Let me say up front that my reasons for liking the fourth ep of Mashiroiro are very personal. I went to a very upscale high school, but my family was intermittently poor. Not middle-class, but power shut off and nothing to eat for three days at a time poor. At that time I was desperate to hide that fact from my classmates – unless you’ve been there, you can’t understand how terrifying the notion of being found out as a “poor kid” really is. So even though Airi’s situation was nowhere near as dramatic, my heart still broke a little when I saw she’d been eating along so that no one would know her bentos were 100% cabbage. Maybe that’s why I guessed the implications of how last week’s episode ended.
That said, there’s no reason someone without that personal connection would have the same affection for this ep. If you were struggling with this series I can only think it’s worse now, because all the things that might be said to wrong with Mashiroiro were even more obvious. Things are running the risk of being a little too nice, too smiley, too gentle. The one dissonant note is Sana, who revealed herself to be a closet boy-hater and – possibly – a bit of a Miu stalker. I don’t blame her, Miu is my favorite too, and though it is nice to have a little discord in the ranks I hope Sana doesn’t turn out to be another Hazuki/Kuroko clone. I hate that archetype, and I’m hopeful this series is too kind-hearted to throw one of its characters down that pit.
It was certainly interesting to see Miu working part-time at a nekomimi café, and damn if she didn’t half look adorable in the uniform. I love Miu and there’s some definite chemistry between she and Shingo, but it would be naïve to think for a nanosecond that there’s a ghost of a chance for anyone but Airi. That’s been set in stone since the first episode, and I’m resigned to it. Even though Shingo showed a rare cliché moment when he was too dense to take her up on her invitation to study one-on-one at her apartment, the study sessions still provided an opportunity for the two of them to grow closer, at witness the switch to the more familiar “Uryuu” and “Sena” at the end. That does leave us with the question – with the series so nice and low-key generally and the ending so blatantly telegraphed, where is the drama going to come from for the next two months?