Anime  

Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!- 03 – Lost in Anime

It’s a season full of bubble candidates, hot on the heels of one that really didn’t have any.   Very commonly with those sorts of shows they bounce all around from episode to episode, jockeying for position.  And that’s very much the case this season – my category ranking would certainly have been different after two episodes than one.   Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko! was a series on the rise already – I liked the second ep much better than the first – but it took a leap forward (upward?) this week.  I won’t say the deal is closed but the terms are looking pretty acceptable.

I don’t know if the series is simply getting better or if it’s a matter of wearing down resistance – with comedies it can be hard to tell.  But I’ve really started to like Tomo and Jun as a “lovable baka” pairing (one of my favorite romcom tropes).  And the supporting cast is helping too.  Carol was a great (if debatably racist) addition, funny in her own right, but she’s also done wonders for softening up Misuzu’s character.  The Junichirou dating revelation helped with that too.  And that’s crucial because Misuzu is clearly a very important character, almost a co-lead.

That romance lasted exactly three days, by the way, hardly an endurance record even for middle school.  It was a whim for Junichirou and for Misuzu a whiff pretty much from day one, when Jun invited her on a date that turned out to be a 40 km (one way) bike ride.  He followed that up with more bro activities that were of absolutely no interest to her (if only Jun could find a girl who liked all that tomboy stuff), and Misuzu was ready to break it off by day three.  But to add insult to injury Junichirou broke up with her before she had the chance to dump him.  What an indignity.

That Misuzu was severely pissed is not under debate.  Has she totally discarded any romantic feelings for Jun?  I’m not absolutely convinced of that – I think the jury is still out.  For now though her cheerleading for Jun and Tomo seems sincere (though that may be because she enjoys the lulz as much as anything).  Another important satellite here is Misaki, who absolutely has feelings for Tomo.  When she introduces him to Jun, the latter promptly chops him on the head (yeah, that’s not a tell), which earns him a punch from Tomo.  Jun’s terrifying approach to Misaki causes problems for Tomo, who impresses on Jun to make it right the next time the two meet.

The Misaki-Jun interaction is the first male-male conversation we’ve had, and it was handled quite well I thought.  I feel badly for Misaki as he’s just a pebble in the gears here, a nice guy with no chance – but I kind of hope he and Jun wind up being actual friends.  He almost spills the beans about how Jun really feels about Tomo (which Jun still doesn’t really understand himself yet) – if he had I might actually fear for his health – but Jun stops him before he can do so.  So Misaki lives to cower another day, though his chances with Tomo were sadly DOA.

Then we have the date sequence, which is a win for all sorts of reasons.  It happens because Misuzu talks Tomo into asking Jun to “hang out” despite her feelings of awkwardness, and sees the full-on debut of Misuzu and Carol as a comedy team.  The two of them are mismatched in quite humorous fashion and seeing them pulling the strings on the main couple is a high-potential development.  They manage to talk Tomo into getting an actual girl’s outfit to wear, though Misuzu decides to aim low – taking the baby step from “a boy at first glance” to “girl with some boyish features” (which I think is a good call) rather than a full-on feminine transformation.

As for the date itself, it’s the idiot pair at their most endearing.  Jun sticks with safe territory like batting and bowling (where Tomo cedes no prowess to him), but eventually she ups the ante by suggesting karaoke.  The awkwardness is thick in the air and initially Tomo won’t even sing, but eventually she realizes this was all her doing and takes the mic in hilarious fashion.  Yes Jun, there is “something different” about Tomo here (and not the karaoke footage he captures on video).  The outro delivers a nice riff on the karaoke theme, with Misuzu showing off her pipes and Carol singing sexy Western pop in English (I wonder, will they re-record that for the dub or leave it as is?).

 

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