Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2 – 06 – Getting a Grip

When will Nishikata learn that no amount of training will prepare him for the mind games Takagi plays on him? Not this week, as he revives their gym challenge (which he also lost last year). The thing is, even though he sucks at toe touches and fails the grip test due to imagining he’s holding her hand, Takagi still technically loses. She just gets him to admit defeat before she tells him he has a higher score. Better luck next year, I guess!

With Nishikata’s after-school committee work done and the class camping trip looming, Takagi picks up on his desire to leave school together (even though he doesn’t want it to look like he wants to, she reads his mind) and they practice one-on-one dodgeball. Again, Nishikata’s proficiency with dodging does him no good, as Takagi first tricks him by making him turn his back, then gets into the weeds about whether he’ll dodge or catch, causing him to ask, again and again, “We’re talking about dodgeball, right?”

When the three girls stop at a sweets shop after work for some snacks, a black-and-white cat inexplicably swipes a piece of candy Mina just gave to Yukari after her stomach growled, and the girls give enthusiastic chase through various obstacles. The athletic Sanae is the only one able to keep up, but when she finds the cat giving the snack to three adorable kittens, she gives up and tells the others she lost track of her. Clearly, the mama cat needed it more than Yukari!

Takagi and Nishikata end up at the same sweets shop, where Takagi proceeds to buy the opposite of everything Nishikata picks out, so that they can exchange with each other later. After the dodgeball Nishikata is also hungry, so he buys a cup of noodles to eat in-store, and Takagi does the same. This marks the first time just the two of them are out to eat, which Takagi observes makes it a date—inducing a hot ramen spit take from Nishikata.

He’s confident he can deny to anyone who sees them that they are on a date (i.e. intentionally spending time and sharing a meal together one-on-one), but when his two nerdy friends enter the shop, they slink in, make their purchases, and slink out without saying a word, as if no denial from Nishikata would even matter. They know what they saw!

With that, Takagi expresses her excitement about the coming camping trip, implying it will be yet another new setting for new forms of teasing (i.e. flirting). Kudos to Takagi for finding new ways to expand their interactions despite his outward reluctance, as well as to Nishikata for inwardly admitting it probably was a date they were having then and there.

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Golden Time – 18

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Koko may have sent Banri off to his hometown with her full trust and blessing, and it’s good to see her obsessional tendencies haven’t vanished with the flip of a switch, as he visits her apartment to smell his bed. But here’s the thing—and we say this having had nothing but love for Nana thus far—that whole scene kinda felt like padding, and both the Exorcist pose and Yakuza guy were really random. We did, however, enjoy how easily and quickly Koko got Nana to TAP OUT. Girl doesn’t know her own strength!

Once we got to Shizuoka, things got more encouraging. We really felt Banri’s increasing anxiety as they near the reunion: this was a big deal. But the dodgeball game, in which everyone wore a name tag for Banri’s benefit, was a classy gesture. We also totally believe that Linda would use Banri’s new-found interest in the past as an excuse to settle a long-standing dodgeball score. We also liked the subtle details like Linda telling Banri to drop the “-senpai”, since they’re at the reunion as classmates of the same year, or how a lot of the classmates’ reminiscing revolved around Past Banri’s devotion to Linda—though they only refer to her as “some girl.”

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With Banri and Linda walking around their hometown alone at night, it’s easy to get carried away by all the dramatic and romantic potential scrounged up by such a scenario. The episode decided to play it relatively safe and sedate, with Banri acknowledging that he wants to live and be himself: the past and present, the good and bad. Linda says she’s happy with the way things are too, but here, as throughout the episode, we got the feeling she’s still holding back; that a part of her still can’t accept the way things are. She even seems to hint at it, but then Banri runs to the bridge.

There, he has a flashback to the fall, envisioning his past self stopping him from saving him. In the process he drops and shatters the mirror Koko gave him, which is so overt an omen we’re tempted to believe it’s a red herring. But if returning to the place where he was split in two has a restorative effect on his memories, it’s not unrealistic (though not particularly scientific either) to imagine his present self becoming compromised or overpowered, even to the point he loses his feelings for Koko. Meanwhile, all this time Linda’s been concealing her feelings for Banri, but the time may come when he figures it out on his own.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)