Sukitte Ii na yo – 10

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OK, I can safely go back to not liking Yamato again.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_10_[720p].mkv_snapshot_00.13_[2012.12.12_10.05.29]Sukitte is definitively a “capital S” shoujo, with all that implies, and one of the things it implies is that there are going to be episodes such as this one.  The sort of episode where the characters just drive you crazy and you keep wanting to punch someone in the face, but this one had the added bonus of actually giving us someone getting punched in the face.  And it just happened to be the best possible person, too.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_10_[720p].mkv_snapshot_02.11_[2012.12.12_10.06.23]For certain, this is a series that’s played in primary colors.  There isn’t all that much subtlety, to be honest, and the characters perform their assigned roles more or less predictably.  So as frustrating as it all was, not much that happened in this episode came as much of a surprise – it’s all been telegraphed for a while, especially Megumi’s full-on embrace of the dark side of the force.  Her plan, finally executed, was as textbook shoujo as you can get – plant false rumors, use money and influence to try and isolate the enemy from everyone they hold dear.  I’m not saying it’s never reflected in real-life, but shoujo really has a thing for showing girls at their worst – the cunning, ruthless Megu, the fawning sycophants who give her gifts, even the heroine of the piece sometimes.  I suppose it’s analogous in some ways to the way boys come off badly in almost all anime/manga romances and harem pieces told from the male perspective.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_10_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.20_[2012.12.12_10.07.33]I love the emotional honesty of Sukitte, and its simplicity has something to do with why that works, but this was an episode where everything just felt a little too broad and moved a little too quickly and according to formula.  And both main characters just drove me up the wall.  Mei, for her part, continues to play the rag doll far too much – she can’t simply pinball from crisis to crisis suffering in silence until some external event (or person, or both) pushes things towards a resolution.  Mitty has set a pretty high standard for messed-up heroines this season, but I think dynamic head-cases are inherently more interesting than passive ones.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_10_[720p].mkv_snapshot_04.53_[2012.12.12_10.09.05]Most of my bile (I’ve tasted a lot of that these last few days) is reserved for Yamato, though, who burns through any brownie points he earned last week.  I’ve never found him especially interesting I admit, and I really do think this role is a very bad fit for Sakurai Takahiro, but I’ve never felt quite a pissed at him as when he immediately trusted Megu over Mei – and in fact, never even gave Mei a chance to explain her side.  That’s bad enough given what he knows about the two of them, but the level of hypocrisy is staggering – after he sneaked around behind Mei’s back for weeks with Megu, he has the unmitigated gall to condemn her without a trial based on the evidence of the very girl he was sneaking around with?  Bad form, to say the least – and the fact that Kai had expressed an interest in Mei – quite honestly and openly, it should be pointed out – makes no matter.  That’s nothing Mei did, and Yamato should know better.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_10_[720p].mkv_snapshot_06.12_[2012.12.12_10.10.25]As a viewer it’s something of a fundamental problem that Kai is inherently so much more interesting than Yamato to me, and such a better match for Mei.  But anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of shoujo would immediately recognize Kai was strictly the other guy, so it’s not that big a deal – and Kai has at least rectified the fundamental problem of Sukitte having no interesting male characters.  Indeed, he was the only one who said or did anything sensible this week – most satisfyingly the much-deserved punch in the face to Yamato (and even that only because Yamato tried to hit him first).  Yes, Kai’s speech to Yamato was something out of an “Afterschool Special” – but at least it was on-point.  In a better world – and a series that was going to explore the complimentary colors of romance a little more deeply – the fundamental hollowness of Mei’s relationship with Yamato and the potential for a meaningful one with Kai might have a chance to see the light of day.  But with Sukitte, it’s a safe bet that things are going to be played straight – and the fact that it can frustrate me in the first place is evidence that it does a very good job doing so.

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  1. j

    What the hell, Enzo? When have you ever liked Yamato? Seriously we know you don't like Yamato. Enough already~~. It's getting really tiresome when you mention on every freaking Sukitte episode blog on how he's boring and/or you don't like him time after time. We GET it. We really get it, okay?

    How about this: we will just assume that you don't like him until you say so otherwise.

  2. A

    Hello. Earth to Jeffrey. This is his freaking blog! He can say what ever the hell he wants! Honestly, sometimes I don't understand how people make comments with out thinking things through. It's been happening a lot recently everywhere too.

