Wow, where do I even begin with this episode? Regardless of what happens next, this feels like the season’s true climactic cliffhanger, with some unexpected emotional revelations and hooks that will likely have me thinking about this episode for the rest of the week. I’m not exaggerating that a show with this premise has somehow found the formula to keep me guessing with the character dynamics and really make me feel bad for some of the characters. This is a show where in one episode we can take a completely blank sheet like Minami and turn him into one of the series’ more interesting characters.
Then, due to some scheming, we finally get Akari alone with Minami, and this is where she is tested about her feelings. She wants to confess to Minami, but even he can tell that her heart isn’t quite in it. We knew this had to happen at some point, and it makes sense that Akari would probably be the one to come to that conclusion much earlier, given everything that’s happened. I didn’t expect Minami to not only be the one to call Akari out on this, but also completely underline her situation due to his own experiences with romance that have given him a unique perspective compared to all the other characters. Akari, Jiro, and Shiori are all chasing after someone, but they’re all terrified to confess to someone unless they feel it’s 100% sure. Minami is the only character in the series who is not interested in romance because he knows what it’s like to chase someone he never had a chance to get. He came to that realization in a rather extreme way.
How would you feel if you grew up and your first love was not only with someone you never had a chance to be with, but the thing that made you definitively realize that person had sex with their significant other who happened to be your brother? Honestly, I feel sorry for Minami because he was apparently forced to give up on romance. Still, that perspective allows him to see things through more than others, such as how he reveals that he knew Akari was interested in him from the beginning. It’s refreshing because Akari didn’t try to hide that she was interested in Minami, but in other shows this would be something no one would notice. Admittedly, there’s a bit of a narrative cheat here with Minami not rejecting Akari sooner and probably saving her a lot of confusion earlier. At least he’s hard on himself about it in this episode, realizing that he arguably did to her what his previous love life did to him.
But this is it; Akari has completely given up on loving Minami and admits that she will give everything to Jiro. I like how this was handled because Akari doesn’t downplay her feelings for Minami either. Just because they might not have been as strong as the ones she now has for Jiro doesn’t mean her feelings weren’t there and I like the fact that the two of them can see eye to eye as equals now that everything has come out. Minami says that even if you’re afraid of what will happen after you confess, their relationship now is a perfect example of how sometimes not everything falls apart if someone accepts or rejects your feelings. It would be great if the show didn’t immediately cut to Jiro and Shiori kissing in the rain in a moment of emotional desperation. There is so much good character here, with sensible conversations prompted by personal experiences and actions prompted by deep-seated insecurities and fear of missing out on the surprising things that come our way. I’m going to be very upset when the show is over.
More than a married couple, but not lovers currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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