Amagami SS episode 23, Tsukasa arc part III – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Much like in the film I referred to, I prefer the Bad.

The Tsukasa arc is definitely bringing the drama. Tsukasa breaking form to publicly display her bad side, strangely good Tsukasa showing up after some sort of (self-imposed?) multiple personality disorder, and ugly dissenting classmates springing up when the work for the festival needs to be done. And a kiss and some DDDDAAAWWWW and not one but TWO slaps. Great stuff, though I feel bad for Tsukasa and whatever is going on with that personality change. Let us hope that she returns to young Cima Garahau mode soon.

Starting out there are some nice, everyday scenes around school that segway into the drama that would follow. But for the moment things are nice as the characters eat lunch. As a nod to the first arc we see Haruka eating the notorious roleplay buttercorn ramen…but with Hibiki! Oh, if only we had been privy to that conversation! I think it’s safe to assume yuri outside of the Haruka arc there. Away from the tables Junichi and Tsukasa sit and eat bento, the food made and packed by Tsukasa in her strongest sign yet of her attraction to Junichi. It really does seem like going out of her way to be friendly and get his attention, and it’s nice to see her moving relatively fast. Definitely faster than I expected. She must have a quick OODA Loop for romance as she’s been by far the most forward and direct.

Go ahead, feed it to her…

So as you once were, now you are again. The circle is complete.

At lunch the Axis of Bitchy begins to focus their hatred and jealousy towards Tsukasa and Junichi. Since Tsukasa can’t complete all the preparations with just her and Junichi she’s been forced to recruit help, the Axis among them, who just proceed to bitch and sow dissension in the ranks when the committee members aren’t there. But instead of holding up her mask, Tsukasa throws it to the ground and does full-on BADASS like some sort of younger Cima Garahau or Millia Fylene Jenius. Think she’ll just fold when you start bitching and complaining? When it’s your festival too? Tsukasa doesn’t give a f***. It was a wonderful sight to behold as she went up to the Axis leader, chewed her out, and then challenged her to try and make a come back which she couldn’t deliver.  Served! Served! Served! Served!

Tsukasa, you’ve never been more beautiful.

HELL YES!

Tsukasa in a definite RISE ABOVE moment.

Yes! Let the hate flow through you!

With the uprising beaten down for now there’s time to move on to other things. After school Tsukasa takes Junichi to the shrine where she first began indoctrinating him for a talk. She burns her notebook and symbolically abandons the solitary, perfectly planned way of doing things from before she got to know Junichi. But as interesting as that action was, her Senjyougahara moment was the highlight of the arc so far (at least to me.) It’s a bit sudden but she wasn’t really sure how to go about it. But with the ice broken blasted wide open it does allow her and Junichi to get right to the point and confess to each other. And then that kiss. DDDDDDAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW! There hasn’t been one anywhere near as sweet since the final Kaoru arc episode. I’m quite glad that this arc has dispensed with the unconventional kissing locations, as that only really worked in the Haruka arc. And DAT NOSEBLEED! Nice to see non-fujoshi girl characters get so excited.

Best. Proposal. Ever.

Bah, who needs those!

DDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW!

Now shouldn’t Junichi yell “hentai!” and run off or something?

At this point there are two major events left to unfold, one in keeping with the pace and theme of the episode and the other a curveball. The Axis of Bitchy resorts to the cowardly tactics of Yuuka, Kurumi and Mahou and organizes the other girls to bully Tsukasa during dodgeball. But Kaoru shows her disdain for such lowlife bullies and joins Tsukasa, and then more reinforcements show up after Junichi hurriedly completes his assigned laps. Definitely a GAR moment for Kaoru there, and the way she stood beside Tsukasa, head slightly down and ready to fight reminded me of some of the best team-up moments in fighting or mecha shows when the new ally or returning old friend shows up to stand with their comrade against huge odds. The final blow against the Axis comes later when Tsukasa brings out the crocodile tears again and shames them in front of the class into rejoining the festival efforts, though it took a tense moment of emotional outburst on her part the night before to decide to act that way. Junichi tries to appeal her stubbornness and say that it’s not like her to jeopardize the festival planning when she slaps him then breaks out in tears over Junichi being so kind to her when she expects him to know ‘the truth.’ But then the next day she’s acting all perfect, even when alone with Junichi. And then the bombshell: she says that “that girl” isn’t here anymore. That this will make getting along with everyone easier. I kind of doubt that this is true multiple personality disorder exactly since she seemed to will away her more assertive personality. But it’s not really a healthy thing to be able to completely create and change personality like that in response to what others want, to the point of one’s mind thinking of each personality as a separate existence. Either way, both Junichi and myself are concerned and not happy about this change. As Junichi said in the preview “what happened to the person I fell in love with?”

