Three episodes in and I’m feeling pretty confident in giving Just Because! the Episode Review treatment. I’ve simply been enjoying the show a ton. It’s certainly a slow burn but it also has a clear voice and a strong understanding of how adolescence plays out, especially as it comes to an end. I have heard about the alleged production problems going on but so far, I’ve yet to see the story suffer because of it .
I could make fun of the title, and it really is silly sounding to any native English speaker, but I do admit that the name fits this story. A lot events in this episode seems to just happen because some of the characters really are thinking to themselves, “why not?”. You got Haruto biking across town just to meet Hazuki and her dog in spite of his cynophobia, one of his friends trying to tail him on foot, Mio tasking Eita to give Ena Haruto’s LINE ID even though she has the info herself, and Ena tracking Eita down to the point that the latter is seriously tempted to file a restraining order.
No doubt about it, this series of events feels pretty baffling (and often very humorous might I add) but I don’t mean that as a detriment to the writing and direction. In fact, I found myself relating a lot with these characters during this episode. I was personally a very shy person in high school but when I look back, I realize that I’ve had my fair share of irrationality and silliness. I also knew plenty of classmates who did stuff because they just felt like it. Really, I mostly find myself stumped with the actions of Just Because’s characters because I am viewing it as someone who has graduated high school and has gone through what they are currently experiencing. If anything, I find the impulsive nature to these arcs to be rather in line to how teenagers generally act in real life.
And to the show’s credit, it’s not like the more rational characters are really viewed in a more preferred light. Haruto is certainly to be seen as impulsive but Eita’s ennui is just as problematic. Senior year really isn’t the year where you should let time go to waste. I’m not suggesting everyone to be all “YOLO” or anything but just hanging out with friends as many times as you can (which is what I did in my senior year) is enough to make the year worthwhile. Eita unfortunately doesn’t seem that interested in making friends, let alone reconnecting with his old ones. Granted, he’s probably just afraid since he has transferred so many times and he’s down to his last semester so after graduating, his friendships could end up moot again. Still, I couldn’t help but watch Eita talk about his original plan to just do nothing until graduation and say, “really?”
Fortunately for the story and much to Eita’s chagrin, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to catch a break now that Ena has entered his life. I was wondering how Ena would fall into the big picture and her role is certainly interesting. Ena wants to submit her pictures of Eita and Haruto for a competition and Eita naturally refuses to her permission. Ena is pretty stubborn though and by the end of the episode, she convinces Eita to give her his contact info. Already, I love how these two play off of each other. Ena’s practically a polar opposite to Eita; extremely motivated about her future and simply way more energetic than her counterpart. I’m certainly curious to see how Ena’s role now though I sensing the possibility that her, Eita, and Mio are going to be a part of a love triangle. I’m not sure how I feel about that prospect since even if I do end up liking Ena more, it’s kind of obvious that Eita ends up with Mio.
- Mio and Hazuki sure are fixated on getting to a good college and a job and Just Because! also presents it as a problem like irrationality and ennui are for the other characters. It’s understandable for a teenager to be so concerned about their future but without any real passion involved, focusing so much on studying is intoxicating. Hazuki clearly doesn’t want to give up music and you can tell that the studying is just sucking the life out of Mio.
- There were a lot of silly faces in this episode and if Just Because! was getting more high-profile, I could see people memeing the hell out of them. I generally find the visuals to be pretty good and the faces are meant to be funny but sheesh, they look a little out of place for a show that’s quite grounded in reality.
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