Sometimes it’s worth watching and paying attention to the OPs and EDs of shows. Sakurasou might have jumped the gun a little too soon by having Ryuunosuke show up in this week’s OP considering he makes his first real appearance here (next week’s OP might have been more appropriate), but I digress. If you look closely at the OPs before this episode though, you’ll see that he has in fact always been there, albeit sort of hidden out of the way. And on that note, I’m a little confused about Ryuunosuke’s gender. His name sounds like a guy’s name alright, and his use of “boku” is certainly masculine, albeit not as masculine as “ore”. But his VA is Yui Horie (though her role as Riki doesn’t help the case), and he could certainly pass for a girl in terms of appearance, if you ask me. I’m only referring to Ryuunosuke as a “he” because that’s how everyone else addresses him in the show so far, but I’m fairly convinced that despite his use of pronouns, his name, his clothing (he wears the male uniform), and the way people address him, “he” might just be a “she”. Let’s just say my reverse trap senses are tingling.
“Ryuu” aside, the blond English bombshell from last week’s preview makes her promised appearance. It turns out she isn’t actually related to Mashiro, but is Mashiro’s childhood friend and former roommate instead. Their resemblance sure is uncanny, but this is anime so I guess they’re about as related as Haruka and Kanata in Little Busters! (which is; they aren’t). In any case, Rita came all the way from England just to bring Mashiro back. Her reason? Mashiro’s talent would be wasted on drawing manga. Why draw silly Chinese cartoons when you could be making modern art that will go down in history? The issue of Mashiro overshadowing those around her is brought up yet again, and Rita describes her very aptly with a single word: “overwhelming”. It’s clear that Rita was in a position similar to Sorata’s in the past. But instead of trying harder like Sorata, she just gave up. Which makes me wonder if there’s any ulterior agenda behind her visit. To say she sounded bitter while she was talking about Mashiro would be a massive understatement, so I can’t help but worry that she might have a grudge against her. I don’t see what Mashiro going back to painting has to do with a grudge though, so it could be that she’s already gotten over Mashiro’s overwhelming superiority.
I’m a little skeptical that getting Mashiro to paint again is her idea though. Even if she is Mashiro’s childhood friend, I don’t think she would honestly care that much about it. Much less if she’s been discouraged by comparison to Mashiro’s talent in the past. Most likely she’s just here to do someone else’s bidding (perhaps Mashiro’s grandfather?). And if it does turn out that she’s personally doing this with Mashiro’s best interests in mind, then she’s got a few things mixed up here. If you have someone’s best wishes in mind, you’ll let her do what she wants to do most (barring stuff that is without a doubt harmful). Even if Rita (or whoever put her up to this) pretends to be thinking for Mashiro, the words she used at the art gallery suggest the ugly truth that is only very thinly veiled. That is, it’s all for the sake of art that will go down in history. Not once were Mashiro’s feelings even so much as mentioned. The only words I kept hearing were “waste” and “talent”. I can’t believe that Sorata actually got suckered into it. Perhaps I’m just not an art connoisseur, but I don’t understand how his being awed by one of Mashiro’s works would so easily convince him that she should go back to painting. Sure, it may look great and breathtaking, but unless Sorata originally had a thing for artwork, it shouldn’t have left that much of an impression.
It’s sort of akin to fans of a mangaka wanting him to draw more, for example (ironically, in this case). If you don’t really care for manga in the first place, I highly doubt reading a masterpiece would convince you to join the bandwagon. If anything, you’ll just gain an appreciation for manga, and then move on. Of course, Sorata knowing Mashiro personally might have a hand in things, but I would say that this should actually have the opposite effect. He should be even more mindful and respectful of her wishes and desires, if anything. In any case, the school festival is coming up, and the Sakurasou gang has some big plans for it.
What’s bad here is Rita’s attitude, and how easily Sorata is suckered into it. Come on, Sorata. I thought we already went over this before. Let Mashiro do what she wants to do, and just try your best at your own thing. No need to over-complicate things.