Pacing has been an interesting aspect of Just Because!, hasn’t it? All sorts of things have clearly happened these past six episodes and there’s certainly been plenty to talk about but I can’t deny that this show has been taking things nice and slow. That approach is interesting not just because this show falls under slice of life but also because there is a timer to all that’s going on. I would like to see all the shippings hook up in the end but true to life, that’s easier said than done. That the majority of this cast is graduating soon makes tings even more problematic. Even Ena, who I still have no idea if she’s an observer or a participant in this love polygon, has a deadline with saving her photography club. The clock is just ticking everywhere.
There is progress being made regardless though. With Haruto struggling to muster a reply to Hazuki’s message and Hazuki waiting for him to respond in some way, Eita decides to take matters into his own hands. Eita makes a bet with Haruto — if the latter can strike a home run during their game of ball, then he has to respond to Hazuki’s text. If Haruto runs out of balls to hit, Eita more or less hints that he’ll act on his feelings towards Mio.
It’s a pretty silly game if you think about it since both winning conditions is something either boy already wants and it’s just sheer reluctance that’s holding them back. Where this bet actually serves its purpose is the message its sending. It’s a callback to Haruto trying to strike a home run in Episode 1 as a show of determination. If he’s able to get this off his bucket-list, he can certainly muster the effort to confess to Hazuki. Thus to have Haruto and Eita have a rematch of sorts here would to once again signal to everyone that the latter is still very determined to get what he wants.
Initially, I was hoping that with Haruto getting so many fouls at the start, Hazuzki would rush in and play the trumpet in time to cheer him on. But now that I’ve seen the whole episode play out in its entirety, I like the Haruto ended up striking a home run on his own. It’s a sign that tells everyone that he’s been very serious about his goals. That Hazuki chooses not to play and instead practice some more really reflects that she hasn’t really given anything involving Haruto 100%. I mean, it was her right to decline and she may indeed still say “no” but it does seem like Hazuki wants more time to think it through it. And if Haruto is still serious about this, then having Hazuki pick up her trumpet serves to symbolizes that she too wants to take things seriously.
Everyone else’s reactions are interesting too. Judging from Ena’s photos, it almost look liked Eita wish he won the game if only because that meant he’d have to properly confess to Mio. And speaking of Mio, we do see her finally enact on her crush towards Haruto in some way after she sees him get that home run. Frankly, I wish she was more blunt about how she feels but then again, gaining Haruto’s love probably wasn’t the end goal anyway. She not only learns from the home run that Haruto still has his eyes on Hazuki but she also realizes that while the latter is determined, she herself hasn’t really been adamant about her feelings. It’s like she knows Haruto would probably say “no” to her or she’s come to the conclusion that someone like him deserves someone more steadfast than her. It doesn’t really seem like Mio is 100% okay with this (and in the end, Haruto is still oblivious about the crush) but if she’s letting Haruto x Hazuki blossom, she needs to deal with it.
By the end of the episode, Haruto and Hazuzki hooking up is looking a little more likely but Eita and Mio still appear to be by themselves. And sure, Hazuki is still going to college while Haruto will be working at a factory so maybe dating might not work out. At the very least, Haruto is happy he isn’t outright rejected for now and things are less awkward between him and Hazuki. As for Eita and Mio, well, they tend to dodge this kind of stuff in general so it’ll take some more time. The only big obstacle is perhaps that more and more, there is something going on between Eita and Ena. I still don’t know if Ena is actually involved in this plot romantically but the she and Eita act around each other sure sends a lot of mixed signals. And judging from Mio’s reaction, it doesn’t seem like she’s terribly happy to see the two together. She’s only now letting Haruto go and I have a feeling things are going to be different with Eita.