Mei mentions she needs to go to the hair salon, and Yamato decides to make it into their first date, which Mei isn’t immediately comfortable with. Before going to the salon, he suggests they take their time, and bump into his friends Aiko and Masashi and go bowling with them. Aiko pulls Mei aside and tells her to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t like him, telling her they’d “done erotic things together.” Mei runs off, and Yamato goes after her. He finds her with the stray cat, then shows her his middle school where he punched through a wall out of disgust with himself for not defending a friend, and tells her why he likes her. He asks her if he can kiss her and she lets him.
When you trust someone and get to know them, you’ll eventually learn about their wounds, too.
This is one of the lessons Mei gets out of her somewhat complicated first date with Yamato. She’s just looking to get a haircut, but he inserts himself into that innocuous errand. Yet she still worries about what to wear, and isn’t upset about him being with her. If anything, she’s worried about him being embarrassed to be around her, which is absurd on its face, as Yamato asked to spend the day with her. But with Yamato getting scouted and hit on by women left and right, Mei can’t help but continue going back to that thought prison of “Why is he with me? What does he see in me?”
Those thoughts are only reinforced and then turned to pure fear and panic when Aiko corners her, pretty much tells her she doesn’t deserve Yamato, and mentions she had intimate contact with him. Yamato loses points for letting Aiko do so; Mei is not used to social situations and especially vulnerable to head games, and in any case, suddenly turning a first date into a double date is just not something you do. Though watching Mei throw a Turkey was simultaneously awesome and not altogether unexpected, as she already exhibited hidden athleticism in the kick Yamato fell for. Yamato does get points for A): connecting the dots and realizing Aiko made Mei run away, B): knowing where Mei would run to, and C): asking nicely before kissing her.
But while there’s a symbolic image of Aiko stepping on glass vowing to destroy Mei and win Yamato back, she’s not altogether evil, just imperfect, and like everyone else, wounded. Some of those wounds are her own: losing weight and ruining her skin with cosmetics, all out of a self-imposed obligation to “work hard” for a boyfriend and appear as beautiful as possible when around him. She sees Mei as ugly, dreary, indecisive, and lazy – everything she fights not to be – and fumes over Yamato’s apparent attraction to her in spite of those traits. But we heard from Yamato’s mouth a very good explanation for liking her. Unlike Yamato and Aiko, Mei doesn’t hide. Like the stray cat, little by little Mei is getting used to the fact that Yamato is someone she can trust.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
P.S.: One the one hand, Masashi seems like just a placeholder for Yamato, and knows it, which is kind of awful; on the other hand, he (and she too) may well just be in it for the sex. Aiko certainly doesn’t seem that into him.