Having been washed of my sins for enjoying School Days as much as I did :), I now proceed to talk about a much more pleasant, innocent, and still thoroughly enjoyable show about pretty much the same sceanario (at least on the surface). And to make yet another confession: I have an anime crush on Mao-neechan.
You have to understand, I was an only child. Moreover, most of the girls who treated me nicely at a young age were usually older than me by a couple of years. What I didn’t have was the kind of day-to-day, regular interaction with such girls as to render any attraction that might result once the hormones start kicking in mostly moot, which is pretty much the position Mao and Kouichi are in in this episode. They really seem to act like brother and sister, though I still find it hard to believe that Mao doesn’t feel seemingly one twinge of jealousy, one thought of “what if” since they both know deep down the sibling thing isn’t real–and this should be true no matter how attractive that saxophonist bishie is. But man, does that avoid lots of complications if it were true. You get to have a pretty girl who isn’t really related to you live in your house, go to school with her, play video games late into the night…without the messiness and awkwardness. Or, if they were real siblings, the resentment and rivalry. You basically get the warmth of a girlfriend (affection, belonging, concern), without the sex and all its associated benefits and problems. Perfect family, in other words. I would have killed to have a sister or a female friend like this at that age.
That aside, the story in this episode was rather, well, typical. This is the usual romance scenario in most anime, where the guy can’t even get the words out. I would have a lot less sympathy for Kouichi if only I didn’t remember the age when I did the same thing, except I didn’t have a Mao to beat me up and speak on my behalf (honestly, Kouichi: that makes you just a little pathetic, don’t you think? It’s like your mom having telling your crush how adorable you were when you were 2 years old or something). Thankfully, it seemed to have come to some kind of end by the episode’s conclusion, where he at least says something meaningful, even if it is kinda lame: I’ll “talk to you more and hang out and stuff” basically. Again, like with so much anime, one wonders what Yuumi actually sees in him. And the superficial resemblance to the initial plot of School Days is, I’m sure, merely a coincidence and not going to lead to stabbings most likely. But it certainly can still lead to heartbreak or at least exquisitely hidden pain, which is the best kind as far as storytelling goes and the engine on which every good romance anime runs. KareKano and H&C would never have run without it.
Indeed, there were a few moments with the other guy where for a moment I thought I started to hear a Honey and Clover style monologue coming on. The distant look in his eyes, the slow piano music, the slowed pace…this was always the cue in that wonderfully written show for some piercing depiction of the young adult mind. Alas, despite the fact of the same staff, it was not to be here:
During the karaoke scene, given the way KyoAni stuffed Lucky Star full of Haruhi Suzumiya songs, I was secretly hoping for somebody to start singing a Suneohair song like “Waltz” or “Split”…just to, you know, remind me that I am watching something by the same director and that they have an impossibly high standard by which I will always judge this show unfairly. No matter how much my wish fulfillment complexes get activated by it, far moreso than the usual Key production, and thus I am ensured of having a rollicking good time nevertheless.
Mao-chan, Mao-chan; wherefore art thou, Mao-chan? :)