R-15 – 10

[NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_03.02_[2011.09.10_21.03.17] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_03.42_[2011.09.10_21.04.13] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_04.03_[2011.09.10_21.04.34]
[NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_06.30_[2011.09.10_21.07.32] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_07.25_[2011.09.10_21.08.27] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_08.15_[2011.09.10_21.09.49]

I really feel badly that more people aren’t watching this series, especially when it delivers gems like this week’s ep.  The balance of elements was just right, and it captured all the charm that endeared me to R-15 from the beginning, when it was being torched in nearly all quarters.

The premise of the episode was an interesting twist on the hot springs episode cliché.  This being a school for geniuses, naturally a hot springs has been been discovered on campus and an onsen town built up around it.  When two seniors – the yuri queen Botan and new character Tentsubou Meguru (Nagashima Yuchiro) a genius (and genki) gymnast – decide the first-year classes need to have a competition to decide they can do more than lounge around on their asses at an onsen, it’s time for Utae and Taketo to show their stuff for their rival classes.

It was natural that Utae’s star power would be the big draw for Class 1-3, but I liked how all the girls in Taketo’s Class 1-2 immediately relied on him to devise a winning strategy.  Their relationship with him really has evolved over the course of the series, especially Raika’s.  In fact, this much-maligned little ero series has much more genuine character development than many more “respectable” series I could name – but more on that in a minute.  The contest provides fodder for some terrific humor – Class 1-1 isn’t much of a threat, as their BL play “Romeo-kun and Juliet-kun” manages to win over “only a few female fans”.  When Ritsu’s mathematical fortunetelling (based on “naughty milk bottles and lone left socks”) fails to draw the crowds to their entertainment booths, Taketo decides to ecchify the entire town – with cap guns shooting at breasts (Yes – he hit the areola!), bikinis in the yo-yo (ya-ya?) tank, choco-bananas and Ran providing a running ero soundtrack.

Where all this really leads is the interesting and quite complex rivalry that’s building between Utae and Fukune for Taketo’s affections.  Utae is in a rival class, but her heart is with Taketo – and she even tries to help Class 1-2 with their own idol, Fukune, away performing at the National Theater.  I’ve been a big believer that Fukune was the inevitable and probably correct choice, but Utae is getting a ton of development and she’s really winning me over.  She’s clearly been friend-zoned by Taketo and she knows it, but she keeps supporting him – and makes a strong play of her own by shyly slipping into the hot springs with him when everyone else is gone. As Taketo reminds her, his porn writing is fantasy and this is a reality – he’s never even seen a naked girl.  Yet even as she tries to seduce him Utae is realizing that Taketo’s heart is still with Fukune, and she encourages him to confess to her – both his secret life and secret love.

Fukune, meanwhile, has gotten a mysterious call from her father, who shows up at her concert.  And when she arrives back on campus, she breaks down in tears and embraces Taketo when he suggests she accompany the class on clarinet for the choral contest that will close out the competition.  Is she leaving for France, at his insistence?  What’s more, each girl appears to have acquired an advocate – with the Chief carrying over her mysterious admonition from last week that Taketo needed to learn more about Fukune, and Raika clearly taking offense that Taketo can’t see just how much Utae loves him.

This is a tough one.  Fukune was first, she adorably odd, and clearly likes Taketo.  But Utae is softening my resistance.  She’s quite a noble figure in her way, and capable of real wisdom like “Rivals are fun – except in love”.  As Taketo himself says, she’s the only one who really understands him and he can tell her anything.  Isn’t that a pretty solid basis for a relationship?  This one is tough for the right reasons – you’d genuinely like to see both girls win.  Yes, that’s right – this little smut series that all the smart viewers love to dump on has developed a compelling love triangle with three characters who are all likable, nice and genuinely sweet people – in my view the best love triangle of the season by a wide margin.    Who would have thought that was possible?  But that’s why I watch the shows, and don’t just read what someone else says about them…

[NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_13.52_[2011.09.10_21.15.52] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_14.11_[2011.09.10_21.16.10] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_17.32_[2011.09.10_21.20.04]
[NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_17.34_[2011.09.10_21.20.33] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_18.14_[2011.09.10_21.21.12] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_21.17_[2011.09.10_21.24.27]
[NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_22.21_[2011.09.10_21.25.31] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_22.23_[2011.09.10_21.25.33] [NicoNico] R-15 - 10 [640x360 H.264 AAC].mkv_snapshot_22.27_[2011.09.10_21.25.37]

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4 comments

  1. W

    Utae has been one of my favorites since her introduction. I am kind of sad that Raika hasn't had an episode since eps 4, except for the one where she helped Taketo get out of the Girl's Dorm. So Raika is friend-zoned/3rd love interest/Never going to get with Taketo. However, Utae took some big steps and gave Taketo many hints, but he still only has Fukune on his mind. I even think that the Chief wants a UtaexTaketo ending.

  2. I don't get that vibe from the Chief, WX – seems like she's definitely pushing Fukune.

  3. F

    Oh fuck you Taketo.

    I'm not a huge fan of Fukune, having previously described her screen presence as a "void, sucking up anything entertaining happening on screen", but even she doesn't deserve this. And Utae most certainly doesn't deserve the treatment she's been getting.

    Utae must be one of the most kind, understanding, forthright and just down right amazing love interests in any show in recent memory. She quite literally threw herself at Taketo, and he doesn't even have the sense to turn her down properly.

    As for Fukune, while I don't like her, Taketo has not made a single effort to actually learn anything about her, his interest in her is based entirely on "I like her music" and "She doesn't turn me on".

    He doesn't deserve either of them.

    (BTW, terribly disappointed at no scenes of Botan-senpai exploiting the opportunity provided by Taketo's events. Maybe she gets enough as it is?)

  4. e

    @Fence: I prefer Utae myself for basically your same reasons but you're being a bit harsh about Fukune. She's still a pretty decent character and lovable in her odd way. As soon as she actually interacted more closely with ero-sensei she instinctively trust him instead of jumping in on the initial Raika-fuelled mass slander against the poor boy. Shy she might be, but mindless sheep she is not.
    Plus she echoes&murmurs unbelievable things in her sleep X,D.

    In the end out of the the series episodes this is probably my favourite comedy-wise, followed by the dormitory one (I'm weak to faulty invisibility Tron suites I think) and the chief X files one (delicious UtaexTaketo antics).
    What can I say, I have a dirty mind and love chocobananas. These even had the slit on the tip X,DDD. In terms of 'how did they even think of that?!' they're on par with the Fallopian lampposts &uterine clocks.

    The scene with Utae in the second half sorta broke my heart. Dear, dear girl that she is.
    But as you wrote, Enzo, while both girls are appealing and 'work' with Taketo (in my adult years I prefer the Utae relation template myself) , Fukune is The One on his mind.

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