Ah, where does the time go? Unfortunately, it’s still winter here, and it’s been cold as f–…
— The happy-go-lucky narration in the cold opening almost makes it feel like we’re watching a sitcom, and it’s evident why: Kondo definitely wants to lay the friendship thing on thick. Maybe he shouldn’t have hugged her in last week’s episode, then. Maybe the 45-year-old man should know better and stop sending the poor girl mixed messages.
— Some readers have argued that this show is innocent, because Kondo can maintain his boundaries (sure he can) and ultimately become the girl’s good friend — a confidante, even. Personally, if I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t even be friends with her. Not right now, anyways. Not anytime soon. Why? Because her feelings for him are still raw. If I were him, I’d snuff them out completely by distancing myself from the girl. Yes, this is cold, but that’s the point. You don’t kill a plant by providing warmth. Then maybe in a few years, once I’m confident that she’s moved on, then sure… we can be friends. Some people will likely think that this is terribly mean of me, but in my opinion, they’re not being pragmatic about the situation.
— There’s also this. I’ve never been friends with any of my managers. True friends, anyway.
— The same sandwich everyday. The same drink everyday. Why not try the pasta dish that Yui is eating? It looks decent.
— And as we can easily see, Kondo can insist all he wants that he and Akira are just friends, but the girl will never forget his embrace unless he takes more drastic actions to redefine their relationship. Actions speak louder than words anyway. She can rationalize the whole friendship thing as Kondo just being hesitant and anxious about his feelings in public. Deep down inside, however, he truly, truly cares about her. Why else would he hug her? Yeah, yeah, you can point to his monologue from last week’s episode for the man’s justifications, but she didn’t hear those words, did she? All she knew was that he suddenly held her tenderly out of nowhere.
— Honestly, it doesn’t even take an embrace. Someone could just compliment you and you’d be living on that high for the rest of the day. We’ve all been there before.
— Akira has a pimple? But I thought anime characters were perfect.
— I dunno, I can’t picture Kondo firing anyone unless they really screw up. He’s obviously just teasing his employee. Besides, Yoshizawa’s bangs aren’t that long.
— Why is he so excited to have Yui trim his bangs? He can’t afford to pay for his own haircut? Plus, I’d never let some aspiring hairdresser with no professional experience touch my head.
— But hey, I’m not complaining about this subplot if it means we’ll have to see less of AkiraxKondo. I really enjoyed the episode about Akira’s old childhood friend. It’s one of the show’s best episodes yet. If the other side characters could get the same treatment as Haruka, it’d be great.
— Yui likes Yoshizawa, but of course, he has a hopeless crush on Akira. She likes Kondo, though; in fact, she doesn’t see the guy as anything more than an acquaintance. As for Kondo…? Who knows? I feel like this sort of nonsense only ever happens in fiction, though. Okay, maybe it does happen in real life, but it has to be exceedingly rare. Never in all my life have I ever encountered such a tangled mess of one-sided love.
— It would suck if Akira tries to help Yui get with Yoshizawa, but she just inadvertently makes him like her even more.
— And because Akira won’t give up with Kondo, she projects her optimism onto Yui. I suppose it can’t hurt… until Yoshizawa rejects the poor girl because he’s also optimistic about his chances with Akira.
— Akira: “I think that friendship can turn into a romantic relationship.” She’s not wrong; all of my relationships have come from close friendships. But this is what I’m talking about when I say that Kondo is giving her false hope.
— Kondo is putting up flyers for the summer festival, and he even suggests to Akira that she should check it out. Sounds like a potential date night.
— See? This is what I’m talking about. You can almost never be friends with someone who likes you. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but both parties would have to be mature about it. Exceedingly mature. And that’s not the case with Akira (or even Kondo). In most cases, you’ll just end up stringing them along. They won’t give up so long as there’s a glimmer of hope.
— Well, this is adorable. Still, Yoshizawa’s kinda dense, so unless Yui confesses her feelings, I don’t think the guy will understand her feelings. And even then…
— Wait a minute, tangerines aren’t yellow.
— There’s a sereneness to this week’s episode. It almost feels like the calm before the storm.
— 9:30 pm is not particularly late, but it’s so interesting to see how people can wander around at night in Japan and not have to worry about their safety. I can’t say the same about San Francisco. Obviously, I’m not going to die as soon as the sun goes down, but I can’t be careless either.
— Ah, he gave her his contact info. Of course he did.
— Akira: “Even if we’re only friends right now, I’m sure one day…” Yeeeeep.
