Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Episode 9

Our boy! He did it! He did the fan thing! It actually turned out to be a much less dramatic affair than I thought it might have been in that I expected Subaru to freak out a little more, but he actually managed to keep relatively calm. He definitely needed the moral support that Atsushi was on hand to provide, but he still did a really good job (even if he forgot to thank almost everyone). I feel like a proud parent.

This event was another great step for Subaru’s adventures in finding book buddies. I almost died at that scene with the little boy, I loved it so much. It seems like he’s finally starting to realise that there’s a huge community of people who love books just as much as him, and he’s inching closer and closer towards being an active participant.

Something I really like about this show is that it’s very careful to show you how Subaru’s world is improving due to the positive changes that he has decided to make in his life. A lot of other series, both Western and Japanese, are guilty of having withdrawn characters be “saved” by an extrovert who’s decided to make them a project for whatever reason. In contrast, in Doukyonin, Subaru really saves himself. Of course, he could never have done it without the help of Haru and his friends (and his parents), but when it comes to social interaction, ultimately, nobody has pushed him harder than he has pushed himself since Haru came into his life. For example, the press event was suggested to him, but he was the one who decided to go ahead with it. As a side note, this is also why I’m such a fan of Hiroto. In lesser works, he could easily have been the quirky, outgoing sidekick who magically cures his friend of the dreaded introversion by shoving him into social situations until he likes them. It’s unrealistic and, frankly, a little rude, as if a shy person is only worth befriending as an act of charity. Instead, Hiroto supports his Subaru when he needs it, but (generally) respects his need to be alone and, most importantly, appears to have genuine respect for Subaru as a person.

Another nice thing about this episode is that Subaru seems to be learning to sweat the small stuff a lot less. This episode alone, he’s learned two vital lessons: people don’t care if an author they like gives them a wonky autograph, and people will understand if you suddenly bolt when unexpectedly confronted with fans of your book. Or at least Nana will. I was absolutely sure either she or her brother showed up, but I was still so excited when it actually happened. It’s all out in the open, at last! I’m sort of sad Yuugo wasn’t there because his reaction would have been priceless, but I think it might have been a little too much for Subaru anyway, so it’s probably for the best. He’ll find out eventually anyway. And the scene with Nana was super cute on its own (so cute that Atsushi also appears to be a Nana/Subaru shipper now). This part where he thanks her is absolutely perfect.

Yeah no shit Subaru, I think the whole town heard you. God bless.

I feel bad that I don’t have as much to say about Haru’s part, even though it was equally cute and full of character development! Sort of. She might have undone a bit of it at the very end by misattributing her loneliness to hanger. Well, to be fair, she was probably also hangry. She has, at least, acknowledged the concept of loneliness with the help of Taro, the deceptively emotionally mature neighbour dog, and she’ll grow to understand her feelings more from here on out, I presume. Seriously though. Taro is in desperate need of more screentime. So wise and majestic. If I could wish for one thing to happen before the end of the season, it would be for Taro and Haru to get an episode where they finally hang out.

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