3D Kanojo: Real Girl – 10 – Love is Painful, but Also Fun

I’ll admit the title above isn’t a particularly original observation, but one thing it definitely is is true, as anyone who loves or has ever loved someone else can attest. When 3DK started I noted the balance in its core couple, and I stand by that assessment.

Whatever they may feel about their situation, the fact is both of them are at pretty much an equal disadvantage when it comes to matters of love and intimacy. Before falling for one another, neither had any experience with intimacy. Hikari had never liked or been liked by someone like Iroha, and Iroha had never liked or been liked by someone like Hikari.

Their mutual lack of experience has made for a bumpy road as their affection for one another intensifies, but it also leads to some novel strategies someone with more experience than Hikari might not attempt, such as having Iroha present for his gentle rejection of Ayado.

It wasn’t even a stone-cold rejection of Ayado, so much as a calm and measured affirmation that he’s simply already in love with Iroha. More importantly, he showed his work, explaining how he used to feel and how those feelings changed when he learned more about her, and when his preconceptions were replaced by truths.

Iroha, who only wanted to hear Hikari say the words “I love you”, wants to hear them again later, and Hikari knows not to refuse her. Ayado feels bad about being turned down, and both she and Hikari find themselves weighed down by their 3D problems in the immediate aftermath, but after that both are fine; Ayado is refreshed.

Itou knows now is not the time to confess his love for Ayado, nor is he sure such a time will ever come. When making up with Hikari after yelling at him by sleeping over, Itou reveals to Hikari that there’s a girl he likes, but believes he’s already been given his answer.

I wouldn’t be too sure about that; Ayado is coming off a rejection, but given time, she might be receptive to someone like Itou’s feelings provided, ya know, she is aware of them, and that’s up to Itou. It’s up to him whether he can get past the fact she once loved Hikari. In any case, as Itou says, it’s painful being in love, but also fun.

Hikari’s tale of romantic ineptitude is a simple one: he buried himself in games after he decided interacting with people was too hard and painful. It was Iroha who brought him back to the 3D world, and showed him how it wasn’t only pain that awaited him there, but a good deal of joy as well. He also learned how well-equipped he was to live in such a world, owing to his basic decency and kindness.

Iroha’s tale is one we hadn’t delved into, but I’m glad this episode finally does so. Iroha has a pretty face, and so she never wanted for the attentions of men of all ages, whether that attention was appropriate or not. When she pressed those who confessed to her what they liked, they gave only superficial answers.

What changed Iroha from an insular person not any more sure how to interact with people into someone approaching gregariousness was, apparently, a medical diagnosis. She decided she’d interact with as many people as she could, but she only managed to attract those like her; people only looked at the surface and never dug deeper.

In a way it’s hard to blame them, because like her it was all they knew. Then she met Hikari, someone who wasn’t simply looking to share in the kindred understanding of attractive people that your real self will always elude others. Hikari got past that, found the awkward person beneath the surface, and wanted to protect that person…and stuff.

Hikari is still nervous being alone with Iroha, particularly in his room, but after a day of karaoke and bowling during which Iroha discovers Hikari’s cool, intense side (going all out singing) as well as his delicate, nurturing side (clipping her nails when she breaks them while bowling), he comes to the realization he’s okay being with her.

When he and Iroha spotted his little brother holding hands with Takanashi’s little sister, Hikari lamented that he sometimes feels his life moves five times slower than average. But when you only have three months left with your girlfriend before she moves, he realizes that slowing of time is a good thing.

Advertisements

Owarimonogatari S2 – 02

Those ‘battles to come’ Izuko mentioned at the end of “Mayoi Hell”? They weren’t fought or shown in Part Two, “Hitagi Rendezvous”. Instead they remain just over the horizon, foreboding in their present invisibility.

“Rendezvous” is instead primarily interested in re-introducing Senjougahara Hitagi as a prominent figure in Koyomi’s life. Even though she’s kinda always been prominent in his heart and thoughts, we’ve seen so little of her since Koimonogatari that even she seems to be struggling with her character…which is pretty hilarious.

In any case, she’s saved up a ton of “points” that she intends to cash in on with a day-long date with her boyfriend (ending promptly by 7pm so she can have dinner with her father.) It’s also White Day, and they both graduate the day after tomorrow, so now’s the time to enjoy one last gasp of high school romance (before it becomes a college romance).

