I’m so glad we got a Sayaka-centered episode, and I think this had to be my favorite episode of this show so far. It touched on things that I really wanted to know about, and it gave even more depth and development to characters. Sayaka finally got the time to shine so we could learn more about her and her difficulties and denial of her sexuality, and her romantic feelings towards Nanami.
It’s just a phase. That’s such a crappy thing to hear. I’m not gay so I can’t relate to Sayaka, or any homosexual person who gets told that their feelings are “just a phase” but my god I feel for you guys. But it’s such a sad, but realistic thing, that those with homosexual feelings buy into the “phase” bullcrap.
I was always confused whether or not Sayaka felt romantic feelings for Nanami, and it’s confirmed that she does. The episode opens up with a flashback of Sayaka in middle school, where her senpai confessed her feelings to her. At first Sayaka had found it strange, for girls to date girls. But the relationship became very romantic. But things suddenly fell apart when Sayaka’s girlfriend at the time came back to meet her after weeks of no contact and broke up with her, saying that they shouldn’t pretend to date anymore. That it was all just a phase. We don’t really know anything about this girl and I had to wonder if she really felt that way, or that she just said that because apparently girls dating girls isn’t normal. Either way, it broke Sayaka and it made her feel like there was something wrong with her for feeling that way. And that’s a common thing when it comes to LGBT people that don’t really comprehend their feelings and are told by others that they’re strange, or what their feeling is just a phase and that it’ll all pass. What Sayaka does next is also pretty common. Her middle school was all-female, so she decided to go to a co-ed high school to immerse herself with the opposite sex. It was pretty much a desperate attempt to deny herself and to make herself “normal” by hoping that maybe she would go out with a boy. But that was ruined when she saw Nanami and fell for her. Her romance with her girlfriend definitely wasn’t a phase.
I’ve seen some people complain that Riko-sensei and the cafe owner being lesbian was a little unrealistic, and I can kind of understand it. The convenience of two lesbians around these young lesbian girls just makes it seem like EVERYONE in this show is gay and it’s kind of hilarious, but on the other hand, if one of those lesbians is going to be a confidant to one of these confused lesbian girls, then I don’t care.
I like Sayaka and I want her to be happy. Also, seeing a healthy lesbian adult couple in an anime is rare too. Sayaka had gotten suspicious when the cafe owner said “Welcome back” to Riko-sensei, and that was a huge hint that they lived together. Sayaka returns to the cafe and bluntly asks if they’re in a romantic relationship. And nonchalantly the cafe owner agrees. I’m surprised that Sayaka didn’t get emotional in this moment, because at this exact moment she learned that “Hey, it’s not a phase. These are two successful women that genuinely love each other.” And that basically Sayaka validate herself, and this moment was also very beautiful because Sayaka was finally able to talk to someone honestly about her feelings about Nanami and how right now she can’t confess her feelings to Nanami right now. With Japan’s conservatism with LGBT+ issues, there’s denial and confusion for many people that see themselves as part of this community. Sayaka’s been in denial, or worse, probably thought there was something wrong with her. Having someone to talk to about these issues and feelings is really important and I hope Sayaka makes it a regular thing to talk with the cafe owner. All of this painted Sayaka in a whole different light, but I also still feel pretty bad for her because she thinks her friend is someone that will never love and will never belong to anyone, but she couldn’t be more wrong. But she’s been suspicious of Nanami and Koito.
Another thing I really wanted the show to delve into was why Nanami fell for Koito and not for Sayaka when Sayaka has always been there for her. The visuals were really brilliant, by the way. Koito and Sayaka are both kind, but in different ways. Sayaka is kind in that she doesn’t overstep any boundaries and isn’t too nosy. She wants Nanami to stay her “perfect” self and doesn’t ask about who she really is, and that’s simply because Sayaka is in love with this fake Nanami she doesn’t do that. But Yuu does overstep boundaries and prods her way to the other side, being the only person to see Nanami for who she really is and accepting her. Whenever Nanami is with Koito, she can let loose and be who she really is, and it’s understanding why she finds it so relaxing and comforting. And it’s not like Nanami doesn’t appreciate Sayaka because she really does, but when it comes to romance, her heart is with Koito. And it all makes sense, and it’s brilliant, and I love it. Hearing Nanami and Sayaka’s inner monologues when describing each other was a great touch as we finally got to hear how they see each other.
This episode was fantastic. The issues the show brings up when it comes to homosexuality is handled with care and respect, and it feels very realistic. The emotions and thoughts the characters have are all written very well, too. These last two episodes have been great so I hope this momentum continues. Sayaka is best girl, by the way.