Just Because! Ep. 3: Now and again

Pick Ena. I would. Then again, I’ve always preferred girls with a little more spunk to them. It’s just that Natsume is so passive by comparison. Natsume agrees to help Haruto get over his fear of dogs, but there are two problems with that. First, she keeps saying she needs to study, and yet, she ends up distracting herself instead. Second, helping Haruto with his cynophobia means he’ll be one step closer to winning Hazuki’s heart. Well, we all know deep down, it takes two to tango. Just because Haruto likes Hazuki doesn’t mean she’ll like him back. But let’s pretend for a moment that this is one of those shows in which everything will magically work out for the better. After all, it has that kind of carefree atmosphere. After three whole episodes, the plot meanders around, jumping from one light-hearted thread to the next.

  • Ena needs Eita’s permission to use a photo of him pitching in a contest. The fate of her photography club is on the line. Unlike everyone else, she’s a second year. As such, she can’t just let the photography club die. What would she do next year?
  • Haruto has only a few months left to convince Hazuki that he’s a guy worth dating. If she has an inkling for romance at all, she’s doing a great job putting up a poker face. Yoriko tries her best to peer into her best friend’s heart, but hey, if she can’t confess who she likes, why would Hazuki do the same?
  • Finally, we come to Eita and Natsume. They are busy… they are busy… uh, what are they busy with? I don’t really know. Eita already has his recommendation, so he’s merely waiting the final months out, I suppose. And again, Natsume needs to study, but she can’t focus. Both the past and the present are tugging at her heartstrings, and she can’t help but wonder, “What am I doing?”

I don’t know either, girl. I don’t got a clue what you and Eita are trying to accomplish. But there you go. Those are the three primary plot threads at the moment, and the show embodies its two main characters. They’re simply along for the ride, and likewise, the show saunters along without any real drive or force. It’s just… going. It’s hard to imagine what the conclusion will be. Certainly, four of the five kids will graduate, but then what? Honestly, Just Because! is absolutely not my type of show; I’m not even sure why I’m covering it. For years and years, I’ve always used Moe Sucks as a platform to rail against slice-of-life shows where nothing happens. And yet here I am, not only watching this anime, but blogging it like an idiot. “What am I doing?” I don’t know either, girl. I don’t got a single clue what I‘m doing. As such, even this post has lost the plot. What was I even talking about in the first place? Oh yeah… pick Ena.

At the moment, Just Because! doesn’t appear to harbor even the slightest hint of pathos. Sometimes, audiences just want to relax and feel good, so I suppose the show gets the job done on that front. I’ll even admit that I kinda like this show because it’s a bit soothing. Slice-of-life shows typically get on my nerves, but for some odd reason, I like these characters. For now, they’re actually pretty drama free. Even though these kids are trying to navigate the awkward avenues of teenage love, this isn’t a melodramatic show. Not yet, anyways. I’ve seen the OP. I know tears will be shed. But until then — and god only knows when “then” will be — there’s not a single downer thing about Just Because! Well… I suppose there’s one slightly, oh-so-slightly melancholy aspect to these kids’ lives: their future. No one really has any goals or dreams to aspire to. They’re so young, and they have so much ahead of them, and yet it feels as though their lives are already on rails.

Hazuki’s college won’t have a band. At best, it has a band appreciation club. So for now, there are no plans to continue playing the trumpet once she graduates from high school. She failed to reach nationals in high school, so why continue in college? She’ll just try to graduate as soon as she can, and then she’ll join the family business. My, what a devoted daughter. And yet, there’s something sad about that. We need to be selfish sometimes. We need to think and act for ourselves sometimes. Otherwise, we might grow old and resentful one day. Maybe Hazuki’s too nice to ever resent her family, but she might resent herself for never even trying. Still, notice how she turns to look out the window when she say she’s going to help the family business. She’s hiding a lot beneath that calm and placid facade. Well, who knows? I’m speculating. Furthermore, I’m coming at this from a very Western and thus individualistic mindset. I could never join the family business. Luckily, there isn’t one, but let’s put it this way: I haven’t been home in almost a decade.

