of being “in league” with Natsuki and starts calling him names and accusing him of nasty things, and Tomoya finally has enough. He calls her on her bullshit and tells her that she’s full of herself because everything’s always about her, and says that she should trust others more. All of which is completely true. Mari is clearly taken aback; guess people aren’t usually that blunt with her about her shitty attitude.
Tomoya drags Mari to a karaoke parlor, where surprise! Anna’s there, along with everyone else from their circle of friends. It turns out that it’s a “special day” because it’s Mari’s birthday, and Anna and Natsuki had disappeared to put together a quick surprise party for Mari. Everyone gives Mari gifts, something she’s definitely not expecting and not sure how to react to.
Later on Tomoya touches base with Mari, who claws his face yet again when he tries to flirt with her. He retreats to the bathroom to lick his wounds, and tries to figure out what to do next because he doesn’t want to pursue a girl who wants nothing to do with him. Hmmm, maybe this ship isn’t going to sail after all. (Yay Tomoya! You can do so much better buddy.)
Out in the hallway, the unnamed pink haired girl from episode 7 (who is apparently Tomoya’s younger sister?!) spots Tomoya leaving the bathroom and follows him back to his karaoke room. When she looks through the panel on the door, she spots Keiichi and blushes. HA, if those two end up being a ship this series will get a lot more amusing!
My thoughts: This episode pretty much sums up why I don’t like Mari. She’s whiny, screechy, annoying, and as Tomoya said everything is always about her. I get that she had plans to be only with Anna on her birthday, and that that was important to her because she loves Anna, but I get frustrated with how she’s so possessive of someone who is supposed to be her friend. Especially when it’s pretty clear that Anna doesn’t return Mari’s intense feelings. So god forbid that Anna might want to spend some time in private with the person she likes; Mari can’t suffer with Tomoya for a bit on their own so Anna can get something she wants? >:/ It probably wouldn’t have been as frustrating for Mari if she’d just been less of a pill in the first place anyways.
But I’m not completely unsympathetic. As annoying as Mari is, it does suck to have one’s plans change last minute, especially when it’s beyond their control.
So I guess in the end there was a little development for Mari, but time will tell whether that will change her personality and character for the rest of the series, or if this is just a temporary blip. It’d be awesome if she were less angry all the time, that’s for sure.
Also yay for a new end song!