I’m too lazy for a fleshed-out post. I’ll just give my thoughts in annotated form.
• Y’know, it may seem natural for Inaba to physically reprimand Taichi from time to time, because we expect her character to be a little rougher around the edges than the other two heroines. It should be noted, however, that she rarely gets physical with anyone else. What am I getting at? It’s like when a little kid gets an innocent crush, but at the same time, doesn’t understand how to express these newfound feelings. So what do little kids tend to do to the objects of their affection? They might pick on their crushes a bit. Some affection is better than no affection, perhaps.
Of course, Inaba isn’t a little kid, but at the same time, she can’t exactly express her true feelings for Taichi either. And then this also plays into the idea of BDSM. No, no, no… I’m not saying that Inaba’s a dominatrix nor am I implying that she is actually into such a thing. There is, however, the prevalent perspective out there that pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. In this instance, Inaba cannot evoke pleasure in Taichi because she has deemed him off-limits for Nagase’s sake, but perhaps she can evoke other feelings within him. Even if it’s pain, perhaps it’s better than nothing….
• Do little sisters really straddle their older brothers to get the to wake up? Rhetorical question; you can give me an answer if you want, but I won’t take it seriously.
Then again, he’s asleep during this right? So in comes the unreliable narrator: how do we know this is actually what happened and not just Taichi’s interpretation of what his mother told him? The mom probably said, “Yeah, your sister slapped you around, but you wouldn’t wake up. She got a little worried.” Like a game of Telephone, however, Taichi concocts this big dramatic scene in his retelling. Could it be that Taichi’s a siscon?! Again, rhetorical question.
• So if Iori naturally feels inclined to shout “Ya-hoo” in the middle of a quiz, then perhaps… I dunno… maybe she has a personality — a real self — after all? I mean, what else could explain her inclination? She suddenly decided to put on one of her many “masks,” which then caused her id to pick up on this fake personality and scream “Ya-hoo” to the class? Yeah, I doubt it. I guess I just never took Iori’s problems from the previous arc all that seriously.
• The problem facing the gang, especially Yui, is that society as a whole is too repressed. Yes, picking fights is dumb, but Yui was only protecting other girls. In other words, her intentions were in the right place. Unfortunately, there are all these rules about how people are supposed to act. More specifically, there are all these rules about how a shoujo like Yui is supposed to act. After all, Iori thinks that Yui’s still in shock from beating up those guys. Is that really the problem at hand here? Is Yui afraid of what she’s done or is she really afraid of how others will react to her if she continues to use violence as a tool? She says she doesn’t want to hurt others, but it sure feels to me like she’s just ashamed of herself.
Look, I’m not saying that we should all just run around, acting out our id’s inner most desires willy-nilly. Some repression is necessary. Some dude shouldn’t just whip out his dick and start masturbating on the subway. On the flip side of the coin, however, too much repression leads to trouble. Too much repression leads to a girl becoming a shut-in because she doesn’t want to face her classmates’ potential jeers. But man, if I were her, I’d walk into class with my head held high: “Yeah, I beat up some punks who were picking on your classmates. Where were you when all of this went down?”
• Of all the good things about Yui in Aoki’s mind: “Childish in a good way.” Excuse me, let me go throw up. But the scene makes sense. Aoki has a burning desire to be Yui’s knight-in-shining-armor. Rather than repress it, which would only lead to violent outbursts when he feels as though an injustice has been done, Aoki affirms his love for Yui to the gang and he calms down. You don’t fight fire with fire when it comes to repression. It’s all about managing your desires in a controlled, safe fashion.
• Someone in an anime finally admits that the need to help everyone all the time is kind of creepy. It’s funny though; Taichi stops fighting his friends when Inaba suggests that Iori awaken his perverted side. Why does he stop if he really wants to ravage Iori? Gee, is his desire to be a prude even bigger than his desire to help a friend? Yes, yes, I know the anime claims that our impulses (and by definition) are short-lived. But still….
• Inaba warns Taichi that his selflessness might actually kill him if he can’t control his impulsive nature to help others. But c’mon, he was only willing to die because it would’ve meant saving Iori’s life. If we are all willing to sacrifice ourselves for others in such situations, where is the problem? It’s not like Taichi will kill himself for a bad reason.
• Yui’s afraid to hurt people, but again, she was beating up scumbags. Like with Taichi, I guess I fail to see the problem. I have yet to see these guys act upon a negative impulsive desire, even if you consider Inaba’s little incident from the previous episode. What I’m getting at here is that all five of them are genuinely good people. Good people do not usually have harmful impulses. As a result, Yui should not worry about hurting others, because honestly, what are the chances that she gets an impulse to hurt an innocent person? Likewise, Taichi shouldn’t worry about dying for other people’s sake because he only puts himself out there for good reasons (e.g. saving Iori’s life because the Heartseed is a bastard). Even Inaba’s desires for Taichi isn’t immoral in itself. Iori and Taichi refuse to make themselves official. If anything, they’re being cruel to Inaba.
• Again, I take no issue with Inaba giving Yui some legitimate real talk. That’s my problem with this arc, I guess. I don’t think the characters’ desires have been all that unreasonable! Yui is being irresponsible. “But that’s how you feel,” Yui says. Damn straight. That’s how most of us should feel, knowing that Heartseed is sadistic. Could Inaba have been more diplomatic? Of course, but look, she doesn’t actually say anything that isn’t very true. She says what needed to be said when considering the Heartseed’s nature. In the end, Inaba’s outburst is better than keeping her feelings repressed, which is what got everyone in this whole mess to begin with!
• So in the end, the friends are so scared of their impulses that they won’t even come to each other’s aid. When you’d rather repress yourself than help a friend, that’s just… well, the solution is staring our five friends in the face, isn’t it?