Before I even say anything about this episode, I just need to point out whatever the hell this was.
I love fighting games but Virtua Fighter wasn’t a game I grew up with so I didn’t even recognize the characters, until I went back and saw Virtua Fighter on the CD covers in the game store. Even with that I had no idea what Haruo was even watching/listening to and the fact that the episode spent a large amount of time on it practically ended me. It just kept going on and on with its 90’s music video goodness and I couldn’t stop laughing. Haruo’s mom’s “So this is what you’re into now?” just made it all better. This show has made me laugh out loud a ton, but whatever the hell this was literally had me cracking up the whole time. I love this show.
I think the biggest highlight of this episode was the showdown between Akira and Hidaka. First of all, it was hilarious that they both messed up when trying to select Akuma. After that slip-up and a warm-up match, the girls began their true battle. Hidaka successfully chooses Akuma, while Akira…picks Zangief. It surprises Hidaka because before Akira was also trying to select Akuma, but also the matchup is completely onesided in Hidaka’s favor. With this advantage, Hidaka does everything she can in order to win, even if that means going with a cheese strat. But eventually she realizes how crappy she looks and lowers her guard. And in that split second that she most likely expected, Akira was able to counterattack with her signature Pile Driver move and win round two.
The reason Akira chose Zangief is probably really simple. Yes, Zangief is her main and she does best with him, but he’s also the character she used when she first met Haruo. Since this is a showdown to win Haruo’s love, it makes sense that Akira would forfeit a strong character that would give her equal opportunity to win for the character that has a personal connection to her and the one that she loves. Hidaka pretty much figured that out near the end of the match, comparing her cheap love with cheap tactics against Akira’s strong will and strength. Does it make her love cheap?
Hidaka truly does love Haruo. Before she met him, she was just a girl that had zero passion for anything in her life. All she did was go to school and study, and she was jealous of Haruo because of how carefree he was compared to her. And it was because of him that she was able to realize her skills and love for gaming, and her life became significantly brighter filled with fun. And of course this led to her crush on him. Hidaka’s feelings are totally relateable and valid, and this isn’t a question of which girl is more deserving of him. Akira also harbors strong feelings for Haruo for pretty much the same reasons as Hidaka. Akira went to school, went home to study, and also did other activities. Her life was monotonous but more extreme, and when Haruo came into her life, it became a lot more better too. Both girls are valid in their feelings, and neither are cheap or weak. It’s sad really, because of course one of them is going to lose but they share much in common.
And it all points to Akira being the winner, because whenever it comes to her, he always works his ass off. While he tells Miyao that he only wanted to get a motorcycle license just to travel around easier, he wasn’t wrong about getting it to also visit Akira easier. It made me pretty happy to hear Haruo actually admit it with a smile on his face as he drove to Akira’s place to pay her a visit and
brag tell her to call him whenever she wanted to hang out. Hey, it looks like things are starting to move along! Until Akira frowns, the camera pans away and Akira takes a step away from Haruo with a pained expression on her face. She’s…stepping away?
Does that mean that she lost her match? I wasn’t expecting that outcome at all since it looked like Hidaka was crumbling by the end. But Akira’s behavior makes it seem so, which is pretty shocking. So now this is time for Haruo to make his move. What Haruo was saying in the next episode preview makes me confident that the wheels are really starting to turn in his head, and he’s going to have to face facts with how he really feels.