We had a little bit of everything that episode. Serious Chisato angst, bordering on the yandere. A Deux ex harmonica. A serious troll ending. Lots of political intrigue. A major new character introduced. If I had to sum it up, I’d say this was the first episode where all the elements in the title really started to come together. We’ve had an ep or two where all three aspects have been present, but they were pretty much playing out independently of each other. Now, for the first time, worlds are colliding – we’re seeing how romance, politics and tragic memories are crashing into each other, with unpredictable results.
Let’s start with Chisato, because she was certainly the presence that dominated the episode. I’m inclined to think the events as played out here were supposed to make us more sympathetic to her character, but if that’s the case I’d have to say it really didn’t work for me. I’ve been somewhat tepid on her up to now, but I found her presence in this episode genuinely unpleasant. I can certainly sympathize with her pain over the loss of Daiki, and the stark simplicity of her dream sequence was actually quite powerful. But in the present, I didn’t find her behavior justifiable or sympathetic. What started out as irritatingly classic tsundere behavior quickly degenerated into something more sinister.
“Sinister” is a pretty strong word, I admit – maybe too strong in this instance. But I don’t especially like the way Chisato behaved towards Yuuki here. I don’t like the way she treated Yuuki in front of others (insulting him in front of potential voters is plain stupid, if nothing else). I don’t like the way she took his genuine friendliness and concern for others as something to attack him over. And I don’t like the way she acts as if she has an ownership of him – not just that he has no right to be attracted to other girls, but that he owes it to her not to grow as a person if it means growing away from her. There’s no doubt they have a shared affection that’s tied to their shared past, but that kind of possessive behavior isn’t love, it’s obsession. Chisato’s sharp turn to the dark side this week reeked of stalker behavior, and I hope the writers walk her back from that cliff no matter which route the anime chooses.
As Chisato embraced her dark side, the dark side of politics was fully on display too – but that felt somewhat more in character for the series. That major new character I spoke of is Oosawa Yumi (Kugimiya Rie, playing against type a bit), she of the famous “Oosawa incident”. She’s the Public Safety Commissioner, and the incident was her false accusation and outing of a financial aid student for shoplifting – a hazing which led to that student leaving the school. She’s also a sympathizer of the infamous Katahira Faction (though we still don’t really know what that is) and thus, an apparent rival of Mouri-Taichou. The internal politics of the PSC are interesting indeed – two of their members come to the “rescue” of Isara as she’s being harassed by her usual tormentors, though their motivations for doing so aren’t entirely clear yet, and Mouri reveals that he has a mole inside the Oojima campaign. Logic suggests that mole could be Isara, and that could be why Mouri’s aides interfered when she was being bullied. There’s also a brief check-in with Moheji-kun, who tells his jack-booted followers that the General Affairs Commission has an “influential ally” in this year’s election.
That bullying incident with Isara was an important nexus point for several plot threads, and it lit the blue touch paper on both Chisato’s jealousy and a potential rift in the Oojima campaign. Yuuki decides that he wants to add an item to his platform that financial aid students should be protected from discrimination, but Chisato objects. This is interesting on both the personal and political fronts. Are her objections genuine, or is she merely jealous that Yuuki is showing concern for another girl? Based on her yandere behavior this week it’s hard to say. Her objections also raise (somewhat simplistically, admittedly) a classic political dilemma. Chisato argues that “policies aimed at minorities” are inherently politically unpopular, and that because most of the students dislike the financial aid students, it would be political suicide to add their plight to the platform. Yuuki argues that it’s a simple issue of right and wrong and he has a moral duty to stand up. It’s a classic idealism vs. pragmatism debate, complicated by Chisato’s personal biases.
Of course, my suspicion is that Yuuki is going to realize at some point that the best way to help the aid students is to do what Satsuki is proposing – change the program to an anonymous scholarship system where their identities are protected and they have full rights as students. He may even conclude that their plight is more worthy that than of clubs like the “Dog Pot Club” (even if Yuuki was wrong about what they do, it’s stull a dumb club). Or it may come down to a compromise between the effort to save the clubs and help the aid students. As for Satsuki herself, we don’t see much of her or her sister, but she’s stewing over the fact that Hazuki used her sob story to draw attention away from the shougi game she’s sure she was about to win – and especially upset because the stakes of that game were Yuuki himself. Hazuki seems to have been serious in her declaration of interest, so things aren’t going to get any less stressful either for Satsuki or Chisato.
Finally, we have our Deux ex harmonica and troll ending – and our usual brief nugget of Michiru “plot”. This time she’s trying to play the harmonica – which no success – a harmonica which as far as I can tell has no purpose in the plot other than to spark an “indirect kiss” joke and that troll ending. It’s Yuuki’s overreaction to Mifuyu and Chisato’s overreaction which leads to the troll – and a beautifully executed one it is. It seems a classic bit of romcom cliché comedy, and for good measure we even get the usual early introduction of the ED theme, but it ends with Yuuki carelessly running in front of a truck – Chisato’s worst nightmare after what happened to Daiki. Of course Yuuki won’t die (even without the preview that was obvious) but maybe it will cause Chisato to rethink her distasteful behavior this week. But just what the hell is Michiru’s role in the actual plot – and why was she trying to play a mouth organ in the first place?
There’s still time to vote in the KoiChoco poll in the sidebar. I pretty much expected Satsuki to be in the lead even before this episode, but the surprise is dark horse independent candidate Yume and his yaoi-stick in third place…