The run up to the Sports Festival was an exhausting and stressful time for Yukino and Arima, with the two of them barely able to see each other. Through it all, and all their responsibilities as club and committee members, they do manage to have a few nice moments together. And as the days before the event fly past, the two also begin their actual relationship, going on dates and opening up to each other much more. Some doubts surface during this time as well, and especially for Arima there are many difficult moments. But in the end the couple comes out stronger than before, and they even make something of a friend, even if he’s a rather annoying friend most of the time.
Has she cut herself off from thoughts of romance so much that a Coke commercial has become a model for romance? Kano needs to educate her in the shoujo classics.
Exhausted from her work, Yukino falls asleep in a classroom and has this dream, images and words from Arima floating into view.
Yukino’s dream brings her to tears, she misses seeing Arima so much. The way the shots narrowed in on her, showing an isolation kind of loneliness, then went to a wide, emptiness sort of shot, was a nice way to convey both aspects of her mood.
But a chance encounter in the hall brings her mood right back up. It’s really funny and cute how Yukino has just melted and gone right into lovey-dovey mode, when before she was so self-controlled.
Don’t interrupt his moment!
Later, up on the roof they have their first actual moment alone in days. Though for now it’s just a kiss on the cheek.
Happily for them, during and after the festival they are able to spend more time together, eating lunch and walking home from school.
While keeping overwatch on Arima, as hold habits die hard, Yukino notices that he’s around another guy a lot. The other girls inform her that the long haired guy with the dyed hair is Asaba, a popular and (by their standards) good looking guy. Since he and Arima appear to be such good friends, she decides that she should make an effort to get to know him as well. But the first time they meet, he insults her and says that he doesn’t know what Arima sees in her. It is on. Her kind approach snubbed, Yukino has not forgotten the techniques she used to wage war on Arima and employs them against Asaba. Kicking, stealing food, and various other means are employed by both sides until one day Yukino mentions Asaba to Arima. Annoyed at being made fun of when she was in such a good mood about going to the movies with Arima, she vents about Asaba and his womanizing ways. While Arima seems to just talk about Asaba normally with her, he’s not about to take any crap from him regarding his girlfriend. When he finds Asaba alone in the hall, he grabs his collar and tells him to lay off. On his way out, Asaba asks what he sees in her, and he answers bluntly: Yukino is with him without being motivated by gain, unlike Asaba’s ambitions for Arima to help him achieve his harem end.
Asaba’s borderline yaoi fantasies include Arima as his partner in crime, helping him attract all the girls to achieve his harem end.
Just after Asaba insulted Yukino, Arima had no idea what he was walking into.
Eyes start glowing when it’s time to fight? Maybe I am on to something with that Tsukihime angle…
Yukino is clearly running an attrition strategy, employing hit and run tactics for direct confrontation, and psychological attacks meant to break the will of her enemy in other instances.
In the final battle, Yukino attacks with her Solar Ray System.
Later, Arima reveals some of his capacity to be scary. Good for you Arima, sometimes you’ve got to be cruel.
Lots of cute chibi Yukino in these episodes.
He’s either professing to be after the girls to get with Arima, or he’s like the faux-yaoi troupe from Magical Play that pretended to be gay to get fangirls.
Arima is Yukino’s husbando. DO NOT CLAIM!
Are all people with that haircut and ear piercing jerks? Yes!
The day of Arima and Yukino’s date rolls around, but when Yukino shows up at the movie theater she ends up waiting for hours. She started out early, but now has no idea where Arima is. Making things worse, Asaba shows up and teases her about being stood up, but has overplayed his hand and ends up making an ass of himself in front of the crowd. When she starts crying though, he does apologize and offer his handkerchief. Just then Arima arrives, late because his mother became anemic and he had to help take her to the hospital. While Asaba kind of makes himself look foolish again as he tackles Arima and demands that he apologize, it is his weird way of making up for his words to Yukino, and after a few more words the three end up being friends. This is the last we see of Asaba for now except for a short conversation next episode, but I imagine he’ll be back as a supporting character now that he’s been psychologically Nanoha’ed into the group.
The date, not going so smoothly at this point. Also the rare shot of Yukino not wearing her school uniform, aside from her old track suit.
It seems a little ridiculous to leave an ailing parent for a date, but we all know that this is just a pretext for him to jump Arima, like he’s always wanted to.
Teasing Arima about being a “too pure-pure boy.”
