First date at the amusement park, huh? I actually haven’t been to an amusement park in decades. I don’t think there’s one anywhere near me, so it’s not even an option for dates. Anyways, onto the rest of the episode…
— Narumi runs off to buy churros, and knowing amusement parks, they probably cost an arm and a leg. I recently checked prices at Disneyland, and they’re insane. Even if I were to ever return to Orange County, I wouldn’t even consider going to the so-called happiest place on earth. I’d rather save my money for dinners.
— They look so normal outside of their work clothes. Too bad we don’t see them like this more often. Hirotaka comments on Narumi’s ability to turn off her “otakuness.” In a way, I guess this is like code-switching.
— Amazing. He has a piggy bank that she has to put money into whenever she acts like an otaku or brings up otaku subjects. But what’s wrong with Narumi being herself? Just because they’re on an official date doesn’t mean she should hide who she is. I don’t stop talking about video games when I go on dates, especially when the girl I’m seeing also likes video games. Why limit yourself?
— I guess Hirotaka’s being insecure. He brings up the fact that Narumi was able to hide her otaku nature on dates with her previous boyfriends, so he just wants her to treat him the same way. But maybe she acts like an otaku around him because she’s comfortable being herself with him. So I dunno, I think he’s being unreasonable. I’m not the biggest Narumi fan, but I don’t like what Hirotaka is doing here.
— She’s not allowed to act like a yaoi fangirl either. Likewise, she won’t let him play Pokemon Go or any game for that matter. Fair’s fair. Plus, we get to see who cracks first. Speaking of which, the only people I know who still play that game are hardcore Pokemon fans.
— As a side note, I wouldn’t mind an entire episode without either Taro or Hanako. Their fighting wears me out.
— The problem here is that anime and games are so important to both Narumi and Hirotaka, so if you ban those subjects, what would they even talk about? Like if I banned those same topics on my dates, I guess I could still talk about movies and sports, but ehhh… if the other person isn’t into those same topics, you’re kinda boned.
— Must be a pain in the ass to carry a piggy bank everywhere.
— Watching these two, I can’t help but realize that I have no memories of Disneyland anymore. All I can remember is having tired feet.
— This reminds me of the haunted house at Disneyland. It has the exact same setup where everyone gathers in a room. It’s like the least scary haunted house ever.
— Narumi gets anxious about the haunted house ride, so she accidentally drags a random dude with her instead of Hirotaka. The random dude ends up being Taro of all people. Oh come on. Naturally, Hirotaka ends up with Hanako.
— Both Narumi and Taro are scaredy cats. For a guy who acts tough, however, this is pretty pathetic of Taro.
— Oh yeah, I guess if you go back and look at that large gathering, you can spot Taro and Hanako. After all, they have special colored hair unlike the generic people around them.
— Hirotaka sounds disappointed that this date is going like how he planned, but to be fair, he’s not making any moves. If he wants them to act more like a couple, then lead her. It’s like a dance. Sometimes, you have to lead your partner. That doesn’t mean he always has to do everything, but he has to at least communicate his needs and wants. He’s not doing that right now. He’s just holding up a piggy bank and pouting.
— Hanako tells Hirotaka that it’s okay for his relationship with Narumi to proceed slowly. After all, everyone works at their own pace. But hey, if he’s unhappy, he should do something about it. He took the first step and asked her out on a date, but c’mon, hold her hand or something. Put an arm around her shoulders. Kiss her and not just on the way home. Oh wait, this is Japan so no PDA. Whooooops.
— Hanako makes it sound like he’s a robot.
— Dude, stop staring at her hand and just hold it.
— Oh come on. What a wimp. Hirotaka chickens out at the last second. On what date does the girl walk two steps ahead of the guy? They’re both grown-ass adults with 9-to-5 jobs.
— Nevertheless, Hirotaka comes to the realization that the only person he has to blame is himself. Narumi willingly went outside of her comfort zone and grow up. He always shut himself away just to play games. If this date isn’t to his satisfaction, it’s because he still feels awkward around his own girlfriend. He’s having a hard time holding hands with her for Christ’s sake. There’s nothing wrong with being an otaku. There’s something wrong with letting it consume you entirely, though.
— Hirotaka’s feet end up bleeding from walking too much. Apparently, he can’t even buy himself comfortable walking shoes.
— Hah, what a notion!
— Look how far apart they’re sitting! He’s so insecure.
— Narumi finally convinces Hirotaka to scrap the otaku ban, and now she’s back to having fun. Again, they’re on a date. When you’re hanging out with your SO, you’re supposed to feel comfortable. What’s the point of an SO if you can’t be yourself around them? Why does this even need to be spelled out?
— The girl ends up getting him a pair of earrings. Boring.
— But hey, she also got matching earrings for herself. They’re clip-ons, but whatever works. The gesture touches him, so I guess he’s happy again.
— Whoa, whoa, whoa…
…what are we doing! What are we doing!!!
Kids working adults, these days…
— Anyways, instead of the two of them taking the next step in their relationship, Hirotaka simply decides to recalibrate his expectations. He’s now fine with the pace that they’re moving at. Okay. Sure. As long as he’s happy. But there’s nothing wrong with kissing your girlfriend either. Or holding her hand as you walk together. If you never communicate your needs and wants, then nothing can change. He shouldn’t forget that.
— In the end, the piggy bank ends up funding Narumi’s love for souvenirs, so all’s well that ends well.
I don’t know why manga/anime/media in general has to keep on portraying “nerds” as awkward, weird or abnormal people…It might be true decades ago. But now? The biggest box office belong to superheroes movie, most teenagers and university students (in Japan at least) read some manga or watch some anime, at least Naruto or Detective Conan, and games like Pokemon attract a big casual audience….It might be my limited perspective, but I don’t think that being a nerd is that weird and socially awkward anymore.
“When you’re hanging out with your SO, you’re supposed to feel comfortable.”
I could not agree more. It’s the reason why I didn’t like to hang out with the golden boy my mother keeps pushing on me, because he always forced me to behave like a proper lady every time…Living together would be pretty tiring.
Well, nerds cover a wide gamut of people. Some are honestly awkward and weird. Some are not. But I think in general, even if you’re a well adjusted nerd, you might feel a little gunshy about being too public about it. Maybe. No one I know is like that, but I dunno about Japan. I find it funny, however, that Narumi’s non-otaku mode involves her reading shojo and josei manga instead of the usual yaoi schlock.
Reading shoujo and josei manga is not a particularly nerdy thing in Japan. My female professors used to talk about their favourite shoujo manga, like Roses of Versaille during break. Fujioshi is still seen as creepy and annoying by the general public though.
No, I know. I know they got manga cafes and everything. It’s just funny from a “wow, no one would do that here” kind of thing.