— Speaking of Akira’s childhood friend, we see a former soccer player with a knee brace ask Haruka about Akira. The girl mentions how he recently just retired from the team, and it’s obviously due to his injury. Maybe he’s trying to reach out to Akira, because he’s gone through the same sort of personal loss.
— Haruka: “I wonder if she doesn’t want to run anymore.” It’s complicated. It’s also the sort of thing where you just won’t understand unless you hear it straight from their lips. I still don’t understand why Haruka can’t find the courage to reach out to Akira and have a heart-to-heart talk. They’re childhood friends, aren’t they? Or is it just a cultural thing? Are we not allowed to openly ask our friends what’s bothering them?
— So instead, this random guy — a completely new character — has to come out of nowhere and help Haruka understand what her friend must be going through. Plus, it’s nothing we haven’t already speculated.
— Yamamoto: “I think having someone like you who cares about her helps Tachibana feel better.” But does Akira actually know that? Does she know that Haruka is worried about her? Doesn’t stop Haruka from getting those giant, doe-like eyes, though.
— I’ve never seen anyone have such a hearty chuckle over a remedial class. His curiosity is then piqued when she mentions the short story “Rashomon.” What a coincidence: the servant in the story also had a pimple on one of his cheeks. But of course, that pimple had symbolism! The servant wanted to live a righteous life, but the pimple festered and festered until he too became a parasite. What symbolism does Akira’s pimple have (if any)? Well, I’d say Kondo has a festering problem he can’t keep brushing off, but I don’t know if I can say the same about the girl. Maybe there are looming troubles ahead. We haven’t exactly wrapped up Kase’s subplot. Plus, what would people say if her secret crush ever got out?
— I don’t agree with Kondo; I don’t think the question is that bad. It’s certainly open-ended, but isn’t that the point? Isn’t it asking the student to come up with an argument and reasonably justify their answer?
— Kondo also doesn’t give Akira a very good answer. At the very least, I wouldn’t grade it very well if I were the teacher.
— Akira then asks Kondo what he would’ve done if he had been the servant in the story. It’s interesting to note his chosen words: “Well, I don’t think I can be [a thief]. When you get to this age, you get into a habit of living timidly.” Was the thief courageous? From a certain point of view, I suppose you could argue that he was. He found the courage to cast off morality in order to survive. He rationalized taking advantage of another living being.
That takes a certain bit of courage, which Kondo does not share. But the implication here is that Kondo isn’t necessarily righteous himself. He wouldn’t avoid becoming a thief simply because it is wrong. Rather, he avoids becoming a thief because he’s scared. He lacks the courage to be unrighteous. So what does that say about him and his little dilemma with Akira? Does this imply that he sees nothing wrong with dating her? That he’s only reluctant because he’s used to “living timidly?” He goes on to say, “If I were the servant, I think I’d be under the tower until it stopped raining. I might not be able to move from there even after it stopped raining.” In other words, he won’t go to her, but that doesn’t prevent Akira from coming to him. And she’s been happy to do just that all series long.
— Kondo then turns the pages and stumbles onto Akira’s lovesick doodles… welp.
— He then offers a twist on the symbolism of the festering pimple: it’s a sign of youth, which allows the servant to be courageous. Since Kondo’s too old to get pimples, he can’t flout society’s morality. Akira’s still young, so she can bravely reach out for what she wants; no wonder she still gets pimples. It’s interesting how he thinks this shortly after seeing Akira’s doodles. And while I can commend him for his honest self-reflection, my opinion of the man can’t help but go down. He’s basically saying that society and his lack of courage is the only thing keeping him away from Akira.
— Plus, I can’t get behind his interpretation wholeheartedly. It seems to remove any sort of agency from old people. I understand he’s merely speaking from the heart; I understand he feels trapped by the banality of his middle-aged lifestyle and the decades of obligations that piled onto his back. But c’mon, to say that an old man can no longer have courage is a cop-out. Don’t mistake something being harder with it being completely impossible. To make him look even more foolish, he ends getting a pimple himself.
— I realize, of course, I’m not exactly charitable to Kondo, so my interpretation of his character is tainted by that. I take nothing back, though. I think these sort of analyses are inherently subjective.
— Inspired by her manager, Akira’s answer ends up making her Modern Japanese teacher chuckle. She wrote, “I hope this courage will positively influence the servant’s life in the future. I would like to read a sequel to this story.” Uh, did we even read the same short story? The servant robbed the old woman and kicked her onto a pile of corpses. Well, gosh, I hope he turned a new leaf with his newfound courage!
— Looks like Yoshizawa went to the Tamaki Mari’s School of Butchered Bangs.
— I’m pleasantly surprised to see Akira invite Haruka out to the summer festival.