Two different episodes this time, one introspective regarding Yukino and Arima, one focusing on the external events around them. We start off with a story of a day off together told by each of the characters, going through how they spend their time together, its awkward and sweet moments, and then the way that each of them thinks about how they’ve come to be together. Arima especially is thinking about his life before meeting Yukino and how it has changed afterwards. And the internal changes come with external social ones in the second episode with at least two rival factions whipping up jealousy and trying in their own ways to deny True Love and Friendship. Maho is playing the long game, more indirect and conspiratorial, while Tsubasa opts for the frontal assault.
I demand to see this scene animated!
Poor Kano and Tsukino. Yukino runs that place like a boot camp!
As Yukino went about her morning chores the background music faded a bit as if it was coming from this CD during the closeup, a Gainax technique I’ve seen before in Evangelion and FLCL.
So moe I died.
Free of her chores, Yukino meets Arima at his place…only to find Asaba there again, acting like a housewife. Arima can’t seem to get rid of the guy. I think all this talk of wanting a (female) harem is trying a little hard to hide something…
Here’s where the awkward comes in. They have the house to themselves after getting Asaba to leave, but they end up reading. Yukino’s not quite sure what to do with herself until she teases Arima about not showing his feelings as much as she is.
Though Arima took the teasing very seriously, to DDDAAAAAAAWWWWW, if unintended, effect.
Heat levels critical. Shut down sequence initiated.
The latter half of the episode concentrates on Arima remembering how his life has changed since he fell in love with Miyazawa. He had built up the sort of popularity that Yukino did, though not as intentionally. Being friends with everyone, having several girls ask him out, and excelling in class and sports were all things that should have made him happy, but he instead felt more isolated. Even though he was a central node in a pretty big network, he never felt very connected to anyone around him in a meaningful way. But one day he received a love letter that he thought was from Yukino, as it asked for him to meet the writer at the riverbank that he had told Yukino about. Once he was there, he was surprised and excited to see Yukino, only to have the actual author of the letter approach him from behind. But even though this was not the start of their relationship, he seemed to have found someone that he had genuine feelings for.
Random Star Trek reference that they hid in there. NCC-1701 being the hull number for the original Enterprise (and letters added to it for future Enterprises….don’t look at me like that!)
Oooh, harsh. This in the background of Arima turning down another girl.
Pages of animation drawing turned by hand, I like it. Very cool, and the disconnect between the anime and the static cells was a nice way of showing Arima’s disconnect from the people around him.
Ah, the strangely high occurrence of messy, wire crowded telephone poles in Gainax series of this time period (and others like Lain) finally makes sense to me now. As a symbol of connection, or lack thereof in this case, it works pretty well though.
Speaking of Lain. And being disconnected and metaphors. Gainax, I love you for putting in this much effort to enrich the show.
Arima’s happy, sunflower-y moment of realization. Also, this needs to be redone in higher resolution so it can make a proper desktop.
After a quick recap with Kano and Tsukino (and a cool visual background recap) things move to the external developments around Arima and Yukino. Yukino is tired out from staying up to study as she balances studying with spending time with Arima, and she’s once again the darling of her class even as she acts more normally. Her classmates are overall reacting well to this change, though they still fawn over Arima and wish they had a friendship like the two do with Asaba. But such ground is ripe for a demagogue who has no morals or respect for truth or civility. Such a demagogue comes in the form of Izawa Maho and her junta of followers, who quickly perform a coup on the class and set themselves up to rule on a campaign of lies and jealousy to legitimate their takeover. The girls in the class start buying into the junta’s lies and fickle as they are, now despise Yukino for taking ‘their’ Arima from them. At first Yukino feels that she’s brought this change in attitude upon herself, but soon recovers the indomitable will to persevere. But in this time of upheaval, Maho’s junta is not the only force at work.
Now that’s a recap segment with style. I only hope that the recap episodes I’ve been told are ahead are so well done.
In breathless anticipation of…MATH!
Asaba makes his scheduled appearance to stalk Arima…and hit on the girls, yeah, that’s it.
The group of good friends representing True Love and Friendship in this show. Since the number of factions has reached Zeta Gundam levels this episode, perhaps I should take to calling them the AEUG (Anti-Envious Unified Group.) The junta would have to be the Titans, and the upcoming third faction the ‘we don’t know the word subtlety’ Axis.
The lines in the background seem to suggest either the fracturing of the girls’ goodwill towards Yukino or their ensnarement in the web of jealousy that Maho and her junta have risen to power with.
