This is really a beautiful episode. Probably the best one from all that I’ve watched this season. In a sense, its also a perspective shaking one as Kumiko finally interacted with Reina Kousaka.
And it was glorious. So glorious that I can’t concentrate on any other thing. So I might as well gush about it for catharsis.
And while it is billed as HazukixShuichixKumiko, it won’t be what I will be talking about. Truthfully, if there is a triangle in this episode its more likely to be on the ReinaxKumikoxShuichi angle.
Not that its much of a triangle. <snort> This one is looking so lopsided until further notice.
The first half basically destroyed my belief in KumikoxShuichi. (Not that I’m much of a believer in that) Poor Shuichi but he is really out of his league. Not to mention that Kumiko appears to not consider him a competitor.
He’s so deep into the friendzone that the episode hammered it not once,twice but THRICE.
First is this exchange:
Hazuki: I said, “Are you going out with Tsukamoto?”
Kumiko: Going out? With Tsukamoto?
<Moment of silence while Kumiko wonder who the hell Tsukamoto is>
Kumiko: Ahhh! (Shocked Realization) You meant Shuichi?
Sapphire <intent> : Are you?
Kumiko: No, I’m not. <flat denial>
While the above dialogue shows the familiarity between Shuichi and Kumiko, a testament to their long friendship that Kumiko never thought of Shuichi by his family name. It also showed how Kumiko has automatically excluded Shuichi from her mental dating pool that it took her a long while to connect said family name to the person.
No tsundere antics here folks or even frantic denial to cover up hidden feelings. Kumiko is simply dumbfounded that anyone would think that she and Shuichi can be dating. She also displayed similar surprise in finding out Hazuki has a crush on Shuichi. As if Shuichi and being “attractive” and “crush-able” does not compute on Kumiko’s dictionary.
On the other hand, Hazuki’s excitable frantic denial and widespread blushing on the topic reveals her feelings on the subject. There is even extensive feet shot to contrast them more. Hazuki is clearly infatuated; her feet cannot sit still and moves with nervous energy while a shot shows that Kumiko’s feet is calmly standing on the ground…. wherein Kumiko then proceed to inwardly narrate the detail of the Agata festival over the background of Hazuki and Sapphire’s planning.
As if those background planning detail details aren’t important in her mind. lol
The scene also revealed something that might have been happening in the background. That is Sapphire and Hazuki might have gotten closer to each other than to Kumiko.
Sapphire’s dialogue says it all. ”
“Thank goodness” and “I’m relieved. Hazuki-chan, go for it!”
Sapphire already knows about Hazuki’s crush on Shuichi. They have already talked about this when Kumiko isn’t around. And while perhaps, these talks are just to lessen the awkwardness. