I need to first start by correcting an observation I made before. I’ve been saying that Sayaka is unaware that Touko is living a lie but it appears that she does indeed know. At least from the 9-10 minute mark of this episode, it appears to be the case. Not a big deal though I’ll admit that it does make me interpret this character a little bit differently. Personally, I quite like the idea that Sayaka was entirely oblivious of the truth in strong contrast to Yuu being fully aware of it.
There is still a compelling dynamic brewing between Yuu and Sayaka, however. With how they feel about Touko and how Touko feels about them, they have to be at odds in some way. I don’t know if I’d go as far as call it hostility but you can tell they are wary of each other. If neither are aware of each other’s respective feelings towards Touko, they do at least seem aware of how the other want to respectively help said girl. The whole hangout at Y’dDonalds (yo, what happened to good old “WcDonalds”?) exemplifies this slight tension. Both try to be friendly towards each other and for the most part, succeed at it, but they are aware that they are trying to, as Sayaka puts it, extent an olive branch to each other. Therefore, an awkward air still perpetuates no matter how hard they try. I suppose cooperation is the best they’ll have to settle for now. And judging by the end where they successfully practice for an upcoming relay race (what’s with these club traditions?), it appears that these girls can pull it off.
You know, with each new episode, I find myself warming up to Sayaka. She does still act a bit too high and mighty for my liking but learning more about her character has done wonders and I do understand where she is coming from. It most certainly helps that this girl has her moments. Take the beginning of the episode for example. Watching her cling onto Touko and subtly tell her stupid ex that she’s still attracted to girls is simply put, satisfying. It’s not technically a slap to the face but I’ll take it! I’m really happy that Bloom Into You addressed that thread again.
Moving on, the whole bit with the umbrella is downright excellent. I particularly enjoy the build-up to it as Yuu contemplates whom she can ask for an umbrella before Touko finally appears with one. It’s charming too, what with how Yuu argues that she should hold the umbrella as the underclassman despite Touko being taller and therefore more ideal. That they subtly agree to hold the umbrella together makes it even more heartwarming.
There are, however, some important details to note. For one, it appears that Yuu is slowly embracing a romantic interest towards Touko. She still backpedals a bit but her talking about how happy she was that Touko offered to share her umbrella is the closest she’s ever gone to admitting some kind of attraction to her. Touko’s reaction however is a lot harder to piece together. She’s befuddled at Yuu’s happiness, there’s no denying that but I can’t help but think that she’s also peeved. There’s context that supports it. Back in Episode 6, Touko did say that she doesn’t want Yuu to ever fall in love with her. There’s also her reaction to when Yuu backpedals. She remarks that it sounds more like the Yuu she knows and smiles. Either she’s relieved Yuu is “still” Yuu or she is trying to convince herself that her crush has yet to reciprocate her feelings on any level. As I’ve said in the past, I find this attitude worrisome. I understand that Touko has a particular vision over her romantic life but sooner or later, she needs to learn that reality can only match up with her vision for so long.
Thanks for reading!