Are you prepared to discover Rinko’s deep, dark secret? Well, are you?! It’s going to knock your socks off! Basically, take what Takeo’s doing to the cat right now, and… Nah, of course I’m kidding.
— Oh yeah, Ai is a college freshman. And Takeo’s a high school freshman… c’mon, girl. You’re old enough to know better.
— Meanwhile, Takeo is trying to read shoujos in order understand girls better. Well… I mean, I suppose it’s not as bad as reading Cosmo in the hopes of trying to understand the fairer sex, but it still seems pretty iffy to me. You wouldn’t read shounens and think you could understand boys, would you?
— But while he’s busy with that, Ai pulls Rinko aside and tries to extract the girl’s secret out of her. That seems kind of nosy. In fact, even if Ai does care this much about Takeo, I can’t help but feel as though this is none of her business. But luckily, it’s not like Rinko has a real secret worth giving a shit about anyway. Is that harsh? Good.
— So what is Rinko’s secret? Why, she’s not as pure as Takeo thinks! What does that mean? Like, she’s not a virgin or something? Haha, nah. You really think the story would take that sort of risk? Of course not.
— It turns out she just wants to, uh, hold hands and shit. And uh, she wants to cuddle. Ooooooh, what a dirty cuddle-haver!!
— And like any normal person going through puberty, she’s attracted to the guy that she loves. Wow, no shit, Sherlock. So what’s the lesson here? It’s that girls can have these feelings, right? And it doesn’t make them dirty, right? And that’s a fine lesson to teach, but it doesn’t go far enough. Because even if high school girls (or guys, for that matter) wanted to have sex, it still wouldn’t make them dirty. But we’re not willing to go out on that limb. Instead, we’ll lob this softball bullshit about how Rinko wants to hold hands, and by golly, we shouldn’t shame her for having such thoughts!!!
— Yeah, I’m not impressed. It feels like the show is too scared to take a real stand against the expectations that girls must be pure and virginal. Sorry, wanting to cuddle doesn’t cut it when girls are being bullied and mocked for a whole lot worse.
— Anyway, Ai manages to convince Rinko that she won’t get dumped for wanting to hold Takeo’s hands. Again, no shit, Sherlock… I mean, a guy his age? Especially in 2015 when phones are pretty much mini computers? C’mon. Why are we pretending as though teenagers don’t have sexual appetites? Give me a break. But you wouldn’t ever see the hero admit to fapping it on the regular, because even boys have to deal with this pure-pure bullshit. Nuh-uh, I totally wouldn’t look up naked women on my computer! And then we wonder why people have such a negative attitude towards sex when we are so afraid to talk to them about it. The show had a golden opportunity to reach out to young people and tell them it’s okay to want to jump your boyfriend or girlfriend every now and then, but nah, softball shit all the way.
— After Rinko runs off to find Takeo, we delve into Ai’s feelings. Like, for example, why she even likes Takeo in the first place. Apparently, she had an early growth spurt, so all of the other boys would compare her to some ugly statue. Takeo, on the other hand, compared her to a flower. As a result, she’s had a crush on him since… then? Even now, when she’s a college woman? Uh… sure. Whatever. I give up on understanding these stories.
— She laments that she had not been born a man, because Makoto gets to be friends with Takeo for life. But like a commenter had previously suggested, what if Makoto was gay? What if he’s also suffering as much as Ai as he watches Takeo get with Rinko…? Haha, nah, if the show’s too afraid to broach the topic of sex, I doubt it would make Makoto gay in a serious and mature way.
— She even apologizes for not being as pure as he thought she was. Yeah, you dirty hand-holder!
— It’s just funny to me, because Japanese art is raunchy as fuck. Have you seen some of it? I’m not even talking about the recent stuff like that statue of a guy holding his sperm like a lasso. But of course, stuff like the woodblock prints featured adults. And this is a show about kids. So our hesitation is understandable, right? Well, a little bit yes and a little bit no. This is a show about high school kids. There’s no doubt about that. No, I don’t want to see high school kids fuck like rabbits. But it’s also a show about growing up, and part of growing up is, well, coming to terms with your sexual feelings. Kids don’t have to bang like rabbits, but it’s not healthy either to pretend they just want to “snuggle.”
— But it’s sad, really. Sexual feelings between teenagers are so rarely explored in mainstream anime that we have to watch a shitty show about bears. So clearly, we don’t have a problem when individuals of the same sex do more than just cuddling. In fact, they get to paw the shit out of each other all the time. Sometimes, it’s not even consensual. But when it comes to hetero couples, it’s like nuh-uh, man! Our love is too pure for that! So we end up creating another problem: we treat same sex relationships as less serious, which is why they get to explore the audience’s various fetishes, i.e. quasi-rapey shit.
— Even though they’re now holding hands, Rinko can’t help but think back to what Takeo had said to Ai on a previous day: he likes Rinko because she’s pure-hearted. This gives the girl some consternation, because — bear shock! — she’s “lied” to him before. Like, um, she purposefully left her phone at his place so that she would have an excuse to see him later. And uh, she asked people at his school about him. Welp, that does it. String her up and burn the witch. She’s totally wicked and rotten.
— Again, the story could’ve taken a much more serious route without being overly dramatic. What might she have lied about? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe she used to think badly of Takeo too or something. Or maybe she’s lied about her identity in some way. Y’know, real issues that people would actually hide from their lovers at the start of a relationship. Not more of this softball bullshit.
See? It’s funny when it’s between two people of the same sex! Hahahahahahaha… don’t do that to your actual girlfriend, though. That’s totally impure, dude.