The junta rose to power quickly in their coup, and with their populist scapegoating they now move on to assume the reigns of power and begin their aggression against Yukino. Hugo Chavez would be proud.
Pipes and conduits seem to be the occasional visual motif of this episode. Given how water indicated problems of the past or of self-doubt resurfacing, maybe these are supposed to show that the social problems are inevitable? Maybe that the one way flow of water within them means that these things were bound to happen?
Already the junta members are sucking up to their Supreme Leader.
But Yukino’s not going to let this stand. She even headbutts a metal box to summon up her determination, SHE’S JUST THAT HARDCORE!
Completing the Zeta Gundam analogy, Shibahime Tsubasa, aka Tsubasa Zabi, aka The Dragon, moves into the conflict. Much like Axis, she has been away for some time while events have transpired without her, but she’s ready to force her Zeonic ideals on everyone else. Short of stature but possessed with an aggressive mentality, she is Taiga’s evil twin. Having just gotten out of the hospital after a laughable skateboarding accident, she feels that her long standing crush on Arima makes her entitled to be with him, while he merely regards her as a little sister. Definitely has a Nadeko-style big brother complex going on. She instantly vows to bury Yukino like it’s 1956 or something, and immediately starts by trying to set herself up as the victim when she, Arima, and Yukino meet. Squeezing Yukino’s hand and then blaming her for the reaction among other feints, she then goes to far and tries to physically go after Yukino until Arima catches her, buying none of her act. It is a swift and total defeat for Tsubasa’s opening offensive, but her crying and and her friends’ advice to the contrary doesn’t stop her from resuming aggression. Unable to fight head on near Arima, she resorts to a campaign of terrorist attacks and ambushes on Yukino alone. However there is not unity in the Axis camp, and her friends approach Yukino offering support and asking for restraint in any future counterattacks.
For one, intellect and personality. For seconds, because she doesn’t have a bloated head like a Kanon character. Oh yes Key fans, I went there.
Why she’s earned her codename ‘The Dragon.’
Spoken like a true yakuza boss. Who’s going to compensate me for this, HHHUUUUHHHHH?! You better pay up before my friends get mad!
You’d get along just perfectly with Ume ‘Vichy-tan’ Kurumizawa.
THIS HAND BURNS WITH A, ah, you know the rest.
Tsubasa tried to be 3 times faster but had her Char kick interrupted by Arima.
Arima sees what you did there.
Yeah, take a good long look at it Tsubasa. Let it sink in and SMASH YOUR HEART INTO ATOMS!
Even your compatriots aren’t surprised by your defeat.
She begins her campaign of petty hit and run attacks, being soundly defeated in honorable combat.
Meanwhile the junta prepares its next move while Supreme Leader Maho fancies herself a poet. Tell me Maho, are you familiar with the works of Shan Yu?
Final Thoughts: - Episode 08’s kiss was nice in that it showed how awkward they can be when they have time to themselves. When they’re not fighting the power or their own personal insecurities, they can be pretty uncomfortable with what to do with themselves, but Arima managed to come through it by being very straightforward with how he responded to Yukino’s teasing.
- I expected a rival or two, but not all at once. Few shows have as many factions going on at the same time, and it’s great fun to see. We might not have seen the last of Tsubasa Zabi, even if her Axis compatriots aren’t onboard for renewing her failed offensive. But the junta is the major threat in my analysis. Maho has seemingly competent and highly motivated lackeys, and she displayed the patience not to act prematurely at the first signs of Yukino and Arima becoming close. We saw here giving the couple the evil eye in the first episode or two, but she’s only unveiled her true intent now. She picked the perfect time to work her insidious ideas into the crowd, and knew how to play them like a musical instrument (admittedly not hard to do since they just needed a pretext to unleash their unspoken jealousy.)
- Both Maho’s appeal to her classmates and Tsubasa’s hatred for Yukino were all very…high school. Petty and jealous over someone they’d ordinarily respect, though I suspect that there’s more to Maho’s anger. I’d even say that it was very Japanese high school in that Yukino and Arima going out is the cause of the girls turning on Yukino, not so much how Yukino used to put up a facade. It shows a high concern for the feelings of the other girls along with a sense that they’re owed something for having such feelings, as well as jealousy over others having more than the group standard. It disrupts the group centered status quo when the two find love. See: “Everyone’s Kazehaya” from Kimi ni Todoke.