Double post this week since last week I was pretty under the weather. But dear goodness. I feel like so much happened in last week’s episode and it’s hard for me to get my head on straight to review what transpired. Well first off, looks like things went from 0 to 100 in the dramatics department.
Things start off gray and windy, with an obvious storm a brewing. We discover one of Hirotaka’s major weaknesses, thunderstorms. Which a flash shocks him so much that he ends up dropping his coffee can despite his usual emotionless expression. He even ends up wearing his headphones during work. Which I think if you can get the job done, it shouldn’t matter too much. (says the one who works with headphones while at work, heh) Though I think it’s hilarious that the reason he’s terrified of thunderstorms is because it caused the power to go out at his house as a kid and he lost all of his game data. Ah… I have gone through that before. I always had the mindset of a power outage as I play is very uncommon and ended up having to redo a bit of grinding in Tales of Vesperia because I didn’t save when the power suddenly went out… Anyways, what makes the moment better is that both Kabakura and Narumi sympathize with Hirotaka’s strife, leaving the only gaming otaku, Hanako out of the loop.
Though, judging from his behavior, this fear seems to be deeper seated than just from losing game data. After hitting his head from going to grab his pen, Hirotaka excuses himself to take a smoke break, leaving Narumi to be pretty worried. And I don’t blame her. I appreciate that despite his deadpan expression, Narumi is able to tell when something is bothering Hirotaka and even goes off to try and console him in her own way. I really like how she tried to get Hirotaka to come out of his little bubble and talk to her. We get a cute little flashback of them as kids, with Hirotaka having stayed home with a fever and Narumi comes to visit to see how he’s doing. It almost seemed like Hirotaka is only able to truly open up to Narumi and is the only one who can set him at ease when he’s feeling scared.
Which puts the next little segment into perspective. Another flashback of Hirotaka getting his ears pierced. I remember this part in the manga hit me right in the feels with just how terrible Hirotaka physically and emotionally felt piercing his ears. After deciding to take out the earrings, he ends up making it worse and it starts bleeding and he starts crying. But it hurts even more when we find out the only reason he got them pierced was because the guy Narumi either had an interest in or was dating at the time had a lot of piercings. When I first watched this episode, I was actually really confused as to why they decided to shove that part a bit randomly. However, after seeing the next episode I realized exactly WHY they put it in. But I’ll get into that later.
The second half of the episode consists of some oddly adorable and strange interactions between Kabakura and Hanako (the fact she said she would BL it up with Kabakura if she were a man was hilarious) with Narumi and Hirotaka looking enviously after them. Narumi seems to envy their relationship because of how in love they are with each other, despite their bickering. Hirotaka on the other hand sees something in their relationship that he and Narumi seem to lack. Both eventually come to the realization that their relationship has a pretty big lack of actual “dates.” I would argue that just spending time together doing things is still a date in it’s own right, but I can see why they’d feel the need to go out on a date. And while Kabakura and Hanako have a weird dynamic, there are a couple instances where they show such adoration for each other, it’s rather adorable. Especially in Kabakura’s case where he’s not exactly the most obvious with his affections, we actually get a glimmer of how much he adores her with that look after she made him promise to take her out this coming weekend.
However, we also get to see how insecure Hirotaka is about his relationship with Narumi. He starts feeling doubts about how much she enjoys being with him as a couple, especially after seeing how Kabakura and Hanako interact and the fact they go on dates. On a funnier note, I loved how Narumi got super mama bear over hearing that he was crying last night, immediately jumping to “WHO MADE MY NAOYA CRY?” but immediately settled down when Nao said it was because of a movie. I relate to that on a spiritual level. Both Hirotaka and Narumi start wondering about the idea of a date and talk about what Narumi did with her previous boyfriends. And thus we go straight into the first official date arc~
Our favorite otaku couple end up going to an amusement park, which looks pretty similar to Disneyland, for their official date outing. The funny thing about the date is that Hirotaka set up a rule where they’re not to talk about otaku related things or else they’d have to pay up, to which Narumi has to pay up twice in a row because she made very anime expressions and quoted some lines. And I love the fourth wall breaking with Hirotaka pointing out the expressions she made was not what a non-otaku would look. And I understand why Hirotaka wants to do this, but I feel like suppressing yourself of who you are just isn’t healthy, which is probably why Narumi’s previous relationships never worked out because she would always hide her otaku side from them.
It starts to grate on them as they wait in line with Narumi pointing out a couple of guys with her BL glasses on and Hirotaka has her pay up. And the two end up having almost nothing to say since they can’t talk about their similar interests during this date. Hirotaka is especially having a hard time to figure out what kind of topics to bring up but Narumi reassures him there are lots of things to talk about around them. The two then run around going on different rides and looking at different attractions. And then they come to the haunted mansion, where Narumi promptly freaks out and drags Hirotaka to the ride in a panic… only to find out she had accidentally grabbed Kabakura instead. Their expressions were priceless. So Hirotaka ends up riding with Hanako instead since both got separated from their dates.
