Seishun Buta Yarou Ep. 4: Caught red-handed

So our hero gets himself a girlfriend. then immediately torpedoes the relationship before it can even get off the ground. Nice. 

— We kick things off with the Japanese national team winning a big soccer match. The date is 6/27. When Sakuta gets to school, his friend comments on his bed hair. This is all important for later.

— At lunch, we see Sakuta eating a bento that Mai had made for him. For once, I would love to see it the other way around.

— I thought we had already settled this. Oh right, he has to confess his love to her for an entire month. And speaking of cheeky, she now claims that his words no longer make her heart race because she’s been hearing them every single day. Harsh.

— Ah, forget this scene. It’s literally just minutes and minutes of them teasing and flirting with each other. All you need to know is that she eventually says yes to dating him. Also, he kisses scrambled eggs at one point.

— Here comes the weird part: when Sakuta wakes up the next day, it’s still 6/27. Again, the news on TV is all about the big soccer victory. Again, his best friend comments on his bed hair. Are we about to have ourselves a mini-adaptation of Groundhog’s Day? Well, I think we already know what’s coming. Unless Sakuta solves a certain major problem — and we already know from the episode preview that said major problem will concern Tomoe — he’s going to be stuck reliving the same day over and over. And if he’s stuck living the same day over and over, he can’t reap the benefits of officially dating Mai.

— Oh lord, am I going to have to watch Sakuta and Mai flirt at lunch all over again? Yes, yes I do. But he already won her heart before, so it’s not like he can do any better here.

— Sure enough, Sakuta walks by a guy trying to ask Tomoe out, but the girl replies that she needs some time to think about it. At the moment, our protagonist thinks nothing of this encounter, but it is obviously a situation that he’s going to have to stick his nose in. I just wonder how his new girlfriend is going to feel about him getting involved in another girl’s love life.

— Like before, he runs to Rio for help, so of course, she brings up Laplace’s demon. Rather than seeing this problem as him reliving the same day over and over, she reframes it as a certain someone trying to predict how the future might play out if one small change is made each time. But who’s the demon? Well, if it isn’t Sakuta, then it’s probably Tomoe.

— Even so, this is kind of a weird topic to bring up, especially right after the whole Schrodinger’s cat thing from the previous story. The idea here is that you could imagine a super-intelligent being — a demon, if you will — knowing the exact physical state of a system, and thus being able to predict the next state with 100% certainty. But things get wonky when quantum physics are involved. You can’t know the exact position and momentum of a subatomic particle. At best, the demon can only spit out some probabilities of what might happen next. Though I guess if you wanna be annoying, you could always conjure up a demon can magically overcome the Uncertainty Principle. There are also those who will insist that quantum mechanics can be deterministic… but eh, I’m not here to write a goddamn term paper about a subject that I haven’t touched in years.

— Anyways, the nitty-gritty of these thought experiments aren’t necessary to understand this anime. All you need to know is that Sakuta has to identify the Laplace’s demon that has him ensnared in this loop. Luckily, that same person is near his vicinity, ’cause otherwise, this would be impossible.

Sakuta approaches Tomoe and learns that she is also reliving the same day over and over. But if she’s the demon, she’s totally unaware of what she’s doing. Maybe she doesn’t want to date that guy, so she’s subconsciously trying to find a way out of that awkward situation. That seems too simple, though. There’s gotta be a catch, right?

— In the middle of their conversation, the guy who likes Tomoe suddenly shows up looking for her. The girl abruptly tells Sakuta to hide along with her.

What a compromising situation. It’s a good thing Japanese lecterns are so huge. Either that or these kids are small.

— So apparently, Tomoe’s friend Rena likes the same guy, which is why the girl finds herself in such a pickle. She claims that she can’t just turn him down, because it would… ostracize her from the rest of her class? That is so stupid. I guess the logic here is that he’s popular, so if she says no, people will dislike her. But like I said, that is so stupid.

— Sakuta and Tomoe then get caught in this position, ‘causing the guy to return, stare at them, then leave in disgust. Then shortly afterwards, Mai walks in on them and storms out herself. Well, more like walk away calmly while ignoring Sakuta’s pleas. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel as though he is an idiot for even getting caught up in this shady situation to begin with. A girl doesn’t just accidentally fall on top of you. Tomoe never should’ve been that close to him to begin with. Luckily for our protagonist, everything will reset at the end of the day… right?

Dawn of a new day.

— And as luck would have it, Mai didn’t come to school today, so he doesn’t get a chance to speak with her (don’t you guys have phones?).

— Apparently, Rio has a crush on Yuuma, but let’s focus on one problem at a time. Besides, she’ll probably have a few episodes devoted to her in the near future.

— Sakuta thinks all he has to do is clear up the misunderstanding with Mai. Rio reminds him, however, that if he’s not actually in a relationship with Tomoe, then the other guy will try to ask her out again. As a result, wouldn’t that retrigger the time loop? Maybe, maybe not. Why don’t we try it out and see what happens? I mean, as long as time keeps looping, you can keep trying until you get things right.

— Later that day, Tomoe ends up joining the waitstaff at the same restaurant as Sakuta. What a small world. Then to make matters even worse, he has to serve a table full of her friends. To nobody’s surprise, rumors have quickly spread, so they all want to know if he’s “serious” about Tomoe.

Wow, what a mean thing to say!

— The problem is that Tomoe is content to play along with her friends, because this gets her out of her predicament with the other guy. She even wants Sakuta to play pretend as well… for an entire term! I mean, c’mon, doesn’t he have his own social life to worry about? Plus, she wants this only because she’s too gutless to reject someone.

— Sorry, but her sob story about not wanting to be alone won’t convince me that her request is way too selfish. I just feel that if you’re going to lose your friend over something this pathetic, then they weren’t really true friends to begin with.

— Unfortunately, Sakuta agrees to help her out, because he’s an anime protagonist. Hell, he still hasn’t talked to his Mai yet, and he’s already agreeing to do something that she might not like.

— Well, he can’t avoid the issue any longer, ’cause later that night, Mai comes over to his place to confront him directly. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait till next week’s episode in order to see how Sakuta is going to try and talk his way out of this mess. Maybe he could just take Shaggy’s advice and tell Mai that it wasn’t him.

— Best case scenario is that Mai understands Sakuta completely and agrees to allow this charade to continue. Worst case scenario is that she freaks out and stirs up even more unnecessary drama. Unfortunately, one cannot determine if one’s waifu is the best until she is observed.

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