Love Lab – 12

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Momo and Nana expound on their scheme to turn love lab requests into fictional stories; the student council is excited about the idea. Riko still hasn’t told Maki the truth, and when Maki joins her cram school, Nagi almost tells her, and Yan does, but Maki doesn’t believe him. Riko continues to procrastinate, and is finally (almost) able to come out with the truth before a teacher drags her away for wearing a hair band. In the hall, Riko runs into her friend Mika, who knows she’s a love novice. Maki overhears them, but pretends she didn’t.

Those hoping Riko would finally come clean and face either Maki’s wrath or her forgiveness will have to wait one more week; the lie is going all the way down to the wire. As her cram school teacher can attest, Maki is very academically gifted, but we also thing she’s capable of putting two and two (and two) together: Yan’s blabbing about Riko not being popular; Riko’s half-confession after their run; Mika talking with Riko in the hall; all of it points to Riko lying about her romantic experience.Even if Riko wasn’t able to deliver a full confession, everything’s out there, and Maki has the wit to see it. But does she have the heart to?

What we mean is, Maki and Riko are good friends now, and she’s always going to give Riko the benefit of the doubt, and doesn’t want to consider the possibility that Riko has lied to her, even if that’s what all the evidence suggests. Her fondness for Riko, is preventing her from accepting that conclusion. It’s still up to Riko to once and for all tell her the truth and face the consequences. Unless – God forbid – a second season allows her to keep her lie going as a constant cloud over her friendships, Riko is out of time. To her credit, Riko did start her confession. Now she just needs to finish it.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Love Lab – 11

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The Love Lab gets a request regarding “Hairstyles boys like”, so Riko asks Nagi at cram school, who tells her about a girl whom his classmates idolize, who is probably Maki. Meanwhile Maki’s sister reads her love research and alerts her dad, who decides to let Maki attend a co-ed cram school. It happens to be the same one Riko, Nagi, and Yan attend, and she makes a scene when Yan calls her “Natsuo”. Nagi suspects that Riko’s been putting on airs to fool her friends. When the school reverses its policy forbidding contact with boys, Momo and Nana offer space in their newspaper for “Love Lab Correspondence.”

– “Are you a master of love?”
– “W-Well, yeah! I’ve had a few boyfriends, of course.”

That little conversation when Riko and Maki first met began the now long-standing fiction that can only end badly unless Riko sets the story straight. Whenever Maki, Eno, and/or Suzu gush over Riko’s non-existent romantic prowess, she always squirms with guilt that only Sayo has detected thus far. Now that Maki attends cram school with Riko and her two childhood friends, there’s no way the lie can survive. The question is, will she come clean of her own accord, or wait for it to all blow up in her face, wounding all her friendships new and old?

Whatever happens, there should be some decent character drama in store to go along with the comedy, which was particularly abundant this week. Maki’s whacked-out courtship fantasies are always entertaining (as is the commentary by whomever is enduring them), and this week she made Yan her straight man, overreacting to a simple misunderstanding about her name. She’s pretty useless around guys, but Riko doesn’t do much better, and Nagi doesn’t help. You get the feeling the two actually like each other, but are simply never able do or say the right thing at the right time, causing mutual frustration leading to discord.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Eno complaining about hair fluttering while actually doing it, followed by the others doing it in unison, was pretty funny.
  • It’s Riko’s fault she’s in this dilemma for lying, but Maki’s sister didn’t help matter by pleading with their father to let Maki attend cram school with boys.
  • Maki’s dad is pretty protective, and sings songs about lingerie, but at least he doesn’t force her to pose for nude photo shoots every year, unlike some rich dads…
  • Maki rides in a spankin’ new Mercedes CLS. What do those go for in Japan? Oh, a cool ¥9,450,000, or US$95,185.

Love Lab – 09

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When they learn that Nana inadvertently got Sayori in trouble and that she’ll be forced to leave the student council, Maki, Riko, Suzu, Eno, Nana and Momo formulate a “rescue operation.” They collaborate to clear Sayo of wrongdoing by telling the teachers it wasn’t a boy she was meeting with, but Maki, dressed as “Makio Evolved”. By having the trustworthy Maki at point and peppering their lies with kernels of truth, they’re able to pull it off. Maki’s stock falls, but Sayori’s rises and she’s able to stay on the council.

Riko may not care for Sayori’s tendency to go after peoples’ weak spots (in Riko’s case, the lie about her being a love expert), but she, Maki and Suzu had grown accustomed to her in the student council, and obviously she and Eno are attached at the hip as they’ve always been. So when she gets into a spot of trouble and says she won’t bother fighting it, they do what any real friends would do and step up and fight for her. Even if their efforts cost them their own reputations, losing Sayori would be a bigger blow to them.

Similarly, we’re so used to Maki acting nutty – and she’s so used to acting nutty in the council office – we initially forget that the newspaper association is sitting right there, and they’re seeing her like that for the first time (Momo’s impressed, but Nana’s a little scared). Their plan is far-fetched, but they make sure to get all the details right – like the fake mole on Maki’s face; mix the truth in with the lies, and rely on Maki’s substantial political capital with the teachers to rescue Sayori from exile, and they succeed! It was nice to see everyone putting the past behind them and getting along in order to save her.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)