Funnily enough, Hirotaka and Hanako aren’t even phased by the ride and just casually hold a conversation. Apparently Hanako was jealous of the two going to the amusement park so she begged Kabakura to take her as well and they ended up following them onto the ride. On the other end of the spectrum, both Narumi and Kabakura are freaking out with Narumi screaming and Kabakura keeping his eyes closed as if his life depended on it. But I honestly had to laugh really hard at how Narumi even got Kabakura to open his eyes. “You paid and stood in line for this. You’d be wasting it!” They then spend the remainder of the ride screaming at every jumpscare that occured with Narumi strangely keeping her arms crossed. To which I thought was very cute that she only did it so she wouldn’t accidentally grab onto Kabakura, since he wasn’t Hirotaka.
Speaking of Hirotaka, he and Hanako have a heart to heart. We don’t often see these two interact all that much, so it was a nice change of pace. Especially since these two are the more laid back of the pair (well, when Hanako isn’t heated). Hirotaka laments on how things haven’t changed from when he and Narumi were kids as she’s always the one dragging him along. However, Hanako reassures him that two people aren’t going to change at the same speed and it’s honestly fine for Hirotaka to take his time if he needs it. We also get a dash of Kabakura sweetness as well when he tells Narumi to make sure she goes on this ride with Hirotaka next time so she’d be able to cling onto him when she’s scared. Kabakura and Hanako sure are unexpectedly sweet in this episode. Especially when Hanako comments how Hirotaka has gotten cuter, but reassures Kabakura that he’s the cutest. This couple has seriously grown on me~ Especially when we get to see their more tender moments.
As the day begins to draw to a close, Hirotaka starts realizing just how much more Narumi has experienced in life than him. Stating how while he was just gaming, Narumi has experienced a lot of different things and I just LOVE the shot of Narumi walking ahead, leaving a kid Hirotaka standing there. He realizes that compared to Narumi, he’s still a kid. So this is where that weird part in the previous episode of Hirotaka piercing his ears comes into play. It was building up for this moment. Well played, A-1. Well played. Though the next part made me laugh really hard as Narumi comes back to ask what’s wrong only for him to reply that his feet are in extreme pain.
The two take a rest at a nearby bench and Hirotaka’s insecurities of their relationship bubbles up even more as he wonders if she enjoys being with him. And when Narumi states that “it’s not working for them. Let’s just end it,” I’m pretty sure not only Hirotaka’s heart stopped at that moment. Thankfully, Narumi only meant to end the no otaku talk and immediately went into overdrive about talking about all the otaku related things. And I do agree with her statement of depriving yourself is never good. Overindulging is a different story, but I do agree that when you’re with someone, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are from them or your interests. That isn’t to say all you should talk about are your interests, but moderation is fine and it is important to talk about other things.
The final kicker to this episode is when Narumi ends up giving Hirotaka a couple earrings as a gift. Despite playing it off as a joke at first, Narumi states that she wanted to see the him that wanted to become an adult and all the other parts she hasn’t seen before. It’s then that Hirotaka notices and reached over to push back her hair, revealing she’s wearing a matching pair. I absolutely adore how her face immediately gets super red when he does this. I honestly feel like this was the confirmation episode of Narumi’s feelings. While she never explicitly says how she truly feels about Hirotaka, I feel the earrings signify that yes, she indeed has very strong feelings for Hirotaka and she isn’t going to be leaving any time soon. And then… we ALL thought we were going to get another kiss. BUT NO. Hirotaka psyched us all out and instead gave her a hug. Though the fact that his ears were blushing made up for it, ‘cause that’s cute as heck.
Hirotaka then settles on moving at his own pace and even though it didn’t feel like it, he had been growing as a person. I do appreciate the character development from him, as graduale as it is. He isn’t settling with how he is, he’s gradually growing as a person and I like that. This episode was flipping cute and had a lot of rather touching scenes that people probably weren’t expecting. I do appreciate the build up the previous episode did for this episode now that I see what they were doing since at the time it felt really random. I absolutely loved the couple pictures of Hirotaka and Narumi and then Kabakura and Hanako in the end credits. Not to mention I really liked the shot of Hirotaka instead taking the lead with Narumi’s hand grasped in his. That was a really nice touch. I really am impressed with how the anime has been handling the manga’s content and even adding their own mixes into it. But man, there’s only two more episodes… I’m going to miss this series big time.