“Yoshino’s Magic Show”
The threat of supplementary courses for anyone who fails the midterm prompts a debate between Masamune and Aki as to which of them is smarter. This leads to a bet between them: if Masamune scores higher on the test, Aki must go on a date with him. If she tests higher, he agrees to be publicly humiliated.
From this episode, viewers learn the supporting characters Kojuurou and Yoshino are not exactly book smart. With the whole class under threat of having to take a supplementary course if anyone fails the next exam, Aki and Masamune independently decide to tutor the pair. After arguing over which has superior knowledge, and the wherewithal to educate others, Aki and Masamune make a bet with each other. If Masamune and Kojuurou score higher on the exam, Aki must agree to a date with Masamune . If she and Yoshino test above them, Masamune will be faced with…. potential bankruptcy? Actually, he agrees to pay for Aki’s lunches for some undetermined amount of time. She counters by adding public humiliation to the deal.
Truly great characters can propel a story by adding depth and realism meant to resonate with viewers. In this episode, the underlying attributes that drive these characters begin to take shape. For example, having vowed to help him enact revenge on Aki, Masamune expects Yoshino to test poorly on the upcoming exam; thus tilting the bet in his favor. She refuses to sabotage the exam, but resorts to a more convoluted plan to embarrass Aki after Masamune ends up winning the bet on his own.
Yoshino is an enigma whose motives are difficult to pin down as she seems to use Makabe and Aki as pawns. By indiscriminately assisting them in their retaliation efforts towards each other, Yoshino is essentially controlling both. When Yoshino refuses throw the exam, it is actually her way of deciding she will choose the best revenge method against Aki.
When Aki arrives for her date dressed as a cosplayer, on the advice of Yoshino, viewers witness another side to her character as well. Her naivete when it comes to dating contrasts her brazen actions towards publicly humiliating boys interested in her. Similarly, a softer side of Aki emerges when she becomes concerned for Masamune towards the end of the episode. As for Masamune, it appears his original goal of unrelenting revenge is no longer in the forefront of his thoughts.
It seems this series is following the standard script of a romantic comedy. Three episodes in, the tsundere female and scorned male are starting to soften towards once another. The intrigue lies in Yoshino’s character and determining what her motives are and how it will affect the outcome.
– Motives of characters are not entirely predictable
– Supporting cast highlighted in this episode
– Overall narrative is nothing spectacular.
Masamune shows his generous side when he helps his hopeless classmate Kojuurou study for the upcoming exams, but sees a possible opening when he finds Aki tutoring Yoshino as well. Still in full on revenge mode, and perhaps spurred on by his embarrassment from last week, he boldly challenges that he and Kojuurou can outscore Aki and Yoshino with a date at stake if she loses and public ridicule for him if she wins. The sudden switch from concern over Kojuurou to furthering his fake relationship with Aki shows just how much she has come to dominate his life.
The drama surrounding the exams lasts roughly half an episode and, of course, not everything goes according to plan. Masamune still ends up getting his date with Aki though, along with a warning from Yoshino that he is better off sticking to her plan instead of trying to improvise his own.To that end, she arranges for Aki to meet him in a rather ridiculous outfit under the pretense that it’s proper first date custom.
Aki’s ignorance is interesting to see here, and shows just how dangerous Yoshino’s position can be. It doesn’t keep her from being snobbish and domineering when she believes she is in the right, but this foray into the unfamiliar world of dating is the first sign of vulnerability from the “Brutal Princess.” The perfect opportunity to humiliate her is forsaken when Masamune reveals that her outfit is in fact abnormal and accompanies her to find a replacement. His kindness doesn’t go unpunished, but we see a softer side of Aki that even Yoshino didn’t anticipate as the date ends.
As if it wasn’t obvious already, Masamune’s obsession with Aki likely goes beyond his revenge plot. The flashbacks indicate that his desire to see her kinder side again may outweigh his anger, but Yoshino isn’t quite done with her lesson yet. There is still romance potential in this series, but for the time being I don’t predict much more than further hi-jinks until Aki changes her mind about Masamune. My interest hasn’t really waned after this 3rd episode, but the series isn’t doing much to grow it either.
– Masamune is starting to turn, and will likely re-evaluate himself soon
– Seeing Aki on the receiving end of ridicule for once is amusing.
– It’s going straight down the predictable path
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party