Alright, time for Yu’s pitiful backstory.
— These kids have way too much spirit. I just can’t relate. Yeah, they tried to hold pep rallies at my high school, but it’s different. It’s just different. Community service in Japan appears to be compulsory; your school strives to be a force of good. In American public high schools, however, they only pay lipservice to that sort of thing. On the other hand, they sure as hell will make you attend the pep rally for some meaningless football game. So yeah, I never felt pride in my high school, and I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like.
— Yu feels like a humongous dork because he’s out of his element, but he’s having fun nonetheless. That’s ultimately what matters. But just when it seems as though he’s about to turn the corner, someone from his past suddenly shows up outta nowhere to rain on his parade. And just like that, his day is completely ruined. As if a switch had been flipped, all that pep has been completely drained from his body.
— Nevertheless, the show must go on. In fact, Yu is thrust into the leading role, because his senpai went and got himself hurt. As a result, Yu will have to run the final leg of the relay race. He tries to be positive about it, but painful memories from his middle school days are threatening to unravel everything. He’s just in a daze. Sigh… fine… tell me his backstory.
— So it’s pretty basic… Yu was a loser, but one of his classmates was really nice to him. She was probably his first love or crush, because most social losers are wont to fall in love with every woman who is nice to them. I mean, just listen to how he referred to her back then. Yeah, I know, he’s a kid, but that’s still putting a lot on one person’s shoulders.
— Unfortunately, she already had a boyfriend. Damn, in middle school? Kids these days! And to make it even worse, her boyfriend was a huge playboy who was cheating on her behind her back. Damn, how much tail can a middle school kid really get?
— Yu initially tried to reason with the guy, but Kyoko’s boyfriend not only didn’t show any remorse, he tried to use his own girl to get himself out of this mess. Not surprisingly, Yu lost it and just wailed on the guy. When all of their classmates showed up — and this included Kyoko — Yu couldn’t properly explain himself. And just like that, everyone just assumed that the loser was doing loser things. So even though he tried to protect Kyoko, she ended up hating him. It’s kind of like the white knight’s fantasy backstory, isn’t it? How hard did you try to protect the girl you liked? You protected her even though she hated you! Ooooh.
— The rest is stuff we already know. Yu got suspended, he had to write an apology letter but he couldn’t, yadda yadda yadda. He never knew (and still doesn’t know) that Miko spoke up for him.
— It’s not that he shouldn’t have stuck his neck out. It’s that he chose the dumbest thing he could possibly do in that situation. Do I feel bad about Yu? Honestly, not really. His intentions were obviously in the right place, but I am wary of anyone who gets that violent at the drop of the hat. I’m not saying that violence never ever has its place. When someone’s life is in imminent danger, sure… you do what you gotta do. But he just lost it when there were a million things he could’ve done instead. It almost feels like someone just wanted to justify taking their rage out on one of the popular dudes who could get any girl they want. Welp, can’t do it in real life, so let’s do it in fiction!
— Putting chains on his door is a bit much.
— Back in the present, Miyuki goes and picks Yu up. This time, his circumstances are completely different. He actually has people on his side (even though Miko did fight for him). And as cliche as it sounds, this is what friends are for. This would’ve been a sweet moment by itself. After all, not only did Miyuki recognize that his kouhai was in trouble, he went up to Yu in the middle of a rally just to reach out to him. He wasn’t remotely self-conscious about it. But then we get a flashback about how the student council had done extensive detective work to figure out the true story behind Yu beating up Kyoko’s boyfriend. And just like that, my suspension of disbelief is out the window.
— But hey, Miyuki gets to look like a badass.
— As Yu readies himself for the relay race, Kyoko is heckling him from the sidelines. She’s honestly still hung up on her ex-boyfriend dumping her. Good lord, it was a fucking middle school relationship. Not even a high school relationship! A middle school relationship. How goddamn dumb is that? Was this kid Adonis at 13 or 14 years old? Did he piss out boba tea? Did his farts smell like strawberry crepes? Who on earth doesn’t get over their middle school boyfriend? That makes her even more pathetic than Yu.
— With his friends’ help — and his club cheering him on — Yu finds the strength to move on. He then proceeds to give it his all in the race. Even Miko is cheering for him. Knowing this show, they’ll do some “opposites attract” nonsense and have her fall in love with him at some point. But will Yu return her feelings? Well, he has a track record of going after girls who are simply nice to him, so I dunno about that. Miko seems like a hardcore tsundere.
— Yu ends up losing by a hair, so again, he’s about to fall into a pit of despair. But this time, Miyuki hangs back to let the cheerleading club do their thing. The first person to approach Yu is the girl in the club who is always nice to him. Yep, she’s probably whom he’s gonna fixate on. Eventually, however, the rest of the club rallies around him, so for the first time, Yu actually sees them as individuals and not these weird, faceless extras.
— Meanwhile, Kyoko is proud of what she did today. She’s proud to hold onto a grudge and heckle Yu just because her fucking middle school boyfriend dumped her. Guess she wasn’t so nice after all. I mean, people’s true colors come out under duress, and clearly, she’s broken.
— Puh-leeze, ignorance is never worth protecting.
I thought it was a good episode, but they really butchered the final dialogue between Kaguya and Hayasaka. Essentially, Kaguya tells Hayasaka that while she herself didn’t do anything to Ogino (the cheating boyfriend), she did tell Ishigami’s story to “the right people” i.e. the school elites who could mess him up. Hayasaka is understandably horrified. Kaguya then briefly wonders what sort of face Kyoko would make if she told her the truth, with a really evil expression on her face. I thought it was hilarious and I was really miffed it ended up on the cutting room floor.
It’s not about the episode being good or bad. I’m just posting my reactions to the story.