I keep starting these reviews with Yashiro. Sorry if that’s getting repetitive. In my defense, this girl is easily the oddest part of Adachi and Shimamura so I feel the need to get her out of the way first. Her involvement in Episode 4 is actually less prominent compared to the previous two. Basically, she meets Shimamura’s sister by chance (does this character have a name) and the two hit it off. It’s a pretty cute subplot though I wonder where this is going in the long-term. For all I know, they’re being set up as the third couple (which wouldn’t be weird at all given how young they are).
The very first scene of the episode has Shimamura sinking to the bottom of a swimming pool and gazing upon the bubbles rising to the surface. In her narration, Shimamura describes the feeling as heavy and yet also liberating. The same scene replays in expanded form during the A part of the episode and Shimamura’s narration elaborates that the image of bubbles rising to the surface of the pool reminds her of the label on the mineral water Adachi likes to drink. The imagery and the narration feels like a deliberate contrast to another scene back in Episode 1, the one in which Shimamura compares the potential downward path in friendship to sinking and drowning. You have Shimamura literally sinking in this episode’s scene and yet the emphasis is on how she yearns for the surface, which serves as a metaphor for Adachi. Shimamura knows it’s easier for things to down instead of up and yet, she nevertheless desires Adachi’s company.
After swimming, Shimamura has a chance encounter with Adachi’s mother and later overhears her talking to a friend about her daughter at the sauna. In the process, we gain some insight into Adachi’s home life. Evidently, her mother has been a bit too laxed with keeping an eye on her which isn’t the worst offense but it does explain why Adachi hardly attends her classes. The tone Adachi’s mother takes seemingly puts all the blame on Adachi and to her surprise, Shimamura makes the bold decision of speaking up and arguing that some of the blame can be placed on her.
Surprisingly, the show doesn’t shy away from the fact that this is a teenager talking here. Shimamura acts very stubborn and that she wants to settle the argument with a dare (lasting longer in the sauna than the other) is rather childish and petty. Also telling is how despite telling Adachi’s mother to do better, she doesn’t provide the most eloquent or complex answer as to how. At the same time, she does have a point and Adachi’s mother knows it. Hence her throwing the towel with the dare and ultimately following through with Shimamura’s advice. I also like how modestly Shimamura takes in her victory. She only treats the results with curiosity and seems content that she brightened up Adachi’s day, even if it really is for a day. It’s remarkably mature response, especially in comparison to her actions prior.
The second half of the episode involves Adachi hanging out with Shimamura and her friends at a karaoke box. It’s a pleasant enough scene, especially with how the song Adachi and Shimamura sings ends up being the ED for the episode. I am a bit intrigued by the fact that Adachi agrees to the hangout. At best, she’s still acquittances with Hino and Nagafuji and she probably still only wants to be Shimamura. Perhaps it’s Shimamura herself that convinces her to go through it. She’s going along with there being other people present if it means spending more time with the one she likes.
Things pick up during the aftermath of the hangout and Adachi and Shimamura decide to just chill at a playground. The atmosphere is absolutely perfect for Adachi to confess her feelings but big surprise, she backs out at the last second. It’s frustrating, no doubt about that, but it does go along with where Adachi currently stands. She likes Shimamura but she’s also content so long as Shimamura considers her someone special in any capacity. It’s even reflected in her request to get a pat on the head. It’s not as forward as a kiss but it’s still a very informal thing for a friend to do for another. For Shimamura to agree to the terms still validates Adachi’s desire and contentment. Ultimately, if she wants their relationship grow more romantically, she’s leaving it up to Shimamura to do so. The question now is when that’ll happen and while I absolutely can see Shimamura reciprocating those feelings, this show has really made it tough to determine if she’s actually getting there or not.
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