Ononoki is still hanging out in Koyomi’s house, given the mission by Kagenui to keep an eye on him until ordered to stop (and implying if Kagenui never returns to recind the order, she’ll stay by Koyomi’s side the rest of her life). Tsukihi’s cameo consists of her grabbing and walking off with Ononoki, claiming she’s her favorite plushie.

From then, it’s on to the date! Senjougahara has adopted a Hanekawa-style hairdo, and also acquired a driver’s license having aced her driving test on the first try. She also points out that until very recently (since his “return”) Koyomi has been unable to acquire a license, since as a vampire he wouldn’t show up in photos.

Senjougahara is not your cliched bad driving anime woman; she simply drives Koyomi safely and well without any drama to the first stop on their date: the planetarium. We and Koyomi first learn of her dream to draw the “perfect space map” of the celestial bodies that surround earth on all sides; such maps are shaped like a hand fan, which is also called…an ougi.

Having recently experienced string of action-packed days—dying, travelling to the depths of hell, exams—one can forgive Koyomi for nodding off while lying on the comfy beds below the planetarium dome. When he does, he dreams of Ougi, and Dream Ougi seems to be just as “real” as her physical version.

Instead of Senjougahara, it’s Ougi who shows Koyomi various constellations which match the animals that have represented the oddities/apparitions of his exploits. Shinobu is depicted as a Hydra, Hitagi a Crab; Nadeko the serpent.

Ougi also tells Koyomi she represents “the principles of the universe”, further tying into the fan-shaped map of the cosmos, and tells him of her duty to “eject” those who “break the rules.” They include Izuko, Shinobu, and the newly-resurrected Mayoi. And she hopes, for Koyomi’s sake, he “forsakes” them, thereby assisting her in correcting the mistakes of the universe.

With that, Koyomi wakes up beside Senjougahara (who also nodded off), and from there, they jump from place to place on their date, following up the educational planetarium and science museum with lunch, bowling, and karaoke, with Koyomi unexpectedly beating her in the latter two categories. As “punishment” for losing, Senjougahara walks arm-in-arm and even lets him princess-carry her back to the car.

Finally, after Koyomi admits he hasn’t been able to get Senjougahara a White Day gift, she parks the car by the waterfront and scolds him. But he can make it up to her by taking her hand in his and calling her by her first name, Hitagi, which he does, in one of the most genuinely moving romantic scenes in the entire Monogatari series—and they don’t even kiss! It’s all in the signature closeups and Saito Chiwa’s delivery.

After the credits, Koyomi finds himself alone in another dreamlike dark space with Ougi, who implies his date with Senjougahara was his “last”, or might well be, depending on the choices he makes. If he wants to be Ougi’s ally, he’ll have to help her fight Izuko, “the big sister who knows everything”, and avoid her apparent traps.

Koyomi begain Part Two with a monologue about how his story so far was one of self-preservation; preserving not only one’s life, but prioritizing his love for himself, to the point love with anyone else wasn’t possible. But since he fell for Senjougahara, he feels he’s been gradually losing his narcissism. So has that part of him taken the shape of Oshino Ougi, and is now fighting the “New Koyomi” who has come to love Hitagi more than himself?

Sadly, those questions, and the battles for which Koyomi must choose a side, will not be covered here; this is the end of Owarimonogatari after just two episodes (Edit: apparently not)! But we can be fairly certain Koyomi won’t forsake Shinobu or Mayoi…and we’ll also see one of Koyomi’s inner thoughts—“to win there is an absolute need to lose somewhere along the way”—put to the test. Koyomi’s already lost his vampirism, for good and ill. Who or what will he lose in the final battle(s)?

Ore Monogatari!! – 09

orem91

This week’s episode begins in somber fashion, Suna dreaming about sitting on that bench (the way Takeo did last week) during a particularly red sunset.

As Suna and Takeo part ways for their very different activities, the question becomes: can Oremonogatari have it’s expensive cake you need to get a part-time job at an aniki cafe to afford to buy, and eat it too? And this episode responds resoundingly: Sure, Why the hell not?!

orem92

In the first minute of their meeting and mutual beaming at each other, one can tell it’s already Yamato’s happiest birthday EVAH. And while it’s not his birthday and he has Suna constantly on his mind (since Suna helped him craft the schedule for the day), Takeo can’t help but be happy around Yamato, too.

