This was a much better episode than last week, and I enjoyed it quite a bit! It’s nice to see the circles be shaken up a bit, especially with the usual tension between Tama and the boys (because of the previous history of a feud with Shuji who they sided with at the time). It originally started off with just Fumiya and Tama doing some of the basics that Aoi had taught Fumiya when he was starting out. Then Mizusawa stuck his nose in because he thought maybe Aoi was involved (no surprise there), but decided to stick around after Fumiya suggested to serve as Tama’s partner to practice conversing with. And then thanks to Mizusawa, Takei joined the party too. It was certainly an unsual circle, but it was precisely because it was different than usual which what made it so refreshing an interesting to watch.
I loved how frank Tama was with Mizusawa. She just straight out called him out on the shit he has done like saying mean things behind her back, and explained she doesn’t like that, so that’s why she has been avoiding him. Mizusawa was shook, but deserving so ahahaha. But to Tama’s credit, she was willing to give him a chance, which is why she agreed in the first place to have him as a practice partner.
Speaking of Mizusawa, I thought it was rather accurate how he later described himself to be a schemer after Fumiya told him how he’s a ‘great guy’. When we first met Mizusawa, I was quite skeptical of his intentions, but he did reveal to be a rather genuinely nice guy. Of course what that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ulterior motives, (one of which to be close to Aoi as possible), but one thing he has proven is that he’s the earnest type when it comes to committing himself to helping out. He even called in Takei since he figured he’d be a good fit for the job (which, he was, and he and Tama got along very well). Just as long as he doesn’t backstab anyone, we’re good. (Please don’t disappoint me!)
And honestly, Mizusawa did his part wonderfully. It was actually fun to see the him and Tama interact with each other, mainly because despite their differences. It was funny how it was the subject of romance that actually ended up being the icebreaker for them. Tama frankly asking him if he liked Aoi led to Mizusawa observing that she seems to be interested in the subject of romance. And from there on out the rest was history. Mizusawa also served as incredibly useful in covering areas that Fumiya himself isn’t fully accustomed to yet, such as understanding/identifying one’s charm. This actually led to a really interesting observation of how Takei is someone who the class considers charming and were responsive when he suggested soccer, where as when Tama suggested volleyball, the class was filled with an awkward silence. So they’ve decided perhaps figuring out what makes Tama charming will help improve her relationship with the class so that they’d be more sympathetic to her when it comes to Erika’s hostility. And to their credit, their present strategy is working. By simply ignoring Erika’s provocations, this effectively reframes her as the instigator as it always had been. Now Erika can’t use her volume or words against her.
Another interesting and very fair point that came up this episode is: Knowing who your classmates are. It’s fine not to care about them, but at the very least knowing their names will help in the long run. That’s like the bare minimum of courtesy, especially if you’re going to have to work with them for group projects and the likes. When Takei was listing off a bunch of names, Tama didn’t have a clue who he was referring to.
I think the biggest takeaway from this episode was how it has quite effectively become a team effort to help Tama grow and adapt to the situation in order to get it under control. The group has grown from Fumiya, Mizusawa and now Tapei, which huge considering Shuji really doesn’t like Tama, and Mizusawa made a point how they’d have a target on their back if they get caught helping her out. This is new team serves as a major contrast to Aoi, who has effectively been running her own mission solo.
As it so happens, the names Takei listed were pretty important because he’s the one sharing the information of what Aoi has been doing behind the scenes. It appears Aoi is working to have Erika’s ‘friends’ turn on her and leave her altogether, so that suddenly Erika will find herself all alone. Then once she has been made vulnerable, Aoi will have rallied the class to finally turn on her completely. The idea would be to drive Erika into a corner, so that she would call quits to the bullying. And this is why Aoi argues that Tama doesn’t need to change, because the way she sees it; she can fix it by manipulating the players to attack the boss. If Aoi’s plans are allowed to go off without a hitch, this is probably where things will get real ugly real fast.
But is that really the way to resolve the problem? Regardless of the shit Erika has done, it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth to inflict the same kind of medicine to another.
And finally, before we wrap up: Fumiya made an accurate point today, wondering just how many layers of masks Aoi has on. Each time one falls, it seems as though there’s yet another in place. It’s going to take a lot to uncover Aoi’s true self, and in many ways, and I can’t remember if I mentioned this in the first season, but it has crossed my mind lately how this really attributes to perhaps why her alias is called: NO NAME. Who is Aoi really? NO NAME suggests she’s a nobody, and as far as we’re concerned: Aoi wants to be a somebody with presence and power (to being in control of things). The sheer lengths she goes to molding herself to fit just about every conversation and situation is actually insane. So what drove her to such lengths to do so in the first place is very likely to reflect how she plans to deal with Erika, and boy… I’m worried how this might unfold because she has no intention of switching gears just yet.