Sukitte Ii na yo – 12

In the first half, Yamato and Momo go to Megumi’s house, but she won’t come out. Yamato tries his best, but it’s ultimately heartfelt words from Momo that coax her out. Megumi goes back to work, weathers the storm of hate at school, and gets a hair cut to represent her new life without lies or shallow friends. In the second half, the summer festival arrives, and Yamato and Mei go with Asami and all their friends. They part ways early, but Mei’s mom insist she put on a yukata and go back. She meets Yamato at the shrine, who is very happy to see her, despite their missing the fireworks.

Megumi’s catharsis, while important, didn’t need a whole episode all to itself. Nor did the summer festival. Realizing this, the series shrewdly combined them to make this episode. We like the choice, because it made both stories move quickly and efficiently, without losing any of their emotional impact. Megu-tan had simply had her fill of the way she interacted with people and swerved off the road. Yamato and her best friend Momo are able to restore her confidence and get her back on track. She can’t live her life concerned with what others think about her. And her wild new hair rocks, so there’s that.

The second half shows us how far this circle of friends has come, and it’s nice to see them as one big happy group simply enjoying the summer festival (also efficiently illustrated via montage). Asami is the glue that brought them all together, and when she eats to much and gets sick, everyone kinda drifts away, though the night is still young. Mei, ever going with the flow, misses the opportunity, but we’re glad her mom gives her a well-needed nudge back out to see Yamato alone. The sight of her in traditional dress utterly floors him, and they share a kiss – the perfect ending to an episode that is equal parts redemptive and feel-good.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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Sukitte Ii na yo – 11

Kai confronts and lambastes Megumi for trying to bring Mei and others down. When Asami and Aiko tell Megumi that Yamato and Mei are going to spend their first night together, she tries to bribe them and fails. Her attempt to banish Momo from her circle of “friends” also backfires, and they all abandon her. She leaves the agency before her shoot and pigs out on junk food in the dark. Meanwhile, Yamato and Mei spend the day at Land. Their plans are sidetracked when they’re stuck with Nagi, but they stay at the hotel anyway, and settle for spooning. In the morning the modeling agency calls Yamato saying they can’t get ahold of Megumi.

We knew Megu-tan would be in for a world of pain following her abortive scheming last week, and indeed, the hammer of reckoning comes down hard on her. However, we didn’t expect that witnessing her comeuppance would result in us actually feeling sorry for her. Damn you, Sukitte Ii na yo! Why can’t she just be one-dimensionally evil like King Oberon! We kid. Basically, Megumi’s current situation is the result of going down the wrong road to happiness: making herself cute and beautiful, becoming a model, and using her fame and wealth to make friends. The thing is, none of this is making her remotely happy. After a particularly bad day in which everyone gives her a dressing-down at once, she decides she’s had it, retreating to her flat to gorge on chips of various kinds.

The episode does a great job balancing Megumi’s downfall with the rise of Yamato+Mei, one more thing Megumi isn’t happy about. The episode teases us with the possibility of the lovebirds spending their first night together, but their chance encounter with Nagi puts the kibosh on that right quick. But as contrived as that happenstance was, we didn’t really mind it that much. We just couldn’t see Yamato and Mei jumping into the sack so suddenly considering their mutual nervousness, and their decision to take it nice and slow is true to their characters. They probably could have come to that decision if they’d had the room to themselves, but Nagi just made it that much easier. What we fear, however, is Megumi and/or Yamato feeling guilty for Megumi’s meltdown.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Sukitte Ii na yo – 10

Megumi gives Land tickets to Kai, and starts isolating Mei by intercepting and hanging out with Asami and Aiko, while spreading rumors about Mei and Kai that trouble Yamato. When he gets wind of the rumor that Kai is taking Mei to Land, he confronts them both. Kai stands his ground, telling him he’s not being attentive enough to Mei, and hasn’t changed from the calculating kid who never publicly acknowledged him. When Yamato throws a punch in rage, Kei blocks it and counters with his own, knocking him down, but Yamato won’t let him have Mei. Yamato backs down, apologizing and admitting Yamato’s inaction led to him getting stronger on his own. He leaves Yamato and Mei, who exchange apologies and decide to go to Land together.

Operation Sabotage Yamato+Mei commences, and the level of complexity and coordination in Megumi’s scheme is dizzying. If only she put this much effort into finding another guy, she’d have one, AMIRITE? But seriously, we always knew she was bad news. We just didn’t know why, beyond a shallow “I want what I want” mentality. In reality, and beneath all the good looks and social graces, she’s just as lonely, uneasy, and un-confident as Mei. One reason she may want to destroy Mei is because she sees a lot of herself in her. Get rid of that part of her for good, and maybe Yamato will notice her. But her schemes are simply the wrong way of going about it, and if Yamato ever finds out she’s behind any of it, he’ll hate her. Three people felt tinges of suspicion in her behavior, including Kai and Aiko, but only Momo (another classmate) called her out on her mood swings.

From what we’ve seen, every character in this series has wounds an a degree of inferiority, but they deal with it in different ways. Kai and Mei both know the pain of being alone and ostracized. Aiko and Megumi know the pain of hating their bodies and keeping up appearances  Yamato, meanwhile, has Megumi’s social graces, but has always strove to fit in, and has always been damned good at it; so good, it invoked resentment and envy from Kai. The whole climactic confrontation between Yamato and Kai, with Mei looking on, was fantastic. It not only ended amicably, but also completely torpedoed Megu-tan’s plan. Other than first reaching out to Mei, he’s been very passive. Kai calls their relationship “bland” and lacking in urgency. We agree with him. Their date to Land will hopefully move things along…especially if it turns out Yamato booked that hotel room! WOO yeah!


