Wow, a lot cleared up this week: first of all, Sawako and Kazehaya’s classmates are not only incredibly nosy, but incredibly thick as well. Kazehaya has to repeat himself several times in order to make it clear who Sawako is to him: namely his girlfriend. Sawako can scarcely believe it herself. It’s great to hear both Kazehaya and Sawako speak so clearly about these things at last; without all the cryptology and misunderstandings.
This is an episode packed with catharses; Kent confesses that he misled Sawako; while Chizuri admits she also unwittingly discouraged Kazehaya. A drunk (and rather pathetic) Pin steps back and gazes at the relationship he has helped to forge, while reminding Kazehaya never to rely on the benefit of doubt. The best line of the episode was Pin’s: “Does she really look like someone who would just somehow understand things?” Kazehaya is too punch-drunk in love to realize she really isn’t. Rating: 3.5
The first season definitely had its faults. To say the relationship between Sawako and Kazehaya developed at a casual pace would be ludicrously understating matters. Also, Kurumi – the wedge between them – was a bit of a distraction at a crucial point in the story.
Still, this first episode of the second season (labeled “Episode 0”) reminded me why I watched all of the first: I really enjoy the character design. Along with the watercolor backgrounds, this series has always been a feast for the eyes. This episode still way overuses chibi-cuts, but it’s a small price to pay IMO.
This first episode was like easing into a warm bath: it was half-recap of the Kurumi triangle arc, but with new narration from Kurumi’s perspective. I’m a fan of both Aya Hirano’s and Mamiko Noto’s performances as Kurumi and Sawako, respectively. Their vocal versatility combined with the excellent facial animation really brings the characters to life.
I’m hoping this season will not be more of the same wheel-spinning and actually depict Sawako and Kazehaya actually making progress with their mutual courtship..though that may just be blind optimism. I’m not just looking for more of the same…I want to see improvement this season. Rating: 2.5