Sukitte Iia na yo – 05

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Episode 5 – shameless, but effective.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.21_[2012.11.05_10.34.16]I liked this episode of Sukitte just as much as the first four, though it felt quite different to me.  Those four eps were appealingly realistic and just a bit raw – not especially polished in terms of presentation but emotionally honest and free of both excessive melodrama and “flowers & kittens” shoujo idealizing.  Well, we got our kitten this week – the law of shoujo has been met, the stray cat card has been played – and this episode was definitely a bit more slick and calculated.  But at the same time it was better-paced, the humor was a little sharper and it retained the basic appeal of those earlier eps.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_01.14_[2012.11.05_10.35.09]Although Yamato certainly came off well this time, I confess I’m still not completely sold on the character.  it isn’t so much that I think he’s malicious, but somehow he lacks a substance that other elements of the series seem to have (most obviously Mei herself) – who knows, perhaps as much as Mei’s journey towards self-belief the series will be a chronicle of his becoming a more substantial person.  Anyone who has a soft spot for cats earns a few points in my book – though frankly that’s pretty low-hanging fruit from a dramatic standpoint if you’re trying to make a character sympathetic.  I was more impressed with Mei’s compulsion that it was wrong not to act as if the stray kitten were his problem, though I think Yamato’s finest moment was his exultation when Kuro pooped.  And “Kuro” for a black cat – when your name is Kurosawa to boot?  Try a little harder, Dude.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_01.19_[2012.11.05_10.35.14]Kuro wasn’t the only new cast member this week – we also had Nagi (Ise Mariya), Yamato’s little sister.  Kittens and cute little sisters are also pretty low-hanging fruit, and I don’t think it’s a writer’s best instinct to rely on them to score points with an audience – effectively they represent shortcuts, especially in a shoujo.  But the thing is, of course, that they were executed very well.  The interaction between the two cats was quite funny and true to life (introducing two strange cats to each other is always a high-stress experience) and at least Nagi was given some depth with the introduction of her issues at school and her talents with creation.  A brocon little sister is hardly an original creation but Nagi has some elements that are distinctive at least.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_05_[720p].mkv_snapshot_02.23_[2012.11.05_10.36.18]It’s also clear from this episode how far Mei has come as a character, and whatever you think of Yamato the relationship does illustrate just how powerful it can be for an insecure person to have someone express unqualified affection for them.  Even down to the way she dresses Mei has become a more forceful person, and though she’s still a bit awkward and quite unsure how to respond to Yamato’s easy sense of physical intimacy, you can almost see the protective walls she’s built around herself coming down, one by one.  Of course that makes her incredibly vulnerable too (even if she does have the weaponized cookie in her arsenal) – someone as wounded as she is who then lets her guard down would really be devastated by a betrayal, and it’s pretty early in the series for things to be going as smoothly as they are…

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  1. B

    The high drama has to kick in at some point. In a show like this it HAS to. Yamato will do something that we the audience know was totally innocent and/or not his fault at all but to Mei looks like rank betrayal, she'll close up again and the final arc of the series will be under way. It will all culminate in her realizing the truth and making a big grand confession of her feelings. And then maybe they hump if the show wants to go that far. If it doesn't go this way I will be entirely shocked considering how relatively paint-by-numbers the show has been so far. Still, the execution is good, and I'm not a dude who thinks a show has to reinvent the genre wheel to be excellent, so as long as I keep liking the characters I will be more than satisfied even if it happens exactly as I predict.

  2. B

    there were so many cute moments in this ep. i'm still not sure about him but i hope i'm wrong.

  3. H

    I love to see episodes like this. Seeing people be nice, and care for other people, and help other people is something that makes me feel good. Sure, it's really coincidental that a girl like Mei is there to help a girl like Nagi, when she's about the perfect person to help (unlike, say, Aiko or Asamicchi).

    I like the contrasts between the three shoujo series this season, especially couple-wise. This show has the couple that's together, Tonari has a couple that's kind of on-again / off-again, and Kamisama Hajimemashita has two people who are somehow attracted to each other, but there's really no overt romance there. It really helps keep the shows separate in my mind.

  4. H

    Whoops, sorry, forgot to finish my thought in the first paragraph:

    But sometimes things work out that way, and a person that comes along that can help eventually does. There also seem to be a lot of similarities between Nagi and Mei, and you kind of wonder what Yamato's mother is like, is she somewhat like Nagi? Maybe there's some unconscious familiarity there on Yamato's part?

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