Two ep28s and more twos

Mei picks up a friend awful quick.

Sukitte li na yo 2 continues to give the shoujo romance tropes little twists to keep them fresh, though some of the storytelling effects that made episode one stand out are missing this time. What amazed me the most about this episode was how quickly Mei accepts new friends. Naturally, she’s a little uncomfortable being in a group singing karaoke but no one really minds that. Her new best girlfriend is Asami and before you can blink she’s asking Mei if she likes Yamato and admitting that she herself does. Mei has every reason to be embarrassed or run away from these new social things but she doesn’t, which I find very interesting.

Standard-issue girl bullies.

I also like how they handle some of the other common shoujo things, like our pair of backbiting bullying bitches who make fun of Asami for her big chest. Standing up to them was a nice thing to see (though why didn’t she use her excellent kicking skills?), but the surprise was that we don’t see the fight. Also, nothing is resolved. You know that Asami will continue to get abuse from them, and so will Mei, probably. Bullying is a fact of life in that school, an ongoing nuisance, and probably for this show a convenient tool for moving the story along when someone needs to be tested. And there is the side story of Kenji the fool, trying to do some good and only making it worse, until he takes a tip from Mei (already someone he can trust) and makes everything better than it was in the first place. (Nice confession, Kenji!).

I’m getting suspicious of Yamato.

But the most interesting pot stirring comes from Yamato. The story goes around that he’s kissed every cute girl in the school. Asami’s in love with him and isn’t surprised when Mei says she is too (no dilly-dallying for Mei. She won’t lie to herself and extend her indecisiveness for episodes or like that other show, an entire two seasons). Everyone likes him because he’s so nice, but you begin to see here that this might simply be a way of manipulating people, especially girls he wants to kiss. At the episode end Mei confronts him about this kissing business, so he plants a few more on her. After the third or fourth Mei is completely defenseless, and he knows it. How many other girls has he done this to? Another good episode, but as I said, the story was told more straightforwardly than usual. Too much to tell, less time to get flashy.

A hoedown before the launch.

Space Brothers 28 takes a little time to digress about the UFO. Why not? The show takes its time doing everything, and I was curious about what that footage Hibito had recorded actually was. So are the astronauts, showing their wondering, geeky sides as well (I loved that. These men and women are trained physically and mentally to do practical things in space, yet they still have a trace of “wow!” sensibility) It shouldn’t be a surprise to find out what it was. The point of the whole thing was to demonstrate the bond the brothers have, that one of them would do so much to make the other one happy, and protect him from bullies. Even if the footage was bad enough that no one would believe it. It was pretty much a farewell episode for Hibito, even if he hasn’t actually gone up yet.

Zetsurn no Tempest 2 tells us very little we didn’t know already. We get some talk at the beginning in the “Now, let me get this straight” category to fill Yoshina in on the situation, and to remind us, I suppose. Hakaze wants off the island, Fuwa wants his bloody revenge, and we spend much of the episode watching Yoshino try to figure out what he wants, apart from staying alive for the time being. Yamamoto’s still gunning for him,, you see, and come to think of it I wouldn’t have minded some explanation as to why. I honestly can’t remember why she’s pointing guns at people. In the end it looks like Yoshino’s decided not to abandon his friend. Good thing, too, since Fuwa, gleefully quoting Hamlet, has taken on a Samon guy who’s probably too powerful for him. And so we have a pretty good idea of the two boys’ basic differences. And it looks like I was wrong about that girlfriend in the next town.

The first half of Polar Bear’s Cafe 28 isn’t terribly interesting. Panda switches places with Polar Bear and runs the cafe. He actually does a pretty good job when they finally get him to unlock the door. Polar Bear trying to be Panda was the funnier bit. Part two, all about Full-Time Panda, is a lot better. FTP, pretending to be Panda-kun, asks the creepy Rin Rin out, and the whole thing resembles a scene where a jealous girl is confronting a boy about another girl he likes better, except the girls in this case are pandas and the boy is creepy. To be fair, Rin Rin acquits himself well, patiently listening to FTP’s increasingly drunken speeches and coming to the zoo the next day to give him cuteness tips. I think they could have done more with that scene and less with the aftermath, but it’s a good segment nonetheless.

It took me longer to choose a screenshot than watch the episode.

Teekyu 2 is as frantic as #1. I had to watch it twice and I still missed some of the jokes. And trying to get a decent screenshot is a nightmare. But it’s only two minutes, what the hell.

