Aki dismisses Masamune after seeing a mysterious girl acting cozy with him, prompting him to struggle to find ways to win her back. The girl transfers to their school the next day with a phony story about Masamune’s generosity toward her. When he and Aki get in trouble during an argument, they are assigned pool duty where pranks ensue and feelings are challenged.
The mysterious Asuna look alike from last week’s episode, viewers learn, is named Neko Fujinomiya. She came prepared with a heartwarming tale about their meeting; ending with Masamune being a generous, thoughtful soul. The only problem is the time frame doesn’t add up, meaning this unrequited love story (on Neko’s end) is an absolute farce.
With no (accurate) history about Neko known, viewers can only surmise her lies are attributed to some hidden agenda; likely guided by Yoshino. Her introduction to the narrative can be classified as a love triangle, but I’m not sold on that angle just yet. Masamune admits Neko is beautiful, but he seems far more frustrated with trying to convince Aki that this lovely transfer student means nothing to him.
The episode ends with another cliffhanger moment, with Aki challenging Masamune to prove his feelings towards her. What is seemingly absent is the merciless, frigid Aki introduced at the start of the series. Though she is still domineering, her vulnerable side is beginning to show. Masamune and Aki have a connection that they, in their naïve ignorance, have yet to fully comprehend. Slowly the satisfaction of revenge is being replaced by deeper, more fulfilling emotions.
– Another cliffhanger, though all too predictable.
– Introduction of intriguing supporting character with a hidden agenda.
– More of what took place between Aki and Masamune needs to be explored.
– Overall, narrative is sort of predictable, but not at all disappointing for a rom com.
The sudden arrival of Neko Fujinomiya brings more trouble for Masamune than he’s prepared for. Checking another cliche off the list with the mid year transfer student, Neko’s arrival, with phony story about a past encounter with Masamune, seems to catch even Yoshino by surprise. Her antics and sly comment about a “splendid game” raise all sorts of questions, but makes it fairly clear that she’s part of some ploy, against either Aki or Masamune (or both?).
The episode unfortunately brings little insight as to what her goal is. Aside from trying to be be cute in front of Masamune and resorting to some pretty questionable tactics to drive a wedge between him and Aki, we don’t see enough to make a clear judgement as to her intent. What she achieves in this episode, however, is in turning Aki against Masamune once more. The blundering Masamune, ever naive in dealing with girls, has trouble seeing through Neko, but he doesn’t lose sight of the fact that he needs to focus on Aki.
The things he does in response to his frustration over Aki are telling. He buys lunch for her, planning to use one of his shoujo lines to patch things up, before somberly realizing she is hurt and leaving the lunches without confronting her. He loses sleep over what happened, and tells Neko to back off. He even forgets his reluctance to get his clothes wet and jumps in the pool to save Aki when he sees her struggling, and remarks on his own unnatural annoyance when she still rejects him. All these things continue to highlight the difference between his scheming and genuine sides.
For Aki’s part, she may be trying to lure his genuine feelings out as well. Despite her outward coldness, Masamune has gotten under her skin. If he’s going to be successful, in either romance or revenge, he needs to step up to her challenge in a way that doesn’t rely on his shoujo manga or Yoshino.
– Masamune is the closest to showing concern for Aki’s feelings as he’s been so far.
– Aki is still her same stubborn self, but her inability to ignore Masamune keeps her from being a one-note cruel princess
– Neko just kind of feels thrown in at this point
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party