HELL YEAH! Needs a bro-fist and some hero music!

Maybe this is something like that supposed ‘moe effect’ but I feel so bad for Tsukasa right here.

DAT GOOD MORNING. I had to listen to it two or three time. Hhhhhnnnnngggggg.

Wut?

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23 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2010 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    It was a wonderful sight to behold as she went up to the Axis leader, chewed her out, and then challenged her to try and make a come back which she couldn’t deliver. Served! Served! Served! Served!

    So much win delivered by Tsukasa. I was torn between laughing at her complete and utter smashing of the bitch and fist pumping at how fucking awesome she is. Goddamn, Tsukasa is amazing.

    DAT NOSEBLEED!

    DAT NOSEBLEED :D Best Proposal ever indeed. Her reaction of “Uh, did I skip a few steps?” was so hilarious.

    I’m still puzzled over where Queen Tsukasa went, but as this isn’t Key, I doubt it’s really something like multiple personality disorder and more along the lines of what you said. Although, I guess she’s decided she needs to use that nice girl facade all the time now, even with Junichi. Here’s hoping Junichi Mk VI will show Tsukasa the error of her ways and she’ll return to the throne as Queen again. :p

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Hehe, I was both laughing and fist pumping during that scene. Sooo good.

      Very much agreed on the personality issue. This isn’t Key and it would come from out of nowhere to actually have her with some sort of mental issue. I’m thinking that she’s overcompensating for her outburst by trying to switch her nice mode to ‘always on.’ Even with Junichi, since she may have gotten the wrong impression as to what he likes about her when he shared his faith in her abilities.

  2. Godlet
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Well done. To you for the post, and the staff for the episode. DAT NOSEBLEED was a fantastic touch to a good confession scene, and all the other scenes you talked about above were generally very enjoyable. Though the somewhat deus-ex-drama of fake schizophrenia I found a bit lazy on the part of the story team (maybe it’s just sticking to the source material, but hell, that’s not good material if it is). I have been struck though by how much I like that the production team has managed to give Tsukasa a multi-faceted personality, unlike any of the girls in previous arcs.

    I’m going to stick by my defense of her as a legitimately “good” person. Not because I fanboy for her (I just don’t get into that); but because I just haven’t seen her do anything particularly wrong to find any justification for it. I like her as a character because I like someone that knows what they want from life and is willing to go and get it, and isn’t willing to take crap from people who are jealous that they lack the capability or motivation to do the same.

    I also felt pretty bad for Tsukasa when J6 said “things like that even though you know”. I’m figuring her self-imposed change of heart is an attempt to do what she thinks will make J6 happier. As (thankfully) hinted by the preview, is in fact not at all what he wants. If they went with a “you have to be sunshiny-happy-person all the time” ending, I’d be pretty frustrated.

    • Zorapup
      Posted December 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      That last paragraph about changing herself to appease Junichi is actually a good theory. I guess when Junichi suggested to ask the students for help she might have taken it as a 180 change in self in order to become a person he would like. Since he had mentioned liking the personality of Yukari, (well the kind part of it).

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the compliment on the post. The writers for the show have definitely been in top form again for this arc, and it’s wonderful to see what they can do when they put in the effort. I’m still not buying any sort of full-fledged multiple personality disorder or anything. I’m pretty certain that it’s a selective thing that she’s choosing to do to respond to events but that she’s just that committed to it and/or has the strength of will to intentionally override her real personality. Not healthy for her, but definitely not diagnosable.

      I’d agree that she’s a good person. She hasn’t actually harmed anyone by what she’s done. No one’s been hurt or ostracized or otherwise negatively impacted by what she’s done, in contrast to how the Axis girls were bullying her.

  3. Tama
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    great post, compared to manga i never expected things going darker. And with that kiss & contract sealed junichi officially become substitute for her notebook (i guess dat notebook contain so many problems in her daily life) for now her current relationship with junichi looks fake but not later on. Well, lets see how AIC resolve this Arc with only one episode left and personally i dont think this complicated matters can be solve with simple answer unless AIC rushed the conclusion.

