Fumiya’s honest thoughts is just too pure for the world. I lost it when he pointed out that Shuji was tiny, which i was just like “OH MY GOD OF ALL THINGS YOU COULD’VE SAID!” but luckily he had Takei and Takahiro- I thought it was hilarious how the boys were impressed by him though, they certainly weren’t expecting it. That said, Fumiya had some difficult tasks to achieve today, but was able to complete all of them. We definitely have to thank Takahiro for being a great support when he swooped in and saved Fumiya from becoming Shuji’s gopher for the camp. That really helped him start off on the right foot.
We also learned a bit more about Takahiro today, namely about how he was considering to date a girl from another school. But this conversation perplexed Fumiya, as he couldn’t understand why Takahiro would want to date the girl if he didn’t even like her in the first place. I was a bit surprised too when I heard it because I am pretty sure he likes Aoi, and I still do. Apart from that, I really enjoyed their conversations and their newfound friendship.
As for Shuji, well not much development there between him and Fumiya. Makes sense considering the objective of the camp is to get Shuji and Yuzu together, but it didn’t change the fact he was still acting like an ass. However I am still a bit unsure whether he really likes her or not. He definitely has a spot for her though, but he isn’t going to be honest about his feelings just yet… but it does make me wonder who would be first to confess, haha!
Meanwhile in the middle of all of this, we have poor Takei, who was left out of the planning process for the match making mission. While it’s easy to laugh about, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him because I can relate to being left out of the loop. It especially sucks when it happens in front of you. I don’t know if the story will dive into Takei’s character, but I think his character and dynamics with the group of how he tends to find himself excluded from various things because he is considered ‘useless’ (though Aoi is probably the only one who thinks of him in that way) is something that can be potentially explored further. Hilariously though, he inadvertently helped them out by getting Shuji to catch Yuzu in the river when she stumbled from being frightened by the river crab Takei picked up.
The overnight barbecue went by without any major incidents or dramas, but the end of it was certainly a tense one. As suspected, Takahiro indeed has a crush on Aoi, and mustered up the courage to confess to her. He was promptly rejected, but the worst part about it was the way Aoi did it. I am glad that Fumiya and Takahiro saw through her follow up act and called her out for it, but it really rubbed me the wrong way how she couldn’t even reject him without putting on a stupid act as the perfect high-school heroine. I found that really disrespectful of her, and I’m glad he called her out on that too.
On the other hand, we have Fumiya who continues to be apologetically honest. He came out of hiding and apologized to Takahiro for overhearing the entire conversation and confession. It is the exact reason why Takahiro admires and respects Fumiya to the point he realized he wanted to try being more true to himself too.
The theme of this week’s episode was very much about being “True to Yourself” and marking the next phase of the journey, of how Fumiya and Aoi are now pursuing different paths. There were two instances that cleverly displayed the themes. The first was at the beginning of the episode where Fumiya stood under the light and Aoi stood in the darkness. The second was at the end of the episode set at the station. Fumiya is sitting on the light side, and Aoi is standing on the dark side, taking a different track.
Fumiya arrived at the crossroads on the eve of his date with Fuka. That night, Aoi tasked him with the mission to confess his feelings to Fuka. But after witnessing what happened the night before, he disagreed with her orders of “put on a show” and decided to think about what he wanted to do instead. So he went into the date with no prior preparation, just his true self and creating his own conversations. It was clumsy, moments of awkward silence, but that’s totally normal! And guess what? When he asked Fuka if he was easier to talk to this time, she said yes. I also cheered when Fumiya didn’t confess! I have so much respect for him sticking to his principles and choosing his own path based on what he wants to do.
But when it came down to sharing the report with Aoi, man did that get ugly real fast. The moment Fumiya broke the news how he chose not to confess, and went in without any preparations in advance, and shared Fuka’s answer to his question, everything went south. Aoi was not pleased and the moment she realized they were not on the same page, she decided to cut ties with him.
Frankly, I am not surprised she decided to “break up” her friendship with Fumiya over this. We saw how she reacted when she realized that she misread Fumiya’s character. She thought the two of them were on the same page and would be able to understand each other. But now that Fumiya declared that he disagrees with her approach to the game, she quits.
The problem with Aoi is how she wants to be in complete control of her life, and to some intent, that includes those around her. Those missions she has been assigning to Fumiya is in part controlling the game, and the minute he rebels, rather than praising him for having the courage to think for himself, she belittles him for it. It is rather unfortunate and incredibly sad how Aoi refuses to drop her mask and be honest in return. I was so glad that Takahiro saw through her mask and called her out when she continued to put on an act with her perfect high-school heroine avatar while she responded to his confession.
I suspect there are deeper reasons why she chooses acts this way, but man, it was so nasty of her to ridicule Fumiya’s sincerity and claim he is “abandoning” his personal development. Now that really left a bad taste in my mouth! But it also begs the question: Is Aoi truly satisfied with how she is living her life right now? Is she fine with just being an avatar molded to fit various situations and social circles. In fact it’s actually insane how much work she puts into creating this avatar. Isn’t it exhausting to keep up an act? I can’t imagine it is satisfying either because you’re just playing the part. I mean, where’s the fun if you can’t even be honest about your feelings?
Next week is the final episode, so I’m wondering how this incident is going to be resolved. It will be interesting to see how things will unfold from here on out, because as I have said it before and I’ll say it again, so as long as Aoi continues to do this, she will find herself on a very lonely path. Heck, she probably already does, and that’s why she was so upset that she had lost someone she had thought to be a kindred spirit. This episode sets the stage of putting Aoi to the test. Both Takahiro and Fumiya saw through her mask and called her out on it. Now we are about to see what kind of results the boys will achieve by earnestly living and be true to themselves, while Aoi stubbornly continues standing on the side-lines controlling her stand-in Avatar. Besides Tackfam, this is certainly a mission that Aoi is bound to lose, and I wouldn’t be surprised if under that confidence of hers, somewhere deep in her heart, she is deathly afraid of all of her efforts being all for naught. People and Human Connections aren’t tasks and goals, and once people realize that’s all they are to her, she is going to be left behind.