Things get a bit more complicated with the introduction of Akari and her crush, and how Haruto has to try and balance helping her and managing his own life. Things get a bit predictable later on in this, but there is a sudden confession that lurches things forward between Haruto and Nanami. But more factors keep entering the equation, and the return of Haruto’s sister for a student teaching stint brings more complications.
Summary of this week’s chapters: Akari is seen talking to her crush in the hallway, and before long Haruto and Eba are recruited to try and help her get closer to him. Akari’s crush, an upperclassman, is none other than Kanzaki Narumi, Nanami’s older brother. Haruto absolutely does not want to get into this with Eba along, since not only would it further the misunderstanding that he and Eba are a couple, it would provide a direct line for that misinformation to Nanami’s ears. But in the end, Haruto is too nice for his own good and reverses his stance, accepting the invite to a barbecue at a camping area. It takes a while, but eventually Akari and Narumi get some time to talk. But the real development is when Narumi and Haruto talk. Narumi says he’s not interested in Akari, but he jeeringly asks Haruto if it’d be ok if he asked Eba out, since they’re not dating. Later, Haruto and Nanami get to walk home together and share a nikuman while chatting, and Narumi tries to walk Eba home. Haruto gets some more confidence about Nanami, and when things get uncomfortable when the two discuss what to do about Akari, Haruto blurts out a confession. Eba overhears it from outside, but Nanami runs out of the room before any response is given. Things get awkward between them, but a school trip could have been a chance to clear things up. Instead, Haruto and Nanami dodge around the issue and act like normal, until finally Nanami answers that she just wants to be friends. Eba, oddly enough, is the one trying to cheer on Haruto to keep going after Nanami, and perhaps he still has a chance. Following this, Haruto’s sister Aoi moves back in temporarily to do some student teaching at her old school. She doesn’t seem to think much of Nanami and tells Haruto to give up on her, but she also serves the plot by uncovering something. While paging through old photo albums, she spots a girl standing next to Haruto when he was a little kid, a girl who looks just like Eba.
I like Akari a lot, and I feel for her predicament. But the whole thing was a mess for Haruto. He made the right call at the beginning, trying to stay out of it and not further the rumors about him and Eba. But he felt bad for his childhood friend and then threw himself right into the fire. But he could have done things better at this juncture too. Why not ask Nanami to come along too? That way things stay nice and neutral. And/or invite Takashi. Instead he showed the observant Narumi that he does feel something for Eba (much as I hate to admit it, it’s pretty blatant) and then had Narumi call him on it by talking about dating Eba himself. I did feel that this was kinda predictable in terms of writing though. Narumi wasn’t even around all that long, he was just there to be the standard romance story straw man, the one that threatens the feelings a character doesn’t know they have by being a rival that doesn’t act serious. It’s pretty clear to me at this point that Eba is by far the author’s favorite, and thus the eventual victor. Narumi was just a plot device to make Haruto feel threatened.
I (momentarily) had such hope.
The confession was pretty bold of Haruto, and the one good thing to come out of the Akari entanglement. Unfortunately, Haruto hadn’t laid enough groundwork beforehand for this to work out. He only knows Nanami on a sort of surface level, not what makes her tick or what her motivations and circumstances are at the moment. Maybe she likes him but is afraid of a relationship, or feels like she has to concentrate on school, or who knows what. Haruto doesn’t know. And that’s the problem. They’ve had some nice moments together, but not enough that she’s really opened up to him. She seems to be a very guarded person generally, so this doesn’t seem the best way to confess to her. Which lead to this during the school trip…
Listen to the fanboys’ howl…
Emotions under tension
But your relationship’s been touch and go…
Highway to the FRIEND ZONE!
Ride into the FRIEND ZONE!
Eba is the one that tries to rekindle things between Nanami and Haruto, but once again I suspect her motives. She’s playing the long game here, and it suits her objectives to try and push Haruto and Nanami closer while manipulating Haruto’s life so that it will fail. This nets her two things: Firstly, she’ll be able to swoop down on an emotionally distraught, and thus, vulnerable, Haruto in the aftermath. And second, this way she can ‘prove’ that things wouldn’t work out with Nanami. Haruto will be under the illusion that he tried going out with Nanami but in the end it just didn’t work. Which will just make Eba’s case seem stronger in the absence of a visible alternative. Again, I don’t approve of Eba’s actions, but I do admire their effectiveness. The way she shapes the battlefield and controls the flow of information to the other actors is masterful.
But maybe there is hope. With how heavily the author favors Eba, it is perhaps a fool’s hope. But nonetheless, perhaps there’s some slim chance of things being patched up between Haruto and Nanami. At least he’s not giving in now. It still probably plays into Eba’s plans. I have no illusions about how this is all likely to end. If Nanami ends up winning out in this I’ll watch the second season of Strike Witches, that’s how sure I feel about this. But even if things are headed that way, I’m enjoying the ride and eagerly awaiting the kinds of situations and twists and turns the characters all go through.
Akari, so awesome.
And at least there’s Akari. She’s definitely my favorite so far. Even if her crush on Narumi didn’t work out, I think she might actually get a good ending to things. Narumi seems like a douche anyway. I don’t trust anyone with such a cavalier attitude towards relationships, even if he was just toying with Haruto. Actually, I’m shipping Akari with
myself Takashi in the last 10 chapters. It’s in the background to the main characters’ stories, but the two of them seem to spend a lot of time next to each other on the school trip and at school. I’d ship her and Haruto, but despite them being childhood friends (and I do love my osananajimi ships), he doesn’t seem the type for her, while Takashi seems like the kind of guy that can roll with her sense of humor and maladroit way of expressing her feelings.
Then there was this, right at the end of the last chapter for the week. Greeeat. I can see where this is going. They made some sort of promise that Haruto’s forgotten, didn’t they? And eventually he’ll figure it out and Eba will cry about it, won’t she? And then he’ll remember how important their time back then was, won’t he? *Sigh* Yeah, I’ve seen this one before.
This week’s Rage Condition
For your reference: A guide to Rage Conditions (RAGECON)