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s actually kind of nice to know that the anime is taking a bit of a darker approach to this arc. Doing so is really making it more dramatic and letting it stand out from the other five arcs. We should find out soon if the arc concludes in the standard four episodes or if the 25th episode will be an extension of it. Only a few hours until the subs will be out I’d imagine.

      Thanks, I certainly had fun with the posts. I’m hoping that my enthusiasm for the better arcs like this one comes through in my writing.

  4. master_recrecia
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Nose Bleed!

    man, this episode sure get me excited. I hope it concludes with a bang! or will there be a 25th episode? :D

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link. Time to add that to my reading list once the anime finishes.

      I’m really excited for the soon-to-be-released 24th episode to see if it ends now or continues into ep 25. I’d really like it if it were to get that fifth episode.

  5. Lectro Volpi
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    What? but she is a better person here (not good just better) than in the manga… I’ll tell ya later punks.

    Glad Maya-chan ended her lecture quickly, Tsukasa was going to smash her.

    Kaoru earned post-arc points, show em’ how it’s done!

    I do feel some sympathy for the third girl of the bullies, she does not have her own opinion and just repeats what the first and second girl says.

    Thanks for the review.

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’ll have to check out the manga after the anime arc too. Sounds interesting.

      Kaoru has definitely shined in this arc as a supporting character. It makes me reminisce about her arc, for both what was good about it and what could have been done better.

      Thanks, and thank you for your continued comments.

  6. fatjing
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I really had a good laugh at the NOSEBLEED scene. Haha, it’s so hilarious.

    At first I thought the change was because of schizophrenia. But it seems that that’s not the case.
    Looking forward to the final episode. (Is there any bonus episode?)

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      The nosebleed was such a perfect touch and very unexpected. Something about it was just right for the scene.

      We should find out soon if ep 24 is the final one of the arc or not. I’m guessing that it’s not actual MPD or schizophrenia since this isn’t a Key story or anything, hehe. Definitely her acting to change herself, though certainly an overreaction on her part. Junichi mark VI seems to be the most empathetic of the Junichis though, so he should have what it takes to really reach through to her.

  7. Zorapup
    Posted December 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised at how fast Tsukasa’s feelings developed. Going straight to a kiss and confessing that she needed him after being just interested in him. I was looking at all the cute scenes Junichi and her had together and I was thinking you could have had a bunch of these before her confession to lead up to it. But then they threw that twist in the end and I was like…double shocked. The events had led up to the complete 180 in her personality and it was definitely something I hadn’t expected.

    Although I love her mental breakdown confronting that girl in the classroom. She had it coming.

    I really have no idea how this is going to end but it’s shaping to be pretty dramatic I believe.

    “Good Morning!” I love how much Kaoru is being highlighted right now. Now if only Umehara could seal the deal with her or Keiko and their conquest for girlfriends will be complete.

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      The confession was quick but it seemed to suit her. She’s quick to go after what she wants, so when she figured out that she likes spending time with Junichi so much she acted like she has on other fronts. That ending though, that was quite a quick development. I guess I could see it as an overreaction to what people expect of her combined with a misinterpretation of Junichi’s affection for and belief in her.

      I ship Kaoru X Umehara (outside of the Kaoru arc anyway)!

  8. Posted December 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    The nosebleed was pretty awesome I’d have to agree!

    Watching this episode right after watching Shiki was sort of a mistake… because I kept thinking that she was Megumi yelling at Masao lol.

    Instead of multiple personalities, it would be even more awesome if that were actually her sister pretending to be her. But I guess that would be too crazy and elaborate, but a man can dream can’t he?

    • Posted December 13, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      it would be even more awesome if that were actually her sister pretending to be her.

      Ui?!?!

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I had actually thought about this in another way, though I disproved it. For a moment I had a though about Yukari being like Yuuki from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and that only Tsukasa saw her, but then quickly recalled Junichi interacting with her. The other thought was the one you had, but again I recalled scenes where the both of them are in the same place at the same time, so no quick switching places or anything like that is possible.