I can admit that I’ve probably gone too far in the other direction. Whereas Hazuki is content to reserve her future for her family, I’ve gone and practically locked mine away in the past. Still, there’s a healthy middle ground somewhere, right? And yet, echos of Hazuki’s future reverberates throughout the show. Again, Haruto reiterates that he’ll just get a job after he graduates. What is he gonna do after that? Work, he says. What about Eita? What is he going to do after college? Dunno, he says. Last but not least, what is Natsume going to do once she gets into college? Hell, she doesn’t even know what she’s doing now. We study to get into a good college, and we get into a good college to secure a good future for ourselves. That’s how it’s supposed to go, anyway. But what does a good future really mean?

Making a breakthrough scientific discovery? Writing a novel that touches everyone’s hearts and wins literary prizes after literary prizes? Becoming a doctor that saves lives? These kids don’t ever talk about such lofty dreams. It’s as if they don’t even dare to consider such ambitious goals. At best, they’ll shrug and say “Dunno.” Maybe that’s why these kids are distracting themselves with matters of the heart. When the future is so uncertain, it’s almost scary. Wouldn’t you rather focus on the now? And doesn’t that encapsulate everything about the teenage mindset? Everything that is happening now just seems so much more important. Natsume is the only person who you can say is planning for the future, but even then, she’s doing a poor job focusing on those exams.

So… pick Ena, I guess. If we’re going to go with the now, and just focus on our teenage love lives, then I’ll listen to my heart too and pick the girl who’s got spirit. She’s assertive. She knows what she wants, and she’s determined to convince Eita to let her enter his photo into a contest. And y’know what? Maybe she’s the only one who’ll pursue her own dreams once she graduates. Maybe she’ll shoot to become a famous photographer or something. I’m so far gone from my teenage years, but Ena is closer to the type of girl I would always have crushes on. If I was in Eita’s shoes, I wouldn’t pick Natsume. But we know who’ll win out in the end, don’t we? Life does seem to be on rails. And there you go, a meandering post for a meandering slice-of-life show.

9 thoughts on “Just Because! Ep. 3: Now and again

  1. Karandi

    Photography Club girl is interesting as a character but honestly I’d find her really irritating to deal with in real life. Sure, she’s passionate, but she uses that as an excuse to intrude on other people when they’ve clearly turned her down and clearly aren’t interested. Still, it would be nice to see some of her enthusiasm infect some of these other students just a little bit.

    1. E Minor Post author

      We only know she’s like this in order to save something she loves. She might be a lot more mellow otherwise. Plus, I don’t know. I just respect assertive girls more.

    2. Advaris

      Isn’t that the entire point, though? This is a story and I think that whether the character is irritating or not to deal with in real life isn’t as important as whether the character is interesting or not. Not to mention, she actively attempts to move the plot forward. Unfortunately, the plot that she pushes forward isn’t the main plot. I also usually find this kind of character annoying if mishandled, but she is just fine I guess and the other characters are just so lame that she stands out without doing much.

      1. Karandi

        See, I don’t mind the other characters. Admittedly, they aren’t doing all the much yet so I can kind of see where you are coming from, but it kind of just feels normal.

  2. Advaris

    You call it meandering, but this post isn’t that bad, considering its subject. This anime is just so boring and safe. I’m pretty sure only those who have never read or watch a romance story can’t see the ending from the first episode. I guess, at the very least, it isn’t saccharine-filled like the other MMO romance anime. I can endure melodrama. I mean if the melodrama is good, it’s good, and if the melodrama is bad, I can still mock and laugh at it with my friends. What am I supposed to do with saccharine-filled fluff?

  3. Anonymous

    I found it curious that Yoriko’s love interest was brought up and then quickly hidden away in such close proximity to her trying to broach Haruto’s interest in Morikawa. She’s also close enough to Haruto to be texting him of her accord. Maybe there’s something between them? But of course, if there were, it wouldn’t make sense for her to be helping Haruto on. We just have to wait and see, I suppose.


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