I did refrain from mentioning Episode 10’s abrupt ending where Mai finds out that paparazzi have leaked her relationship with Sakuta to the public. That actually isn’t negligence on my part. I didn’t feel the need to comment because truth be told, I wasn’t terribly concerned for these lovebirds. Knowing them, I was sure they were going to weather whatever storm will befall them and make it out on top. And sure enough, that is exactly what happens. Mai just freely admits everything at a press conference for her next big role and simply asks for privacy. It’s earnest, it’s confident, and it’s 100% what I imagined she would do. This girl is truly the best.
Of course, Mai being awesome doesn’t stop there. In the following scene, Sakuta finds a note from Shoko in the mail, asking him to meet her at the beach. Though he feels inclined to do so, he is hesitant to bring it up to his girlfriend. Mai does find out soon after (Futaba, you beautiful bastard) and rather than be jealous, she tells Sakuta to go ahead and meet with Shoko as she knows this means so much to him. You’d think this far in, I’d be used to Mai being so understanding and cooperative but it really never ceases to amaze me. And evidently, Sakuta is stunned too; him trying to repeat his public confession is proof of how happy he is.
Bunny Girl Senpai sure likes to tease about Shoko, huh? Granted, it ought to since it’s the biggest mystery yet and we have a movie on the horizon. All I’m saying is that this is proving to be a test of patience. I’m dying to know what is going on with this girl. First, she sends that note. Then, she tells Sakuta on the phone that she doesn’t recall doing such a thing. Furthermore, is it just me or was it deliberate that Shoko makes no physical appearance at any point this episode? Darn it, can the movie come out already?
Oh well, no use fretting over this. Let’s dial back because I’m this far into this write up and I haven’t talked about the real star of this episode.
It sure has been a long time coming for Kaede. After many scenes of her clinging onto her brother and staring at the other girls (and her cats) with envy, she’s finally going to conquer her fear of the outside world. For a comic relief character, she actually has one of the darkest plots out of anyone in the series. Her phobia originating from getting bullied online is disturbing enough but the way in which Puberty Syndrome kicks in makes the situation even more of a pickle. Any attempt at socializing outside of her comfort results in an injury of some kind, effectively turning the emotional pain that may arise literal. Hence why she has stayed home for so long, away from any unwanted attention, any strangers, and most means of contact.
Naturally, it’s baby steps for this girl. She is dreaming very big with the amount of goals she has written down (and of course, they mostly involve Sakuta) but right now, she has two specific goals she’s focused on. First is being able to pick up calls on the telephone again which Mai actually offers to help with since Kaede is comfortable around her (again, Mai is the best). Second is being able to step outside of the front door. The process she plans out for that is very meticulous with a lot of breaks in between each major step. It is admittedly very cute and amusing but it also makes complete sense given how long it’s been since she last went outside.
Watching her take that first step is itself a highlight. For once, her habit of clinging onto Sakuta is taken seriously. It has been a very humorous trait up until now but when you think about it, Sakuta is one of the few people whom Kaede feels completely safe around. What makes this scene better, however, is that Sakuta ends up needing to abuse that trust, lying to Kaede (who has her eyes closed) how far they are at the entrance so that she successfully gets to the other side. It’s a risky move on his part but it also feels necessary and it fortunately works in the long run as Kaede soon makes further progress in the coming days.
Things aren’t entirely reassuring however. For one, it becomes evident that Kaede is still suffering from Puberty Syndrome. Right after talking to Mai on the phone for the first time, she collapses. After checking up on her in bed, Sakuta spots a new bruise on her body. Evidently, letting her stay home was only a temporary measure. There is also this new revelation that Kaede has amnesia. At the end of the episode, she runs into her childhood friend, Kotomi, only she doesn’t recognize her at all. It’s very surprising and I’m curious if this is directly caused by Puberty Syndrome or if it’s a byproduct. I hope it’s not the former because then the implication is that Kaede suffers more than just bruises and cuts when she’s stressed or panicked.
Now that I think about it, this may not just be a long time coming for Kaede but also Sakuta. After all, he was never able to figure out how to entirely solve his sister’s issues and contented with having her stay indoors and be the most caring brother that he can be. The situation has changed now, however, and while it’s obvious that this dilemma will reach its long awaited resolution (otherwise, we’d be here forever), I am curious over how it will be resolved.
- Heh, Futaba is also tired of Puberty Syndrome shenanigans. This kind of acknowledgment keeps amusing me.
- Well, at least Tomoe and Nodoka still appear briefly. I’m kind of annoyed the latter is just there though. I wouldn’t mind seeing her bond with Kaede.
ED: “Fukashigi no Carte” by Kaede Azusagawa (CV: Yurika Kubo)
I’m a little bit disappointed in this version…because I was hoping to see Kaede dramatically walking on the beach in her Panda onesie.
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