Senryuu Shoujo – 10 – Buggin’ Out

When Amane catches Eiji showing Nanako a beetle, she knows she’s gotta do something to get these two into a more age-appropriate relationship. Nanako still suggests they check out some fireflies at a pond, but Amane can work with that, and arranges another club field trip, using the nighttime setting to make it a test of courage that brings the two lovebirds closer together.

It works like an absolute charm—which is incidentally what Eiji and Nanako are full of—as Nanako naturally clings to Eiji when she gets scared, and he brings her even closer when he senses she’s in danger.

Unfortunately for Tao, she wasn’t let in on the plan for Koto to impersonate a ghost and grab her in the dark tunnel, but her real fear made it more likely Eiji and Nanako would run off together, which they do. When they get to the pond, there don’t seem to be any fireflies, so Nanako makes one with her phone, fooling Eiji with a giggle.

Then the fireflies do indeed appear, and the two get to share in another lovely experience together. When Eiji suggests they write senryuu to mark the occasion, she almost tells him how glad she is he’s there with her, but decides to be coy instead. Some things are better left unsaid…particularly when Eiji likely wouldn’t understand exactly what she meant!

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Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu – 15

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Yuki’s temporary “disappearance” felt like it would be a kind of catalyst to propel her and Kyon together, but in it’s aftermath, one would be forgiven for thinking they’re back to the way they were back in episode one, still trying to feel each other out. They’re both searching for a way to act normal, but since thing were so abnormal for a time there, it’s understandably tough; especially when Kyon isn’t sure this Yuki feels the same way as the ephemeral one who confessed to him.

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But what better way to get two people back on the same page than a beach trip? This episode actually made me pretty excited because I myself will be going on a beach trip tomorrow, along with the rest of the staff (resulting in an unfortunate but unavoidable hiatus in reviews for the day). The bright sun, the hot sand, the swimsuits…it’s a very fun, summer-y vibe.

And both Yuki and Kyon have friends who are ready, willing and able to do little things here and there to make their reconnection easier, like Kyouko kicking a ball to the other end of the beach, sending Yuki out to get it, and ordering Kyon to follow her and play ball.

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Kyon’s little sister comes along on the trip, and even manages to provide an unintentional assist by kicking his brother into a compromising position with Yuki that neither of them seem to mind; in fact, they’re kind of entranced until Kyon’s sister snaps them out of it.

But the fact of the matter is, both he and Yuki are thinking the same thoughts about acting normally, while meanwhile having fun spending time together one-on-one.

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Tsuruya provides another key assist by pairing Kyon not to Haruhi (who at this point is pretty much out of the running…amazing figure or no) but to Yuki for the “test of courage” at night, which turns out to be nothing more than a pleasant evening stroll to a lake known for its swarms of fireflies; a romantic spot if ever there was one.

When Kyon hears Asahina screaming in fright (she thinks they’re will-o-the-wisps for some reason; one of the weaker aspects of the story this week), he runs in that direction, but not before taking Yuki by the hand.

Yuki is clearly exhilarated by being swept along, and even when they reach their destination, neither of them let go, but just soak in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings. Looks like these kids are gonna be fine. Will they (re)confess to each other in the finale, and if so, who will do it first? We shall see.

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Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso – 11

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We’re still in the middle of our journey.

That’s true, both for Kousei, and for us, as this is the eleventh in a 22-episode series. It’s right where we want to be, too: Kousei has, by ‘defiling the sacred garden of competition’, found himself, but he still sucks at the piano right now. He is, in the parlance of Whisper of the Heart, a rough stone that needs polishing to become a gem. That polishing will take time, blood, sweat, and tears…far more than he’s already expended to this point!

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In a shock to precisely no one, Kousei didn’t even make it through the preliminaries; his performance was a train wreck after all, and he stopped in the middle. But he doesn’t care…and that’s what vexes Takeshi so…at first. Tak had always seen Kousei as his HERO; someone who always took the stage alone, never gave up, did amazing things, then left the stage alone. This new, ‘human-like’ Kousei is strange and foreign to him, but in the end, it’s better that he is the way he is now.

Emi certainly sees this as an improvement. As bad as Kousei played, she could hear clearly that he was playing FOR something, or someone, that there was a purpose to him being on that stage beyond playing the sheet music perfectly like a robot. She liked the mischievous Kousei that peeked his head out from behind the curtain, and wants to hear more. And I’m sure she will!

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On the way home from his own loss, Kousei puts on a brave and stoic face, knowing he did his best. But just as Ryouta and Tsubaki did before him, the pang of defeat catches up to him and he has no choice but to run screaming as the train passes. It’s a cheesy scene, but a powerful one, and well-earned.

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Summer approacheth, but Kaori isn’t going to let Kousei rest on his moral laurels. There’s a concert gala at Towa Hall, and they’re going to play together again; this time, Kreisler’s Liebeleid (and I noticed and enjoyed Kaori breaking into German now and then)

Kousei’s mother’s (and, really, his) friend Seto Hiroko, Japan’s top pianist, is an interesting and welcome addition to the cast. Hiroko is super-cool and just happened to be present for Kousei’s self-finding experiment. She’s surprised he went back to the piano, and he tells her about the weird violinist who brought him back into the musician fold, Hiroko was clearly heartened.

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In the flashback, we see a non-evil Kousei’s mom who wasn’t going to make Kousei into a pianist at all “if she could help it”, but it was Hiroko who noticed he had a special gift and insisted his mom nurture it. We know what happened after that. Now, two years later, Kousei’s come out of limbo and wants her to teach him how to play properly again. He owes it to Kaori.

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That brings us to the episode’s climax and the true middle point of the show, in which Kousei finally tells Kaori directly (in a field of fireflies) that it was her that gave him the power and the strength to play. As she had probably gathered, he was playing only for her; sought only her approval and endorsement. This isn’t one of those romantic scenes where the two throw themselves into each others’ arms and kiss, but it was still pretty damn rousing.

So ephemeral and weak. But it’s shining with all its might.

That being said, the show is determined to rain on its own parade by reiterating that NO, Kaori will NOT be around forever for Kousei to lean on. She led him back to the world of music, but no doubt her health won’t allow her to stay on the same path as him much longer. As much as I hate to say it, I just don’t see Kaori lasting until the end of this show.

Which begs the question: how will he deal with her inevitable demise? What or whom will he choose to replace what now seems utterly irreplaceable?

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