Well, I’d say this is a turning point.
As slow of a burn as Bloom Into You may be, there’s definitely been progress. It’s subtle and at first glance, you probably couldn’t tell that Yuu has even moved an inch towards embracing the possibility that she is in love with Touko. But with each new episode, she has been sounding more and more attracted and this episode definitely shows the most blatant progress made yet.
I’m curious as to what exactly about seeing Touko run in the school sports event that made things finally click for Yuu? Is it perhaps seeing such determination and passion displayed in body language? Whatever the case, the direction does work really well here. The slow motion that kicks in as Touko runs. The background obscuring into a bright white as Yuu looks at her friend in awe. The terrific insert song provided by Riko Azuna who sings the OP. You really feel that someone is falling in love here.
There’s some strong contrast between the beginning and ending of the episode in which, both times, Touko and Yuu hang out in a storage room for some alone time. The first time around, it’s entirely Touko needing to kiss since the two of them have been so busy. The second time around, she wants Yuu to initiate the kiss instead, justifying it as a “reward” for “behaving well” during the sports event. However, Yuu ends up hesitating to kiss her friend. At this moment, she’s taken aback by how she was feeling during the race and she realizes that if she were to kiss Touko, she’d finally reciprocate her friend’s feelings at a point of no return. I think it’s important to note that Touko ends up taking matters into her own hands (and with a lot of tongue action no least) as once that happens, Yuu becomes a willing participant and able to find kissing enjoyable again.
Progress has been made but it appears that Yuu is still convinced that her relationship with Touko is nothing special. At this point though, it’s starting to feel more and more of a stretch, almost as if Yuu is lying to herself. Maki seems to think so when he and Yuu converse earlier in the episode, noticing that her glum face betrays what she says out loud. And to be frank, I buy Maki being disinterested in pursuing his own relationship much more than I do with Yuu. Later in the episode, during the second kissing scene, it gets hard to interpret Yuu’s inner monologue as platonic. She comments so meticulously about how attractive Touko looks. She feels a heartbeat and tries to chalk it off as Touko’s, only for the visuals to show that she’s clearly nowhere near her friend’s heart as the two embrace. This far in, I think Yuu is maybe trying too hard now.
You know, this kind of reminds me of how Touko wants Yuu to not love her. Odd for me to say, I know, but how they are kind of similar in how these two girls each have their own status quo in their head that they believe in. As I’ve kept saying, this kind of thinking can only go so far and sooner or later, they each need to re-evaluate what exactly they want.
Thanks for reading!