Buy one relationship, get one free!
Did a shoujo just start off with a relationship right out of the gates? It’s pretty impressive how quickly Mei and Yamato get together considering the genre. I can understand why this series moved so quickly to the top of the manga charts. This looks like it will be a show about how a couple stays together rather than how a couple gets together. It’s refreshing to say the least and it has me excited about the prospects of this series. I might even check out the manga.
I love how everything isn’t picture perfect. Yamato is definitely a sketchy guy behind the scenes. There are rumors that he’s kissed almost every girl at school, and he doesn’t even bat an eyelash when confronted with the fact. He’s a man that doesn’t try to hide his action, which is admirable, but his motives are still questionable. Considering how often it’s brought up in this outing, I think it will be a problem as the series continues, which is an interesting wrinkle in the plot.
I’m glad that there was some focus on Asami and Nakanishi as a couple. I was afraid that Nakanishi would end up being ‘that’ guy. You know the pervert that all the fans love but never gets any attention from the rest of the cast and crew. Asami fills the role of a similar trope, the cheerleader behind the lead that always ends up on the short end of the love triangle. The series takes this archetypes and quite deviously plays them up until the final moments of this episode, where it smashes them to smithereens. I wonder how their relationship will develop and how it will play into the greater plot at hand.
Asami’s and Mei’s friendship was an excellent conduit for the formation of the two couples. They don’t directly push one another in a specific direction, but the subtle ramifications of their friendship helps move the plot forward. Regardless of how brilliant a device this is, it was surprising to see how closely their friendship captured many of the themes of adolescence so well. Being picked on, recognizing hidden commonalities, unspoken appreciation, and brutal honesty are universally understood and are the motifs of our teenage years. Sukitte Ii Na Yo doesn’t just focus on young love, but tells a story about all the things that hitchhike for a ride. It’s this quality that makes me love this show, and I hope it continues down the line.
I wasn’t to crazy for the debut of the opener, “Friendship ~ for Sukitte Iinayo.” by Ritsuko Okazaki. It’s a slow number that seems better suited for a closing theme. Okazaki’s airy vocals are pleasant enough to the ear, but don’t have much depth to them. At times it feels like she’s being smothered even by the light instrumentation in the background. This is only a small gripe for a rather exceptional series.