It’s fitting that Chihaya had a Shingeki no Kyoujin outfit hanging on her wall (right next to Yukiatsu’s Menma dress), because Servant X Servant was probably in competition with the identity of a certain female titan for the worst-concealed “spoiler” of the season, and both revealed what we pretty much already knew this week. As with AoT, though, the interest here is not so much in the surprise itself, but the aftermath. Just where does the Hasebe x Lucy relationship (and I think it’s fair to call it that now) go from here?
As usual with S x S, watching this episode was a bit of a light-switch experience. It would be hard to find an exploration of two couples about whom my feelings are more diametrically opposed – of Lucy and Hasebe I have complete buy-in, and as far as Chihaya x Inchimiya I couldn’t give a rat’s tail. I don’t like either of them all that much as individuals and worse, I’ve yet to see any compelling reason that either of them would want to date the other. Ichimiya just digs himself deeper every week with his lack of either a spine or a clue, and Chihaya continues to try and undercut Hasebe in Lucy’s esteem.
That latter point is at least interesting, because it leads to the question of why she does it. Does Chihaya hate men generally? Does she have feelings for Lucy herself? Does she specifically hate Hasebe – or have feelings for him that she can’t reconcile with? Chihaya has certainly seen enough of Hasebe by this point to know that the horror stories she’s telling Lucy about him are absurd. There does seem to be an element of jealousy in the way she views their relationship – but of who? Maybe a little bit of both of them – and there’s probably a measure of simple peevishness that her own romance is such a joke. She still can’t bring herself to tell Touko about it despite being given a perfect opening (and we sure as hell know Ichimiya won’t tell her), and he continues to treat her with a combination of deference and abject terror that’s about as far from romantic as it’s possible to get.
I will give Chihaya credit for one thing – when Hasebe and Lucy showed up at the same cafe where she and Touko were hanging out, she had the decency to discreetly get out of the way without Touko gumming up the works of their date. As for that date, while it may have been an anti-climax in the relative lack of dramatics, I found it to be pretty satisfying. In the first place, Lucy looked every bit as good in her outfit as I expected – and to give a little more credit to Chihaya, it was a fine choice for Lucy, cute and sexy while retaining a bit of classical grace. I haven’t yet figured out if the glasses thing was Hasebe’s true feelings or just a bit of fun, but I suspect he likes Lucy equally well either with or without megane (I know I do).
The date itself was classic Hasebe, pretty much. He was low-key, considerate and affectionate. He took Lucy to places where she’d be comfortable – most especially a used book store he’d picked out just for the occasion. The key moment for me was when Lucy, wrestling with her artificial “nice vs. normal” Hasebe debate (you can thank Chihaya’s sabotage for that) came to the realization that with Hasebe, nice is normal. The way he treats her isn’t an act, it’s who he really is. It’s understandable that this was a bit of a panic moment for her, given that it sort of shakes her foundations to the core, but it’s an important milestone nonetheless. Of course Hasebe is right that Lucy uses her name as a convenient excuse to avoid having to face real grown-up concerns in her life, and he was gently but firmly pushing her to address her true feelings when in typical anime fashion, his phone rang at the worst possible moment.
Even if it’s been pretty obvious from the beginning that Hasebe’s Dad was the one who approved Lucy’s name, there are still some interesting questions attached to that scenario. Did said Dad tell Kaoru to bring Yutaka over because Kaoru told him who Yutaka’s date was with, and he wanted to reveal the truth – or did Hasebe suspect and confront his unsuspecting father about it? And then there’s the matter of Kaoru’s husband to be – I suppose he could be no one of consequence, but I still suspect there could be some sort of Chekov’s Gun angle at play here, and there are hints he’s connected to the larger plot somehow. As for how Hasebe will break this to Lucy and how she’ll react, that seems to be the groundwork for the season (hopefully) finale. Superficially this is a hurdle, but in the long view it’s a positive – give Lucy a chance to confront her white whale at last, and she’ll no longer be able to use the hunt as an excuse to avoid giving Yutaka a straight answer about their relationship.