2 thoughts on “Two ep28s and more twos

  1. I was waiting for you to post about episode 2 of Suki-tte. I think one reason for why Mei was able to connect with Asami so quickly was because that Asami also received her share of bullying, of which Mei could find common ground on. I think that the kick from Mei in episode 1, was not her standard reaction to such situations. I believe that the cumulonimbus clouds were symbolic for her losing her cool, and that in her years of isolation, she preferred to not retaliate, like when the group of three girls were making fun of her in the hallway. Retaliation would probably draw even more unwanted attention to herself, which most people would not want more of

    I found it interesting too, that Mei gave Kenji a tip, although I think that it had more to do with helping out Asami than him. Asami did say that there were people who understand and get along with her, which helped her to manage with the bullying, and Mei perhaps got the sense that Kenji was one such person since they have probably known each other for a while. Normally, Kenji makes a lot of comments on breasts, but having known him for a long while, Asami would know if there was more to his character than just that, and was hurt by his really bad defense. If in her mind, Kenji was just like the bullies, I think she would have kept her cool as she usually does. Although maybe I am horribly off about this and those two were never really that close in the first place, and that Asami accepted his feelings because she has confidence issues and having a boyfriend will make her feel better.

    After part of the conversation between Asami and Kenji went by, the show flashed back to Mei, saying something along the lines of “Who am I to be saying such a thing?” and I interpreted that as her believing that it was out of place for her to tell Kenji to express his true feelings for Asami when she is afraid to express her feelings towards Yamato herself. With Yamato being the first person that she made a meaningful interaction with in years and with him being the first significant male in her life since her father passed away, I think she wants to have a meaningful relationship with him. As the episode progressed, Mei found out that Asami had also kissed Yamato and saw her use her lipstick in the washroom (perhaps she thought that Asami would be going for another kiss), and was told by Asami that Yamato has missed most of the cute girls in the school and that although she liked him, he probably doesn’t feel the same way since he gives kisses away too easily to girls that he doesn’t have feelings for. Mei became increasingly frustrated, and thought that perhaps she was just an outlet for Yamato to express his desires for Arai, and her trust issues began showing, with her glancing at Arai as well as staring at the corner of a hallway when the two of them were conversing. I believe that Mei wants to feel that what they had was special, but she was becoming increasingly doubtful of this.

    She went so far as to stalk Yamato and was relieved to see that he wasn’t leaving the building with Arai. She may have heard that he kisses a lot of girls, but she has not seen this yet, and looked like she was out to see if Yamato would betray her (at least in my opinion). Even after seeing that he didn’t come out with Arai, Mei’s body language was not very positive and she was even attempting to leave as the thought that kisses don’t have high value to him probably lingered in her mind. As she stated earlier in the episode, Mei didn’t understand Yamato, but wanted to try and trust him. But, she clearly still has trust issues that were ignited after hearing more about Yamato form Asami. She is sexually attracted to him, which I believe was the point of the scenes emphasizing his lips earlier in the episode, but feared putting herself in harm’s way, which is why she still wished to avoid Yamato after checking up on him. In my opinion, she wants his affections but fears rejection/being just another girl to him. I am not going to defend Yamato for his actions, as they appeared very manipulating and there have probably been others girls who have had qualms about his ability to throw out kisses like that, but I do believe that Mei absolutely wanted to be swept away by him. He seemed so satisfied that Mei told him about how she felt, and I think that was what he intended to happen. At least Yamato had the decency to not kiss Arai, which at least shows that he doesn’t just kiss any girl that he considers attractive.

    I don’t know why I am commenting so much on a shoujo series, as it is far from being my favorite genre, but maybe it is because this series strikes me as so much more realistic than other shoujo that take a whole season for the couple to be formed, and in the case of a very popular series like Kimi ni Todoke, two seasons. I would also have commented on Space Brothers and Zetsuen no Tempest, but I think that I have just burned myself out.

  2. No time to reply to everything in your post, but I thank you for it. I think your analysis of Mei is mostly spot-on. And what we’re seeing in the show is her POV, which is complex and often conflicted. This might make any outside character’s action seem superficial, such as Yamato’s, because we’re not seeing the same thought process and actions. But I still don’t suspect Yamato at this stage. Asami, since she and Mei have talked so much, doesn’t have this problem so much; besides, we see with the bullies that she is indeed a sympathetic victim.

    The other side of this is that, since Mei has shown herself to be a sensible but constricted girl, any conflict she gets into will likely put the other person in a bad light, whether they deserve it or not.

    Enough, I’m rambling.

    But I also think that Mei’s reluctance to retaliate because of the attention it gets her is ironic, since her kick made Yamato pay attention.

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