Yozora doesn’t want things to go too far
Another episode of Haganai, another great episode of fun. First it was sleepover antics with Maria, who tried using the ‘running away’ excuse to wangle her way into a sleepover with Kodaka and Kobato. Of course, to ‘run away’, she got Kate to bring her to their house, and then Kate called half a dozen times to check on her, and remind Kodaka of things she should do, like eat her veggies or brush her teeth. And despite the friction between Kobato and Maria, they’re becoming closer friends, of the kind that like to antagonize each other. Their relationship reminds me somewhat of Kirino and Kuroneko from OreImo: Two girls who argue constantly, who seemingly can’t stand each other’s presence, but truly like the companionship, and even the competition. And in tune with this, when Kate comes to pick her up the next day, Maria begs for an invite back to do it again. And even though Kodaka expects Kobato to not want it to happen again, she’s practicing her video game “For the next time.”
Second half of the episode is back with the full Rinjin-bu, as they are trying to figure out what they’re going to do, since they’re all bored within 3 days of break starting. So someone brings up a Good Job Party, and as part of that the King’s Game (a game like Truth or Dare where players all draw numbered sticks, with one of them being the “King”, and then the King gives orders to certain numbers, which the holders of those sticks have to follow). But knowing the people he’s playing with, Kodaka insists on an amendment of the rules: Everyone has to write down the orders they want to give before the game even starts, and the King will draw one out of the box and order it (this actually seems like a cool variation on the game in my opinion).
Oosama dare da!
As usual, crazy things happen, such as Maria having to read out Rika’s ‘orgasm’, Kobato ordered to wear a bathing suit – which they don’t have but Rika comes up with a very scant cosplay outfit that’s worse than any bathing suit, Kodaka has to show his chest to everyone, Yozora dancing with Maria, Yukimura wearing the bald cap, among others. But the worst things seem to fall on Sena, either through Yozora’s trickery (marking the order to embarrass yourself at the convenience store) or random luck (running a race with Rika).
The final order
However, the last order changes the tone when Sena, the final king, feels an order that’s wedged in the side of the box and decides to pick that one, to Yozora’s shocked expression. The king has to kiss #3… who happens to be Kodaka. After some initial stammering, with Yozora watching her sneaky plan completely backfire, they start to kiss, only to be stopped by Yozora claiming it to be too much indecency (after Kobato’s outfit and Maria’s reading?). Kodaka discharges the order by grabbing Sena’s glass and drinking from it, providing an indirect kiss (But is it really? The wider shot shows another glass where Sena was standing and Kodaka holding a glass where Rika was standing. Everyone’s satisfied, tho).
Yozora’s reaction tells it all.
Something that seems to be persisting through this season is a slight but significant change in the tone of the show. Throughout the first three episodes, there have been embarrassing things happening, but the level of cruelty between Yozora and Sena has dropped off significantly, in my opinion. Especially from Yozora directed at Sena. Her direct apologies in the first two episodes, even after things that weren’t nearly as mean-spirited as the first season, and her change in the King Game from attacking Sena to trying to get closer to Kodaka instead (it’s easy to see the rigged kiss order was Yozora’s, just found by Sena). Yozora’s really starting to want to get close to Kodaka, although she’s too self-conscious to be more direct. And she seems to have backed off on tormenting Sena at the same time. Whether she’s backing off because she actually has come to, if not “like” Sena, then at least appreciate that they are friends, or because she has realized that the overt tormenting was making her look bad to Kodaka, the fact is that she has backed off, and is treating Sena more or less like another person, and less like *just* ‘Meat’. I really like this change, because it feels authentic to me: even if you’re not a big fan of someone, the longer you know them and become friendlier with them, the less cruel you are going to be to them. And if Yozora wants to make headway with Kodaka, she’s going to have to appear less antagonistic. And I also like when shows don’t keep the animosity cranked up to 11. That was the point at which I liked Binbougami ga a lot more as well, when Momiji and Ichiko seemed to cool off their war just a bit. All out battle can get tiring and repetitive to me. And if this allows the romance to bloom, even better.
The bad comes in the form of shocking news for Kodaka. His dad calls to talk to him, a rare occurrence, and just kind of, you know, nonchalantly, asks in the middle of the conversation whether, you know, Kodaka’s gonna get married to Sena? I’ve slightly spoiled myself on the show (anime blogger protip: Don’t visit Wikipedia about shows you don’t want to get spoiled on! Note also that I too often break this advice), but how did this come about? Are Kodaka and Sena going to get hitched? Did either one of them know this? Or was some sort of deal made between their fathers to have them get married in exchange for Pegasus getting Kodaka (and presumably Kobato) into the school? And what will Yozora think? Can she rebound after a critical hit like this?
Yukimura in Sena’s skull cap. Bleh.