There’s a reason most romances and romantic comedies have some sort of conflict – a love triangle, forced separation, illness… To be honest, it isn’t all that thrilling to watch two people in love happily spending time together. Since the first season did all the heavy lifting – going through the process of figuring out whether these couples would be couples at all, and then generally showing them doing the deed – the second has mostly been left as a sort of after-image, like seeing the scenery you’ve been driving through all day when you close your eyes at night. It’s nice, but it lacks a certain something when compared to the real experience.
It’s a good thing I like Nanasaki Ai – and Junichi when he’s with her – because otherwise, I suspect these last two eps would have been torture. The drama has been pretty thin all season, but this arc was really threadbare in the plot department, with just the overwrought “drama” of Junichi being away at cram camp on Christmas Eve. It’s curious that despite the fact that the couples have already formed, AIC have chosen not to have any sex this season – with as little action and drama as there’s been, I think it could have provided a useful spark. Ai is so nice she should be insufferable – a dutiful onee-san, a responsible club president, an adoring girlfriend – and Junichi is at his kindest and most responsible when he’s with her, too. For whatever reason I don’t hate the two of them as a couple (she’s my second-favorite girl) but the last two eps have been pretty plain yogurt. About the only real spark came from Umehara’s hapless quest for a date and the coincidental meeting between the happy couple and Takahashi-sensei as she was leaving a love hotel, presumably in a post-coital glow.
In a strange way, the Rihoko arc might have been the most interesting so far this season despite the fact that she’s my least favorite of the three girls so far, because it was open-ended. There was real uncertainty about whether she and Junichi would end up together, an uncertainty that’s lacking in all the other pairings. Next week we have osananajimi #2 in Kaoru, who was pleasant enough during the first season, and has the virtue of giving as good as she gets when it comes to Junichi. I’m not sure what to expect from her arc but I suspect it’s likely to have a little more boras comedy than the first three this season. As I never found the two of them to have much romantic chemistry, that would be a welcome development.