  9. CairCairodin
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Initially, I was pretty surprised by how fast things were moving. Kind of lost immersion for a bit, but I got used to it. Later on I reasoned through it, and things make a lot more sense to me now. See, when Tsukasa first went to town on the bitchy girls, I was like “Whoa, that’s OOC! WAY OOC! Why is she revealing herself this way?” I didn’t realize that Junichi was having such a profound effect on how she was going to behave. It now seems to me that once she had someone she could “be herself” around (and who seemed to like it), she no longer felt the need to hide so much. This is why Junichi telling her to apologize and be nice because that’s what he thought she would do must have been such a slap in the face to her. The person she had trusted, who she believed understood her, was asking her to hide again. Not only that, but he seemed to be saying that the true her was the nicer one. I think she misunderstood his intentions, but I can see why it upset her so much.

    What was most heart-wrenching about that scene, for me, was that when Junichi came back to check on her, she was so delighted. Right before Junichi shows up she seemed to be having a moment of doubt, but then he arrives and for a moment everything is all right. Didn’t last long, though. Ah well…

    Looking forward to the last episode, for sure. Maybe we’ll actually find out what’s up with Tsukasa’s home life.

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      That first bit of information is a good observation, and it fits into the larger theory of her overreacting and deciding to change personality. Not only did she process what classmates expected of her and misinterpret Junichi’s affection for her, but as you point out she also probably started beating her self up about letting her aggressive side show because she’s become used to being that way with Junichi. Nice catch there.

  10. Posted December 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I only have a little to say about this episode (yah, right).

    First, I don’t see where anybody gets the whole MPD thing from, especially from her comment. That whole “that person is gone/dead/whatever” is a very typical – almost trite – way of saying they’ve moved on from whatever. I am 101% sure that is what she is saying, and what she intends Junichi to understand. Whether that is actually true, or if she is simply doubling-down the facade, I can’t say at this point. It could be either way – she could be genuinely trying to change, or she could just be putting the mask back on. I am inclined to believe the latter. Either way works in achieving her goals – her ambition does not change. But I think she may have noticed that it was her being open to Junichi that led to all the trouble later – it weakened the facade.

    As for her, uh, haste, in nabbing Junichi, she knows what she wants, and doesn’t mess around. Directness is very effective. She undoubtedly knows by this point that Junichi is more than a bit thick, so, unlike every non-slut anime girl ever, she gets straight to the point in a way even the most block-headed shounen protagonist could understand. And Junichi isn’t one to turn down a girl like that. Though I do think he still doesn’t quite understand how deep he is in it yet – in the preview, he still sounded rather gloomy about Christmas Eve (though the “confession” sounded almost like those magic contracts from Negima, the way Tsukasa worded it, heh).

    And I do wish you would get off your thing about the unconventional kissing deal. That stopped WAAAY back with Kaoru. We haven’t seen a hint of it since.

    Speaking of, Kaoru is a top-tier Bro. Unlike some lesser bros, Kaoru didn’t make a big deal about her bro-ness – but it was understood by all regardless. And it seems people don’t mess with her (makes sense – she seems like a beast, almost as big as Rihoko, but all muscle: while Junichi is a wimp, she did knock him out cold by punching him in the stomach, and you don’t see that every day.)

    • Zorapup
      Posted December 15, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      You’re probably right about Tsukasa putting the facade back on. Once she revealed her true self to Junichi it left her vulnerable since the facade was not only her shield but something comfortable. I can’t imagine the amount of energy that went into trying to protect her inner self. And once she put the shield away it must have taken great energy to will herself not to pick it up again since she made ‘that contract’. I’m sure Junichi was there to help alleviate this stress but screwed up in the classroom that one night.

      So when you say that Junichi weakened her facade, you mean that she’s exposed her inner self so much more than usual that her use of her facade was somewhat out of practice? That would explain her drastic change in behavior at the end.

      That Negima line was funny.

    • Posted December 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Haha, only a little to say? I have been enjoying your lengthy comments over the course of this series.

      I agree on either the double down on the facade or genuine change attempt ideas. There’s definitely choice behind her actions, not psychological problems (well, perhaps some very mild ones at most.) MPD doesn’t seem to fit since she’s been consistent with Junichi from the start. Plus this isn’t really the kind of series to drop that sort of Key-style bombshell.

      As for the unconventional kissing: ok, maybe it’s not all kissing. I should have been more precise. I guess I should say obligatory kink scene usually involving kissing. The bellybutton kiss, the voice training, the ‘WTF is going on?!’ bowl of ramen ear licking moment. The expectations of them, especially in the first four arcs always kind of bugged me.

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