Everyone meets up at Natsume‘s Christmas party and the tension between Haru and Yamaken escalates. Also, Shizuku says the magic three words to Haru again.

Well that was a rare sight, seeing the entire main cast of the show (barring Nagoya) come together. I laughed a bit at Haru’s blunt reveal at the restaurant and the boisterous two from Yamaken’s gang, but there was a lot of wasted potential with this unique setting.

Why not use this chance to expand on Sasayan’s character or even the common dilemma shared by Yamaken and Oshima?

Unlike Natsume, Sasayan has been underwhelming as a supporting character so far. All he does he smile and act as a talking head for the others to talk to. Where’s the character development and what’s his motivation for staying with the group?  Thankfully, he does show hints of jealousy at Mitsuyoshi, but it barely goes beyond a vague and confusing comment. Why would he be jealous of Mitsuyoshi if Natsume’s just a friend to him? What does he even see in her? Sure they hang around a lot, but I can’t see why he would fall for her-unlike with Haru.

And on another battlefield, we have the two “losers in love”-Yamaken and Oshima. When they glared at Haru after his declaration of love, I really thought that those two could exchange notes or something. I know it’s too early (or rather late) for them to have any meaningful dialogue, but I’d really love to see something like the Taiga x Ryuuji squad from Toradora. I’d want less draggy drama though…

Anyway, I’m missing the main plot here-the conflict between Haru and Yamaken. The two have their first serious confrontation over Shizuku during this episode and it’ll be interesting to see how all parties react. How will Yamaken stand his ground now that Shizuku has assured Haru of her love? How will Haru deal with an increasingly bold rival? So many “hows”, so little time left…

I have to admit, that standoff between the two was really tense and well done; you could almost feel Yamaken’s fear and Haru’s anger oozing out. I think the fitting music also helped a lot to flesh out the mood, not to mention Haru’s cold eyes.  More of this please!

There’s also an impressive scene later on with Haru and Shizuku talking about spider webs. The story by Ryuunosuke Akutagawa-“The Spider’s Thread”-seems like a metaphor of Shizuku and the friends around her. The Buddha in the story lowers a thread into hell to save a particular damned soul; Shizuku-the string-befriends Haru. When the soul tries to climb out, he sees that others follow; after Haru, Shizuku befriends a string of people and Yamaken the rival appears. The soul yells that the rope is his alone; Haru confronts Yamaken over Shizuku. Finally, in the story, the rope snaps at that very moment and damns everyone to hell. It’s all very neat and fascinating, but will Shizuku-the thread-snap? And if so, what will happen to those who cling to her for salvation-her friends? Whatever the answers, I really liked how they referenced such a fitting story for this episode. Again, MOAR PLEASE!

All in all, Tonari 10 had an underused Christmas party setting, but it definitely shone in the Yamaken-Haru confrontation and short story metaphor. Here’s to a similar finale.