  3. A

    Get a room, Anonymous. Your blinding sheep-ness for Enzo is truly quite something. There should be always a room for feedback, both positive and negative. Yes, he can say whatever he wants and so can Jeffrey. It's a free country.

  4. A

    I agree with what first Anon said and I also agree with what Jeffery said. Still, I don't think Anon was saying Jeffery wasn't allowed to say that, he/she was saying that Jeffery shouldn't be telling Enzo "Enough already!" It looks like to me that Jeffery is getting angry for no good reason. It's the tone that matters, because if you say something reasonable, yet yell it angrily, no one will take you seriously.

  5. A

    Regardless, by your logic, second anon, doesn't that mean first anon has the freedom to speak his/her mind too and call something as he/she sees it (Whether it is right or wrong I'll leave to Everyone Else's Opinions).

  6. You can`t pay for high-quality entertainment like that.

  7. S

    I'm pretty sure Jeffrey and Anon #1,2,3&4 are all the same person. WAKE UP SHEEPLE! lol

    P.S. I might actually watch this episode, it'll give me great satisfaction to see Yamato get punched in the face. Maybe Gif-worthy?

  8. A

    Or you are all the anonymous people Stöt… How will we find that out? The World may never know.

  9. i

    I recently tried explaining to an idiot what the difference is between Josei and Shoujo and why I like almost any form of the former while disliking the common rabble of the latter (like Sukitte).

    I told him that Shoujos, like Sukitte, tries to act mature but is too childish to pull it off or constantly yells at our faces that is mature, something that I at least find immature and in the case of anime, quite annoying.

    On the other hand Josei doesn't bother with that. It knows it's mature and realizes that it will naturally be mature when it needs to and enjoys acting like a child when it doesn't.

    I've read your posts on Sukitte and realize you enjoy the uniquely harsh view Sukitte has on romance in high school but to me it feels so ridiculous, because like a child it can only focus on one thing and take it to the extreme.

    May be its just because I feel that Sukitte and most other Shoujos just create drama the same way Shounen creates battles, because that somehow sells. Its not natural and the characters come off as being cogs in a plot which is why I like the natural movement of Josei, which ironically is so much harder to predict.

    May be I'm blabbering but I think I've got my point across about why I don't and never will enjoy something like Sukitte – it doesn't respect humanity.

  10. A

    Well, humanity isn't always respectable, truth be told.

  11. Not only that, but you can`t paint all shoujo with the same brush. It not only isn`t fair, but it isn`t accurate.

  12. e

    Indeed, you're oversimplifying Anon. The battle/tournament shonen model is simply the most popular one – with most of the titles belonging to the Shonen Jump magazine – but it's in no way the only one and there are difference in quality, art style, storytelling…
    The Calling by Okano Reiko is shonen . Buddha by Osamu Tezuka is shonen (both titles published in the same magazine Comic Tom btw). Just naming two 'atypical' titles from the top of my head.
    Then let's take Natsume Yuujinchou, Vampire Knight, Kaguya Hime and Ouran Host Club. All shoujo because they're published in a magazine officially aimed at teen girls (but again… as it happens with shonen manga, readership – and watchers – in reality go beyond the core demographic). Published in the same magazine as well (LaLa by Hakusensha). Try actually reading or watching them (all of them but Kaguya have been adapted into anime)… they're more different in genres looks and storytelling than they're similar.

  13. e

    (part II)

