“Attack! Battle of the Home Visits”
Yoshino grows increasingly suspicious of Neko and tails her into a neighborhood interior where they are intercepted by Masamune’s mom. Masamune returns home to the horror of them both helping with a meal at his mom’s request. Masamune tries to hurry everyone home after the dinner and subsequent fireworks party, but not before Neko secures a valuable piece of information.
The cliffhanger kiss challenge Aki posed to Masamune, as expected, was sidelined as this week’s episode shifts focus onto Neko. After disclosing early on that Neko falsified how she met Masamune, determining the true motives behind her actions makes for an intriguing plot twist. It is obvious whatever Neko has planned involved infiltrating the safety of Masamune’s house; which served to rattle him quite a bit and lends itself to titling this week’s episode.
The enigma surrounding her aside, Neko is a likeable character. Masamune concludes that if she were not such a liar, a relationship between the two might have ignited. I agree. Neko’s obsession with supplements complements Masamune’s rigorous health habits. Agenda’s aside, they both appear to be genuine, relatively naïve teenagers, slowly adapting to the adult world.
If Neko is meant to be some evil antagonist, she doesn’t come across that way. This is based solely off of how she was painted in this week’s episode. Whatever Neko is planning, her behavior seems to lack malicious intent. Instead, I found myself wondering what about her past led her to seek out some sort of revenge. Was Masamune ever a part of Neko’s past? Perhaps while he was preoccupied with winning over Aki, a young Neko was attempting to catch his eye? At this point, the audience can only speculate.
Aside from all this, the scene where Masamune envisions Aki’s head as a succulent ham, in an effort to psyche himself up enough to kiss her, reminded me of Yuri on Ice. Fans of the series may recall Yuri would picture delicious meals to remain calm during particularly stressful performances. I am beginning to think there is something to this and should consider adopting this strategy myself.
– Despite predictable plot, mystery surrounding Neko is enough to garner attention.
– Focus of narrative shifting from protagonists to supporting characters.
– Life lesson: to counter stressful situations, picture food.
– Cliffhangers are completely predictable.
Masamune continues to show his inexperience early on in the episode when he tries to throw Neko of using the same question that Aki flustered him with before. Though he can’t seem to find a way to prove it, he’s sure she’s up to no good somehow. Neko’s primary purpose, however, seems to be to distract Masamune from his original purpose as more than once in this episode he considers that they might have gotten along quite well if they had met under different circumstances. Yoshino, of course, isn’t going to have that.
Unfortunately, Masamune seems more hopeless with Aki than ever. When he decides to take her up on her challenge to kiss, his focus is more on how it’s out of step with his plan rather than on her. It shows how he’s completely out of touch with his own feelings as well as others’ – something Aki hammers home in the after credits scene when she makes him look like a fool for using Neko’s same canned reponse to the question of “what do you like about me?” to try and disarm her the same way Neko did to him.
Neko’s trip to Masamune’s neighborhood in the meanwhile was probably designed to get his mom’s attention (and get into his house), but she probably didn’t expect Yoshino to get roped in. The dinner party is is full of clichés, including a random fireworks party complete with yukatas and watermelon. The decision to move the story along this way is a bit forced, but it does give Neko a chance to find out Masamune’s secret. How this makes him “the same” as her is yet to be explained, but right now I’m guessing that Masamune unknowingly turned Neko down at some point. The end of the episode certainly indicates that his mom seem to know her somehow.
– A bit of mystery building around Neko. Perhaps she’s not as malicious as I first guessed?
– Cliché fireworks party is cliché
– Being at the series midpoint, I expected something more exciting
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party