“It’s Not You”
While studying at home Masamune discovers that the photo of his younger, fatter self is missing and determines who took it. He visits Neko’s apartment in order to find the photo, but is unexpectedly caught in a compromising situation. As Neko strikes at his heart on a personal level, Masamune must weigh the possibility of being with her against getting his revenge.
As a romantic comedy, Masamune certainly has its share of exaggerated humor. Between the light, ‘feel good’ scenes, glimpses of a more serious thread have emerged; likely building towards a momentous climax. Given how few episodes are left in the season, it seemed Masamune had veered too far off course to deliver a consequential finale. From this episode, it appears the series is attempting to refocus in an effort to deliver a more compelling ending.
To summarize, Masamune discovers the picture he had of a young Aki and chunky monkey Masamune went missing from his room. He rather quickly concludes that Neko must have taken it when she visited the Makabe residence. Though he has a younger sister and Yoshino also visited on the same day as Neko, he seemingly jumped to the conclusion that Neko had to have taken it. Regardless, he invites himself to Neko’s home, having ‘been in the neighborhood,’ with the intention of locating the embarrassing snapshot.
The scene in Neko’s apartment is laden with some of the more substantial moments witnessed in this series. Masamune discovers that Neko did take the picture and admits she finds pudgy Masamune, in all his pig footed glory, rather cute. She seals the compliment with a kiss, likely Masamune’s first ever. Sensing that Neko’s actions are not entirely sincere, Masamune pulls away.
After detailing the suffering he endured at the hands of bullies, Masamune determined there is a disconnect between Neko’s desires and pursuits. Sufficed to say, Masamune refuses to subject himself to anymore pain by being with someone who he deems is not truly serious about him. Aki may be brutally straightforward, but she is honest nonetheless and it is something Masamune appears to value far more than feigned admiration.
Neko’s reaction is interesting since it is not what would be expected by someone exploiting a situation for personal gain. Masamune’s rejection has Neko questioning if the physical and emotional pain she is feeling is heartbreak. This begs the theory that their paths did cross at some point (and Masamune doesn’t recall it) or that Neko’s feelings for Masamune are genuine.
The ending scene discloses that Neko has run away, without taking her necessary anti-seizure meds, playing into the “sick girl” trope. Whether this is significant to the events that took place between Masamune and Aki in their childhood remains to be seen. Admittedly, the sudden intimate moment with Neko and Makabe’s hollow feelings towards his revenge plan is intriguing. I only wish it had happened a few episodes sooner.
– Far less wasted filler this week and much more serious content explored.
– Neko’s motives are still vague but starting to become a little clearer.
– Unsure if Neko’s illness is significant to the overall goal yet.
This episode really should have happened last week considering the fact that the beach episode didn’t progress much. Its only connection this week is in giving Aki an excuse to call Masamune to return his bag while the majority of the episode focuses on Neko and her intent behind taking the photo from his room. Even so, while it does a lot to establish Neko’s character, the whole direction still feels separate from the rest of the story.
This episode makes Neko appear as attractive as it can, espousing the harem aspect of the show more strongly than it has before. The purpose behind this isn’t entirely trivial though, as the clear effort to depict her this way is meant to be as much of a distraction for Masamune as it is for the viewer. Neko’s direct bid to get him to choose her does, however, appear to be genuine as she gently assures him that she doesn’t find the fact that he used to be overweight repulsive at all. For a guy who was so self conscious about his weight that he drastically changed his lifestyle to lose it, this is an instantly disarming statement.
Her acceptance aside, a lot about Neko is tempting for Masamune. Conveniently being on her bed, sharing his first kiss, and the fact that he has never actually had the experience of a girl liking him all work against Masamune’s judgement as he offers weak excuses to try to dissuade her. Seeing that it’s the thought of Aki that finally compels him to stop is important, regardless of which direction that motivation comes from. Whether he loves her or hates her what he feels for Aki is real, while anything toward Neko is superficial.
Where this episode gets murky is in the double revelation of how genuine Neko’s feelings are and the reason she takes so many supplements. Her facade, we learn, is deliberate to hide the reality of her condition, and she appears heartbroken over Masamune rejecting her. It sparks some interest in her character but none of this fits quite yet into story that this series is trying to tell.
It’s all very emotional to think that she was trying to put her best face forward to win Masamune over, but any place that she has in the developing story is unclear. Even as Shidou startles him at the end with news of her disappearance and illness, Masamune stays on track by revealing the truth – that he rejected Neko so he could be with Aki.
– Neko’s motivation is better understood with potential in her backstory if it’s used well.
– A strong moment for Masamune when he forsakes a chance to be with someone who doesn’t judge him just so he won’t lose Aki.
– After an arguably wasted episode last week, not understanding where Neko fits into all this is concerning.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party
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