Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Episode 4

Well, surprise, surprise, another adorable episode from the purest show of the season. Topics included Subaru overcoming more hurdles of conventional pet-owning, i.e., the collar, vet visits, and diet management, and also took his first steps into the challenging world of small talk with strangers and acquaintances. Every episode the number of people Subaru interacts with seems to get a little bit higher, and I really enjoyed the increased cast size of this episode. It’s like our world is opening up alongside Subaru’s.

They finally revealed a little bit more about Subaru and Hiroto’s relationship, even if it was the relatively small news that they’ve been best friends for 10 years. I’m sure we’ll get more backstory eventually, but it’s nice to have at least that much cleared up for now. I’m somehow surprised that it’s only 10 years; to be honest, I thought it would be longer. I’m liking Hiroto more and more every time I see him, though. His reaction to pet shop-chan knowing Subaru w­as absolutely priceless. Look at his face here. Have you ever seen so much information conveyed in one expression?

“My god… could it be? Is this… a chance for Subaru to get laid?”. This guy’s been waiting for his chance to wingman for years. And to his credit (and Subaru’s horror), after he says his piece he lets the two get on with things on their own. Hiroto is pretty much the best friend someone like Subaru could ask for. He’s there as a social crutch when it’s needed, but when it counts, and more importantly, when he thinks Subaru can handle it, he lets him deal with things alone. I don’t know why but I’m getting semi-emotional thinking about what a great guy Hiroto is. In fact everyone in this show is so good and understanding of Subaru, it’s really heartwarming. I hope everyone continues to be nice to him, he’s suffered enough.

Pet shop-chan is also very very cute and I like her a lot and I’m glad we got so much of her this episode. I’m pretty sure they still haven’t mentioned her name, though. Typical Subaru, he still hasn’t even thought to ask for it, bless him.

The relation of Subaru’s discomfort with the trappings of keeping a cat to his own mixed feelings about having his appearance fussed over by his mother is interesting. In some ways, it’s almost as if Subaru and Haru are parent and child, with his relationship with his own parents influencing his decisions in raising Haru. Not to mention, in having a dependent of his own, he seems to be finally understanding previously-confusing aspects of his parents’ behaviour towards him. It’s all very healthy and good and I’m proud of him.

Another interesting theme throughout the whole series so far is how the amount of care Haru requires contrasts with Subaru’s complete self-neglect. He’s always surprised at these little things that would occur to almost anyone else, like a collar, or a vet checkup, probably partially because he would rarely think to buy new clothes for himself or book a doctor’s appointment or really do anything other than read and eat enough food to keep himself alive (and even that isn’t a guarantee). He’s slowly learning about the importance of that self-care that the kids are always talking about these days. Who knows, maybe he’ll even graduate to eating things that aren’t instant ramen. The sky’s the limit.

Haru’s segment was a perfect end to the episode, that neighbour dog is a precious angel/all-around Good Boy and I hope we see more from him. Hands-down my favourite anime dog since Tadakichi-san from Azumanga Daioh. I also loved Haru’s bit at the end when she got the collar, agggh this show gets cuter every episode. And it started out pretty damn cute in the first place.

Excuse me I have to go now to reflect on how nice everyone is in this series. Can’t wait for next week!

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