It’s so difficult to care about these characters, because they go offscreen as soon as you even start to scratch the surface of their personalities. Nagi seemed cool right? She has like one scene so far in this entire arc. We spent a whole bunch of time with Jin last week, but then he’s barely in this week’s episode. He still plays a critical role, though. Anyways, the first half of this week’s episode concerns Masaki and Aya, the couple that Jin had saved near the end of last week’s’ episode. The guy is actually Nagi’s step-brother, so it’s a really, really small world. He’s apparently a hot transfer student. Not only that, he tried to be a good kid (shouldn’t you always want to be a good kid?) so as to not rub people the wrong way. Unfortunately, you can’t please everybody. Although he became popular with the girls ’cause he’s hot and studious, the boys now hate him. One day, they tried to beat him up in an alleyway when Aya came by and stopped them. How? She just offered up her body. The girl literally tore her shirt open and told the bullies to have at it. Yeah, that’s not normal. It’s not that Japanese girls don’t do that. Nobody does that. And in a show where we’ve already met aliens and weird experimental subjects, I can’t help but imagine that kooky Aya must not be human. At least, not entirely human.
So anyways, after Jin came by and saved them, this kicked off a strange love affair between Masaki and Aya. At his behest, they do all the usual stuff that you would expect from Japanese teenagers. The only time I ever see people take their dates to the aquarium is in anime. Aya is an easy-going girl, but at the same time, it almost seems like Masaki has to teach her how to be normal. For instance, all students their age worry about what high school they’ll be attending. But until he broached the subject, Aya never really considered it. Then all of a sudden, she gets into a good school. Okay then. Also, it sounds like she’s never doing anything. She just sits in her apartment and waits for the guy to call her, but he doesn’t know that. As far as he’s concerned, this is just some middle school puppy love. Meanwhile, we see her standing on a balcony at night, repeating to herself over and over that she doesn’t have the right to fall in love. This means we got good news and bad news. Even if she isn’t entirely human, Aya appears to genuinely care about Masaki. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it sounds like falling in love with him violates some kind of rule. The bad news is that these two might get torn apart.
The second half of the episode then has us viewing nearly the same events that we just saw, but from a different perspective — from the perspective of Shinjirou, a guy who has a crush on Masaki. Yeah, that’s right. So he falls in love with Masaki at first sight, but being a dude, he doesn’t know how to process his feelings for another dude. This leads to a lot of important plot stuff like how he starts digging up dirt on Aya, but I don’t want to sit here and just recap the episode. All we really need to know is that Shinjirou eventually falls into the clutches of some weird-looking dude who takes control of his mind. It’s that Fat Evil trope. Not all evil people are fat, but man, if they’re fat, there’s a good chance that they’re portrayed as evil or at the very least unsympathetic. But whatever, I’m not going to do a deep dive on that topic right now. Fat guy simply orders Shinjirou to get good grades and attend Shinyou Academy. What is he after? Beats me. But Shinjirou remains under his control for a while until he meets Jin… who then frees him? And then when he goes to meet the girl who had given him a love letter, he runs into Boogiepop, who has now decided that she wants to take out the Fat Evil?
It’s just… I have no idea where this story is going. The moment it feels like we’re getting somewhere, we swerve off in a completely different direction. The whole Imaginator stuff with Jin last week was starting to get kinda interesting, but then that gets completely shelved for half of a story on Masaki and Aya, then another half of a story on Fat Evil preying on Shinjirou. Of course, it’s all connected. After all, Fat Evil was lurking right outside Aya’s apartment, then at the very end of the episode, he approaches her in a park and calls her Camille. Since Boogiepop refers to him as a Synthetic Human, she’s probably one as well. Since he works for the Towa Organization, she must be working for them as well. I’m not sure what Fat Evil’s orders are, but it seems as though Aya was tasked with trying to sleep with teenage boys for whatever reason. Unfortunately, she just had to go and fall in love. I now expect Fat Evil to try and wreck the relationship between Masaki and Aya, but maybe Boogiepop can save them. But again, I thought we were going after the Imaginator. Now Fat Evil is the primary antagonist?
Even worse is that we’re always being hurried along by the plot that there isn’t even a ghost of a chance to see the forest for the trees. The theme in the first arc was kinda like… be nice to each other. You never know if you’ll inadvertently save humanity by treating an alien with kindness, so always be nice! But what’s the theme here? With Jin, it was maybe that happiness always comes at a cost. But I have no idea what to think about Masaki, Aya, Shinjirou, Fat Evil, and so on. I kinda want to root for Masaki and Aya, but I mean, I’ve only spent half an episode with them. More importantly, Shinjirou’s ending is kinda bizarre. After Boogiepop saves him, she hands him a real love letter. His whole story began, however, with him being in love with Masaki. Is the love letter supposed to be his “happy ending?” Is it supposed to be his way out of this mess of a story so that he can go back to living a normal life? That’s a little odd, isn’t it? Having a guy trying to come to grips with his confused feelings for another boy, then suddenly giving him the opportunity for a heterosexual relationship. I mean, it’s possible that a boy wrote that letter, but I doubt it with this kind of stationery.
The only recurring thread through all of these episodes so far is the Towa Organization. Maybe we’ll finally have one big showdown against them one day. Maybe.