First up is bowling, which is all kinds of great, from the largest heaviest ball looking like a softball in Takeo’s hand, to the juggling that makes Yamato giddy, to Yamato trying to lift his ball, then going for a lighter one and splitting the pins.

orem93

Their infectious giddiness continues at the expensive patisserie I mentioned, where Yamato is almost content just to look at the amazing confections on display, but fortunately for her Takeo not only made enough at his job to treat her, but has the staff sing her “Happy Birthday,” which sends her into heretofore unexplored depths of elation. She’s just happy Takeo is with her on her birthday, but even moreso that he’s going the extra mile for her sake.

orem94

That’s when the constant references to Suna finally gets Yamato to ask Takeo a question he can’t dodge: “Where’s Suna?” After a pause, and handing her the schedule and planetarium tickets, Takeo tells her the truth; about how Suna’s with his Dad at the hospital, and how Takeo can’t bear to leave him alone anymore and must go to him.

Yamato is upset, but only because Takeo didn’t tell her something important sooner. She urges him to hurry to Suna’s side. At this point, she’s already had a gas, and because both she and Takeo are always thinking of others before themselves, she completely understands; which comes as no surprise. Frankly, a pissed or sad Yamato would be out of character.

Rather, Takeo having to take his leave is precisely why she loves him so much, just as her kindness and selflessness is a big part of why Takeo loves her so much right back.

orem95

Suna must’ve felt bad about the fact his dad’s surgery fell on Yamato’s birthday, so he told him he’d be happiest if Takeo went and had fun. But this was Suna putting Takeo’s happiness ahead of his comfort. By the time Takeo arrives, he’s already had lots of fun with Yamato and vice versa.

When Takeo arrives, he’s not surprised, but it does lift his heart. It also opens it a little more, with him confessing to Takeo that he blames himself for the situation his Dad is in, for not being there for the attack that led to his first hospitalization.

Takeo assures him that no one else feels that way about him. It’s what Suna needs to hear, because he’s had no one to listen to about the matter but his own thoughts for far too long.

Before you know it, the surgery light goes out, the doctor pronounces the op a success, and Suna’s mom and Makoto arrive to take over, glad that Suna didn’t have to deal with this alone after all.

orem96

And wouldn’t you know it, when Takeo and Suna head down to the lobby, there’s Yamato, not only waiting for them, but making paper cranes. Turns out she wanted to finish out the date they organized for her, but couldn’t stop thinking about them and rushed over. I’m with Takeo: I LOVE HER.

This episode deftly avoids all the narrative pitfalls of a big date episode, despite having a heart surgery at it’s tail end. The surgery goes well despite Suna’s initial pessimism, and Yamato proclaims she had her best birthday ever, and she and Takeo, floating on Cloud Nine, proceed to brainstorm getting Suna a girlfriend…maybe one just like Takeo (whom I believe was in Danganronpa…)

orem97

After seeing Yamato safely onto the train, Takeo and Suna, the brothers by other mothers, pay a visit to the butt tree, and the episode ends as it began: with a sunset. But it’s far less red and morose and gloomy as the one of the cold open. Even when the sun goes down and the night’s chill arrives, it’s warm and bright with Takeo by his side.

10_ses

Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete – 06

ushi60

This episode went down a totally different route than the one I expected, but that’s okay; as Commodus said, “I rather enjoy surprises” — the good kind, anyway! Rather then delve back into last week’s mysteries, the show shifts its gaze to Hanamiya Nagisa-senpai, who’s been a bit of a mystery all her own, having been relegated to a supporting role in the ensemble thus far. This week she gets top-billing alongside Sou, and it isn’t wasted.

ushi61

As the club members are talking about their futures after school — something that doesn’t particularly interest Sou — we learn that while Nagisa’s family is fine with her going to college, they’ve still arranged for her to marry the heir to another powerful conglomerate, Reito Hikaru. In a show about lost futures, Nagisa never really had one of her own making to begin with; she was bred to grow up quickly and realize her responsibility as a family bargaining chip; a key resource. This is something no one else in the club has to worry about.

ushi62

An an effort to assert her own will, Nagisa decides to blow off an arranged meetup with Reito-san, instead hanging out with Sou and learning that they’re alike: like her, he’s so content with the time he’s living on now, he’s loath to even think about his future, let alone set it in stone. When Reito tracks them down by chance, Nagisa pretends she and Sou are dating.

ushi63

This is a common trope in anime but its particularly effective here, and not just because Nagisa isn’t a tiresome tsundere. “Cornered” by Reito, the ever-shrewd and quick-thinking Nagisa uses Sou as a shield. But she doesn’t mistreat him, and in any case, Sou, who is so flustered when Nagisa says she loves the club and again when she praises him, is just fine hanging out with Nagisa a little more today.

