Yamken becomes the fourth point in Tonari’s love quadrangle and Natsume starts to have a crush on Mitsuyoshi.
Things become even more complicated with Yamaken confessing his love of Shizuku to Haru. I wasn’t expecting him to fall for Shizuku so fast, but I guess this is a welcome development of sorts since Shizuku now has a confidante. And far from being a simple gang leader as I first thought, he’s apparently a tsundere with a heart of gold. He helps her go through her emotions logically (a bit of a paradox, but they actually make a map out of them) and treats her with a distant kindness. Eventually, he drives home his message-balance-a favourite motto of mine. Still, I wonder if all this kindness will translate into mutual love? Will he keep his distance as with Oshima? Or will we see a more aggressive push to win over Shizuku? Whatever the case, we now have two teams: Oshima-Haru and Yamaken-Shizuku.
Anyway, what does Yamaken see in Shizuku? Is he attracted to her aloofness or innocence? Or is it the praises and admiration that she gives him? Personally, I think it’s the former since he’s more similar to Haru than one would think. He’s distant and aloof from relationships with other people like Haru. It’s just that he hides it better under a veneer of normaility and cool detachment. You can sense this when you see how he treats his fellow “gang” members and the librarian. So, an equally distant and aloof person like Shizuku coming along will naturally pique his interest. Add that to Shizuku’s admiration of his insight, and you have yourself another case of unrequited love.
On the other side of the equation, Haru’s still as clueless as ever. Besides his academic genius, bumming around and keeping things the same sure looks like a talent of his. C’mon Oshima, knock some sense into this poor fellow here! I really wonder if both of them are ever going to solve personal issues on their own, but something tells me that that’s the exact opposite of what Tonari stands for.
The show seems to suggest that a couple in love needs outside support to survive. Heck, even Mitsuyoshi says this once in a previous episode. And what’s interesting is that a lot of romances, specifically “forbidden romances”, have couples in societies/groups hostile to their love. See the prime example “Romeo and Juliet”-that story has been adapted and reshaped countless times in as many forms. I’m not sure if the author was making stuff up as he went along ala Clavinball, but I’m really interested if any of you had similar thoughts.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines we see Natsume having a deeper crush on Mitsuyoshi than before. After budging in and “saving” her from the bullies, the sparkly shojo-vision she sees him in all but confirms the crush. Speaking of bullying, did that cause her initial shy and withdrawn nature?
Anyway, I’ve a feeling that this crush will end in the tearful flashforward we saw in the beginning of the series. I see Mitsuyoshi rejecting her and Sasayan helping her pick up the pieces. And guess who she falls in love with next?
Well, this episode was better than the recent muddled episodes. I liked how they focused solely on Shizuku with Yamaken’s point of view, leaving little to no distractions to break the flow like in the previous episode. There was that business with Natsume, but it gave us a glimpse into her past and wasn’t that out of place. Let’s hope that Tonari can ramp things up for the final stretch.