Was anyone really surprised there? I’m much farther in the anime than I am in the manga but regardless of which version I’m following, it seemed really obvious that Sayaka is in love with Touko. Just the way she acts around her friend and even around Yuu was a dead giveaway.
Does the reveal still work as a piece of character development? It does. It certainly makes it easier to relate with Sayaka and understand where she’s coming from. I’ll admit that perhaps I may have antagonized this girl a little too much past couple of weeks. In my defense, it’s easy to feel that way with how prideful she gets about her being Touko’s number two or how haughty she acts towards Yuu. It would still benefit her to tone both of those qualities down but in her defense, she is in love and being in love will always affect your vision. One thing I haven’t changed my stance on, however, is the idea that Sayaka and Yuu are foils. The differences is so apparent. Yuu is unable to reciprocate Touko’s feelings but she has seen the insecurities and motivations her friend tries so hard to hide. In contrast, Sayaka admires how accomplished and driven her best friend is but it begs the question if she’s in love with the person or rather, the facade that person puts up.
That matter worries me as I get the impression that Sayaka is being set up for rejection. She’s convinced that she knows Touko in and out but the context Yuu’s interactions with the latter strongly suggests otherwise. You could even argue that Sayaka’s admiration also fuels Touko’s desire to act perfect which, in of itself, is troublesome (that Touko allows it doesn’t help either). Chances are, learning the truth about Touko will be a test on Sayaka’s feelings. Even if she accepted it like any friend ought to, there’s still Yuu to consider. It just feels like a no-win situation and it bothers me that Bloom Into You kind of gleams over that impression. I’m all for giving a scene where Sayaka gets some counseling regarding her feelings for Touko but maybe don’t make it feel so optimistic?
Speaking of which, I do still enjoy the addition of Miyako, the cafe manager and her little chat with Sayaka at the end of the episode. I think it’s nice of Bloom Into You to include adults enjoying a same-sex relationship. It really adds to the grounded tone this story is largely going for. And in terms of Sayaka’s arc, Miyako adds a lot to it. She’s someone who seems to have gone through the same motions as Sayaka did and can offer some advice and perspective. After Sayaka’s ex-girlfriend insisted such feelings are all just a phase (seriously, someone slap that girl in the face), having someone such as Miyako to talk to is just what she needs. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of this character in the near future.
- Pretty refreshing to have Yuu and Touko in the backseat for a change. Some charming moments can still be found. I particularly enjoy Yuu struggling to describe Touko without what details she must keep a secret and Touko telling Yuu to say her name only to get flustered when she does.
- Mighty curious what Koyomi is going to write for the play. I have the sneaking suspicion it may be very akin to what’s going on in the actual story.
Thanks for reading!