ushi64

Before he knows it, Sou is in one light, cordial pissing contest after the next with Reito, and while Reito seems to be into the “competition” just as much, he’s a total gentleman throughout, especially where Nagisa is concerned. That’s just as refreshing as Nagisa being so awesomely un-cliche in the way she carries herself and acts towards her two suitors.

ushi65

Of course, Reito eventually tells Sou he knows he’s not really dating his fiancee. He knows because he’s in the same position as Nagisa: a bird in a cage, raised specifically to forge bonds with other powerful groups. As such, he’s well aware that such birds must assert their own wills from time to time, even if they’re bred to always fall back in line in the end. He is willing to give his life for the good of his family, and he’s confident that Nagisa feels the same way.

ushi66

Sou is not so sure, though on the rooftop in private, Nagisa says she’s used to it, that there’s nothing to be done. This is bigger than her and Reito, and their futures are fixed so that their respective businesses will thrive long into the future. Sou doesn’t like the resignation one bit, and asks Nagisa to please keep being the freewheeling person he knows and loves, because he and the gang will be there to help her if things don’t work out. Also, after she made him blush all day, finally Sou gets her to blush a little herself, having told her exactly what she wanted and needed to hear.

ushi67

Then Reito drives Sou and Nagisa home in his E65 BMW (Not a Toyota Century? Not Old Money!), Sou, returns to his dutiful “fiancee” Kaori, like a salaryman having returned home from a long day with a tough client at the office. Only the office was an arcade and his “client” was a friend who needed his support.

ushi68

We learn the episode’s cold open, in which Nagisa bathes with Yui, actually took place after the long, surprisingly emotional day we just witnessed. Nagisa confides in Yui that today she learned that the future isn’t quite as locked into place as she’d thought; no doubt a point Yui would agree with!

8_ses

Sukitte Ii na yo – 03

Mei mentions she needs to go to the hair salon, and Yamato decides to make it into their first date, which Mei isn’t immediately comfortable with. Before going to the salon, he suggests they take their time, and bump into his friends Aiko and Masashi and go bowling with them. Aiko pulls Mei aside and tells her to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t like him, telling her they’d “done erotic things together.” Mei runs off, and Yamato goes after her. He finds her with the stray cat, then shows her his middle school where he punched through a wall out of disgust with himself for not defending a friend, and tells her why he likes her. He asks her if he can kiss her and she lets him.

When you trust someone and get to know them, you’ll eventually learn about their wounds, too.

This is one of the lessons Mei gets out of her somewhat complicated first date with Yamato. She’s just looking to get a haircut, but he inserts himself into that innocuous errand. Yet she still worries about what to wear, and isn’t upset about him being with her. If anything, she’s worried about him being embarrassed to be around her, which is absurd on its face, as Yamato asked to spend the day with her. But with Yamato getting scouted and hit on by women left and right, Mei can’t help but continue going back to that thought prison of “Why is he with me? What does he see in me?”

Those thoughts are only reinforced and then turned to pure fear and panic when Aiko corners her, pretty much tells her she doesn’t deserve Yamato, and mentions she had intimate contact with him. Yamato loses points for letting Aiko do so; Mei is not used to social situations and especially vulnerable to head games, and in any case, suddenly turning a first date into a double date is just not something you do. Though watching Mei throw a Turkey was simultaneously awesome and not altogether unexpected, as she already exhibited hidden athleticism in the kick Yamato fell for. Yamato does get points for A): connecting the dots and realizing Aiko made Mei run away, B): knowing where Mei would run to, and C): asking nicely before kissing her.

But while there’s a symbolic image of Aiko stepping on glass vowing to destroy Mei and win Yamato back, she’s not altogether evil, just imperfect, and like everyone else, wounded. Some of those wounds are her own: losing weight and ruining her skin with cosmetics, all out of a self-imposed obligation to “work hard” for a boyfriend and appear as beautiful as possible when around him. She sees Mei as ugly, dreary, indecisive, and lazy – everything she fights not to be – and fumes over Yamato’s apparent attraction to her in spite of those traits. But we heard from Yamato’s mouth a very good explanation for liking her. Unlike Yamato and Aiko, Mei doesn’t hide. Like the stray cat, little by little Mei is getting used to the fact that Yamato is someone she can trust.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S.:  One the one hand, Masashi seems like just a placeholder for Yamato, and knows it, which is kind of awful; on the other hand, he (and she too) may well just be in it for the sex. Aiko certainly doesn’t seem that into him.