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Sukitte Ii na yo – 08

Mei kisses Yamato, but has nothing to follow it up with, and in a moment of shyness she pushes him away with her words, and he goes home. Rumors persist, and in a new magazine interview, Megumi all but declares her love for Yamato, though not by name. After pushing away Asami and Aiko, Megumi goes home alone. Aiko tells Yamato about the rumor, and he chases after Mei to clear things up. While at work, Mei meets Takemura Kai, who is transferring to her school. Right after accidentally breaking her bracelet, Yamato appears and apologizes.

This episode is called “New to Love”, and quite appropriately so. By the end, Mei learns that she’s not the only one new to love; Yamato is to. As such, they’re both going to make mistakes, and they’re both going to worry and not say what they should say or say what they shouldn’t say, and misinterpret each other’s words and actions, and see deeper meaning in trifling events. The difference is, Yamato is new to love despite being fawned over by the masses and having been involved previously (with Aiko). Mei is new new, as in she’s barely ever spoken to a boy before Yamato. Her newness is such that when the golden opportunity comes for her to tell Yamato what she feels about his modelling and Megumi, she just chokes.

She’s in her head too much, and that’s causing her pain, which is all she says she’s experienced since falling for Yamato, which makes part of her want to just quit by the end. But of course, pain isn’t all she’s experienced. She’s also experienced RABUJOI love and joy in her dealings with Yamato – and it’s mutual, despite her suspicions. Thankfully, the episode doesn’t end in an ultra-ambiguous mess of emotions – both Mei and Yamato finally gets to say what they should have said days ago, and with a well-timed kick in the pants by Aiko, Yamato spills the beans and assures her nothing’s going on with Megumi. But as last week’s kiss proved, one moment of clarity won’t be enough to maintain their relationship. There’s got to be an open dialogue.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S. Oh yeah, about Kai, the mohawk dude. He just kinda showed up. Grabbed Mei inapproprately, asked if he could have her key, and left. Is he going  to be competition for Yamato? We’ll see.

Sukitte Ii na yo – 07

Yamato and Megu-tan’s photo shoot is a big hit at school, and Megumi informs Yamato the studio wants him to come back for more modeling work. Mei doesn’t voice her real feelings, so he agrees, and starts spending more and more time with Megumi. When Mei hears the rumor that Yamato has been seen leaving Megumi’s house at night, she breaks down. Asami and Aiko give her a good cop/bad cop pep talk, both speaking from their experience with jealousy. Mei decides to take Aiko’s advice and act – walking straight up to Yamato in the hallway full of classmates and kissing him.

Last week we said Mei was in a world of trouble, and she still was for most of this episode, and as long as she keeps her feelings internal and wallows in the shadows. This week the aggressive Megumi’s edges are softened somewhat. Her actions – getting Yamato to work more at a job in which they’re always together; making too much food so he comes over to eat it – seem a bit too skewed in favor of what Megumi wants to be totally innocent, but unlike Aiko, she still hasn’t called Mei out, but that could also be a sign of hostility, as she doesn’t even deem Mei worth the trouble of a war declaration. She’s warm and friendly to her, but everything she’s doing just happens to work against Mei, and Mei is doing nothing about it except getting more and more emotionally bent-out-of-shape.

Well, this week Mei takes the first step towards changing that. She’s stopped herself from telling Yamato his text is late, she’s given him no sign that she has a problem with him hanging out with Megu-tan for large swaths of time (though you’d think he’d pick up on her body language), and she even postpones what should be a demand for an explanation vis-a-vis Yamato leaving Megumi’s house (while they’re just having dinner, it’s still…weird). Instead, she gives Yamato a big kiss in front of everyone. A reminder to him and everyone that yes, she’s still there, yes, she likes Yamato, and yes, he belongs to her.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Sukitte Ii na yo – 06

Mei is attempting to bake cookies for Yamato. A new student, Kitagawa Megumi, transfers to their class. She’s a magazine idol and immediately asks Yamato to be her boyfriend. He rejects her, but she comes back and hopes she can be friends with both him and Mei. As Megumi starts inserting herself into Yamato’s life, convincing him to model with her, Mei starts to feel worried, inferior and lonely. The feelings only get worse when she attends a photo shoot where Yamato and “Megu-tan” have to pretend to be lovers.

Another week, another fresh rival whom Mei feels she has no chance against. Mei’s never going to win any charisma contests, so Megumi has no trouble squeezing herself between her and Yamato, who shares her dazzling “aura” and instantly wins the hearts and minds of the school. Both her classmates and her photo shoot team agree that Yamato and Megumi make a perfect couple, and all Mei can do is stand there, and would smile and pretend it’s okay if someone noticed her. And no one does – not with those two lighting up the room.

This is just the latest instance of Yamato failing to comprehend the depth of his unlikely girlfriend’s sensitivity. She can’t even imagine a time when she’d feel comfortable calling him by his given name, so why would he think she’s okay watching him get close and personal with another, far more glamorous girl – and in photos that will surely be distributed around school? He says he couldn’t refuse to model, but that’s ridiculous. Of course he could. And he could certainly have told Megumi he’d think about it so he could discuss it with Mei in private. Mei is being totally outmaneuvered by Megumi. She’s in a world of trouble.


Rating: 8 (Great)