The second episode this week has an interesting dual format, showing some scenes from the perspective of both Yukino and Arima. Both of them remember their thoughts from the dates they’ve been on using the same visuals, and then there is a part where both converse separately with Asaba. We also get one-after-the-other dinner scenes with the Miyazawa and Arima families, contrasting the two and their effect on the characters. Yukino is carefree and enjoying her love for Arima, but he keeps having bad memories and old restraints pop up in his mind. As free as Yukino seems to be with her feelings, he’s feeling awkward letting his out after years of shutting them away in his pursuit of scholastic and athletic perfection.
You mean awesome.
Bure bure bure bure.
Girls that act like old women are the best kind! Case in point: Miwako from Honey and Clover, Maria from Hayate no Gotoku, and Takako from Kannagi.
Arima has developed problems from years of trying to please his adoptive parents. They don’t seem like bad people, they probably wouldn’t even ask so much of him, but he’s overcompensating for the crimes of his biological parents.
The Miyazawa family, in something almost like a puppet show presentation, conversing over dinner and attempting to get the juicy details out of Yukino.
The horizontal visual presentation of the Miyazawa family is contrasted with the narrow, vertical one for the Arimas. Unlike the lively conversation, there’s only Arima’s father attempting to ask a question and then backing off. Everything is very formal in their language and manners, and there’s no real communication. Perhaps this is the fault of the parents not being able to connect with Souichiro, perhaps his driven attitude has made him unapproachable to them, or perhaps a combination of the two.
Yukino lamenting how all the couples from the Sports Festival seem to be breaking up. She makes a comment about the expiration date of their feelings, something that reminded me a lot of Officer 223′s ideas about expiration dates for love in Chungking Express.
Arima’s psychological issues really start messing with him by this point. He has no confidence, and keeps asking himself if he’s worthy of being together with Yukino. For a while he sits in an empty classroom stressing out about it, before falling asleep. Outside it starts raining, and there are closeup shots of the storm gutter and dripping faucets in the school, once more acting as a metaphor for his suppressed feelings and memories coming back to him. As he sleeps, Yukino finds him and watches him until he wakes up, seeing his sleeping face, which is one of those things that’s considered romantic (though I’ve never really understood why.) Alone in the school, they decide to pass the time and hope that the rain stops so they can walk home. Yukino runs around happily, and brings up something she had said earlier, that she doesn’t want to depend on anyone other than Arima. He sees how open she is with him, and keeps thinking about how he wants to be with her. Over and over again in his mind he keeps repeating it, and then finally runs after her and embraces her. The two are about to kiss, but a boom of thunder startles them and then they back away embarrassed. Arima especially so, as he runs off to the bathroom to wash his face and recover. But once again a bit of clumsiness breaks the tension and brings them together. Arima accidentally kicks a bucket full of water onto Yukino, and after a moment of silence they burst into laughter, then embrace again and kiss. A brief narration sequence and a quick word between Arima and Asaba end the episode, the couple now more confident than before.
Most of the symbols used in previous episodes were gone from this one, but the rain and water makes a brief appearance during Arima’s crisis of confidence.
Opening up is coming naturally to Yukino. The only things that have caused her stress these episodes have been the absence of Arima.
Arima’s internal monologue builds up to a roar and then he suddenly runs for Yukino, just before the interrupted kiss.
Lightening things up is Yukino’s own freakout after the thunder interrupts them, the song about being wary of boys replaying in her head automatically.
Comic mishap to the rescue once again.
Final Thoughts: – Referring to that last scene, the show so far has differed from most shoujo that I’ve seen in that the obstacles to be overcome are internal to the main characters. Most shoujo has the rival character(s) who must be opposed in some manner, along with some internal conflict, but thus far it’s all about dealing with the internal pressures and memories that threaten the relationship. Most of this has come from Arima up to this point, but Yukino has had her own sorting out to do as well. Getting into the characters’ psychology in this way is interesting, especially so early on so that if a rival does appear, the dynamics of the interaction with that rival will be grounded in a deeper psychological base than most shoujo characters get in an entire series. Though I would imagine that this emphasis is to be expected with both Hideki Ano and Kenichi Kasai onboard for this show.
- Much of the circumstances and personalities of Arima’s family have to be inferred at this point, so I’m hoping that we’ll get more direct access to them in the future. Inferring is fun, certainly, but it can only go so far when the viewer only has very limited information at this point.
- After the angst on Arima’s part in the previous two episodes, the more lighthearted and cute events of this week’s episodes was a nice change. Don’t get me wrong, those episodes were good and definitely had their place, but it’s nice to laugh and dddaaawwwww over the characters too. I’m greatly looking forward to more, even as I dread what may become of it in the end due to production issues.