Asako has a really cute blush
I was a bit surprised that they went to a different focus for this episode, telling the story from Asako’s point of view from the beginning of winter break through New Year’s. Although, this might have been necessary due to the fact that following anyone else would have been really boring. After the part of Haru and Shizuku’s conversation that we saw at the end of last episode, they continued with Shizuku promising Haru that they would go for a picnic after the new year. And poof, just like that, Haru is satisfied, the angst from before gone with just a simple promise for the future. And in exchange, he agrees to not bother her about her cram school.
Hoping the phone will ring…
So because there’s not really much going on between the main characters over the break, we focus on Asako, who is cast back into her world of internet and isolation from before she met Haru, Shizuku, and Sasayan. And that world is one that she didn’t like before, and doesn’t like now, and when Shizuku finally calls her (to ask how to program the DVR), Asako invites herself over for New Year’s Eve, and brings Haru with her. And when she’s awoken by a phone call from Sasayan, the whole gang goes to the shrine for the celebrations, and then later to the Batting Center to watch the first sunrise of the year.
While this wasn’t really a ‘recap’ episode, from this point on it really didn’t seem to break any new ground. We see more interactions between Haru and Shizuku, usually nice, sometimes over the top. We see Yamaken and his group of miscreants starting a fight, and grinning Haru showing up in the middle of it. We see Yamaken trying to pull his smooth moves on Shizuku and getting rebuked (she won’t let him pay for her food, and chastises him for cutting in line). We see Asako once again give Yamaken the “Ha! Mitty’s not going to fall for your scummy moves” and Yamaken get angry at her. We also see Haru whack Shizuku in the nose again, accidentally. All ground we’ve gone over before, all stuff that’s familiar to us.
Yana tries to talk to Asako
Perhaps the only really new things were, again, focused on Asako. As we saw her at the end of last episode, she was steeling herself to go to the batting center, but in reality she was there to see Sasayan, who was there with his team. And one of the boys on the team tries to chat up Asako, while the others laugh at him, and this sets her off, because she thinks that at least part of it is laughing at her, and being treated as a joke. Sasayan apologizes for them, and asks if she likes anyone, because he thought she liked Mitsuyoshi. And she does, but she’s not about to admit it.
As close to a confession as she can get, and Mitsuyoshi totally understands it.
Near the end, up on the roof, Asako finally talks to Mitsuyoshi, who still doesn’t quite get that Asako has a crush on him, but gives her some pretty good advice about love, and that the best kind of love gives you a chance to grow up, and after that she gives as close to a confession as she can get, asking him to grow up with her (and then he does get it). This has put the crimp on Sasayan’s plan to let his friend get closer to Asako, but oh well. Sasayan probably wasn’t that invested in helping his friend anyway, since the person he called to wish Happy New Year to was Asako. Is there any chance he’ll get together with her? I doubt it, mainly because he’s so opaque about it. You really get the feeling that he would be happy if they did get together as a couple, but if they didn’t, and kept being friends, that would be ok, too.
Haru and Shizuku were definitely in the background this episode.
I’m not sure I particularly like the decision to make the second to last episode of the series be this Asako-focused. Haru and Shizuku were in it, but there really wasn’t much in the way of relationship development between them. And maybe that’s a development in itself, in that they acted like a couple for a while without having some major setback. And maybe an episode like this would have gone over better for me right after the Cultural Festival episodes, when it didn’t feel stuck in right before the finale, breaking the momentum the show was working up to the end. I like Asako and Sasayan, and the other characters in the show, but I wish we could have had more with them earlier.
I guess the show’s just playing it off as a joke from now on, but I still get really uncomfortable at how many ways Haru is just not fit for either adult company or being a boyfriend to Shizuku. From the frequently misguided attacks that hit her to his mercurial moods, I just can’t help but worry about what he’d be like in a few years.