In all honesty, I don’t watch many shoujo… But when I do I really hope they are like Sukitte Ii Na Yo. Most shows I have seen from the genre fail to capture adequate social volatility, where relationships aren’t stagnant but are constantly changing. In the past four episodes we’ve seen a multitude of changes occur that might seem very rapid, but capture the fluctuating nature of life itself. We never know what tomorrow holds.
The first most obvious change the show focuses in on is strangers to lovers. Mei and Yamato were seemingly whisked in together by fate. Two people that were unlikely to come together had it not been for uncommon circumstances. It’s a very typical story that comes together rather quickly. But that’s how love is, it hits us when we least expect it. Now do I think the two are in deep love? No, it would be naive to come to that conclusion, but considering their age, the two might think that’s what they are feeling. For now I think it’s a deep seated attraction, that with time can grow to exactly that. For now the two are just crazy about being with another person and have the zephyr of fresh feelings neath their wings.
The second change would be transitioning from friends to lovers. This is a bit more understated and hasn’t really come into the spotlight. Asami and Nakanishi were close friends before their feelings were discovered by one another. Relationships like these are usually a matter of confort for both people. Asami, who was often made fun of for her chest, appreciates the fact that someone close to her can look past them, but also appreciate them. It might sound a bit shallow, but when something becomes the target of hurting your self esteem, how other feel about that something, which should be inconsequential, becomes important. For Nakanishi, a girl that he’s been ogling for a while is actually attracted him. He no longer needs to hide in Yamato’s shadow. For once he’s the special one. I am in no ways trying to belittle their relationship, but to try and explore what the underlying explanations for such a metamorphosis in the two’s companionship.
Last is not exactly a transformation but is an important variable in depicting social volatility. It’s the wild card. Hayakawa is that wild card. He doesn’t believe in any sort of ‘tangible’ relationship with any single person. At first he might seem like an estranged friend of Yamato’s but he’s just a fleeting acquaintance. His relationship with women follows a similar formula. He rather just hang out with his many female friends and extract any ‘benefits’ he can. He’s the element of chaos: the guy that preys on vulnerable girls, the guy that your girlfriend is cheating on you with, the guy that will probably say he’ll be there soon but cancels without a word. He has no rules, and doesn’t care if people get upset when he breaks them. Sure he does have a bit of an ego, but he shakes things up by questioning the characters what the nature of their relationships actually are.
The great thing about Sukitte Ii Na Yo is that it doesn’t just isolate all these qualities into a single character. Most if not all of them might be present in Hanekawa, but there is a bit in Aiko, Asami, Nakanishi and even Mei herself. These are characters that are trying to figure out what their relationships with other’s exactly mean. In all the adventures they have in figuring out what words to exactly use, the nature of their connection to other people will inevitably change. That’s social volatility.