    Shoujo is not a genre label, is a target demographic. If any, in terms of *content* the only rule that works if you really must select – with plenty of exceptions nonetheless – is by a) the author b)the magazine. The aforementioned Lala is also one of the more varied magazine catering to a wide range of tastes/readers. Other magazines – in any demographic, mind you – can be much more specific or niche in their offer, and authors might tweak or adhere their own style according to the magazine… but the top ones are always recognizable, like Moyoko Anno and Yoshinaga Fumi and Tezuka: seinen, shoujo, josei, shonen… they are at ease making stories targeted at any demographics. And you can recognize them on the spot.
    Now… Sukitte II na Yo. Made by Kanae Hazuki, specialized in smut manga (I'm not even going into how diffrent smut manga can get up to the author or within the same author'r production…) . Published in a magazine (Dessert) where you can encounter a certain penchant for master/servant and smutty love stories. Still shoujo magazine but more 'sexy/explicit' than Lala and with a preference for school romance settings whereas Lala features both school and fantasy and historical setting titles, and different authors than Dessert. Let's say that she has a history for bad male leads. Here in Sukitte she is trying to break her main genre's mold a bit. The results are up to anyone's opinions. But again, this is a specific case in a specific subniche of shoujo in a certain magazine. How can we generalize about shoujo as a whole?
    Prefer school settings, but 'clean' romance? (and among my personal favourites shoujos in suich setting) Strobe Edge, Lovely Complex. Magazine (not casually): Betsuma.
    Would rather have some supernatural, magic , action or fantasy element in your shoujo? Pick a title from the Nakayoshi magazine. One random title: Sailor Moon.
    Too kiddy for you (Nakayoshi is officially aimed at early teen girls) and Lala's titles are not your taste? Pick Bessatsu Friends (it hosted Fuyumi Souryou's MARS amiong other things. And at present Shimotsuki Kayoko's mangas: preferably thriller, action, non-sappy romance hints). Or the Hana To Yume magazine (among the titles: Glass no Kamen and Please Save my Heart).
    Still not enough mature shoujo for you? Enter the world of Tamura Yumi's Basara or 7 Seeds from the Flowers and Betsuma magazines. Fantasy, epic, post-apocalyptic and survival scenarios, action, psychological. Or Watanabe Taeko's Kaze Hikaru (if you ever liked Kenshin go read this manga NOW), same magazines as Tamura Yumi.
    And I'm stopping here, those are just a fraction – and a mainstream fraction at that – of the range of shoujo genres and magazines you can find. The other manga demographics are as rich and varied.

    TL;DR : if you're using shoujo shonen mange etc them as genre and content labels general rules you're using them wrong. In their actual meaning of 'catering to this certain age and gender of readers' they're simply too comprehensive given the sheer range of content and tastes of potential readers. You can see some content and genre patterns if any, at magazine & single author levels. Once you realize that shoujo josei etc are just containers you can just toss those definitions aside and enjoy every manga/anime work on its own merits (or perceived lack thereof). The only rule imho is: if you have expectations or preconceptions about what shoujo and shonen etcetera are supposed to be in your head, you'd better leave those notions out of the door :).

  14. e

    Then add the fact that anime demographic can get much more comprehensive than their manga /novel source – if any – thanks to the nature of the medium itself (anybody can stumble on a certain series just by TV zapping) + staff involved in the adaptation tweaking things … just enjoy and forget about fitting the anime into neat boxes. Not gonna fit.

  15. A

    Lets analyze this episode:
    – Yamato after talk with Kai is willing to see poisonous Megumi words as a truth. OK, he should be wiser, but he doesn't have our perspective to see her as a lying, two-faced bitch (still a punch as a wake-up call was needed).
    – Mei after Kai's confession not only didn't reject him, but even accepted his invitation to the Land. Yamato doesn't get it, and so do I. Did she already forget how hurt she was, when Yamato was eating dinners at Megumi's house?

    I'd say that both parties are to partially blamed for a wrong turn in a relationship (and lets not forget that Megumi is an evil mastermind), but at least misunderstanding was cleared very quickly (something that not often happens in shoujo) and we wouldn't see this without Yamato's willingness to confront his girlfriend (but he should probably cool his head earlier).

    " the fundamental hollowness of Mei’s relationship with Yamato and the potential for a meaningful one with Kai might have a chance to see the light of day. "
    I think that without influence of Yamato a Mei x Kai relationship would be pretty meaningless. Just two very similar humans licking their wounds (Mei probably wouldn't even bother to say earlier wise words after hearing about Kai's past). Yamato said that he intends to show Mei a wider world and we can see that he works well as a catalyst for a change in a maidens heart. So I wouldn't say that Mei x Yamato is hollow (but hey, for me Shizuku x Haru in Tanori no Kaibutsu-kun is meaningless for Shizuku with potential boyfriend, who is prone to violence and wants to isolate her from a world – so to each his own).

    I'm looking forward to seeing Megumi between rock (Kai probably already knows that he was manipulated) and a hard place (Aiko was rather nonplussed) in next episode 😉

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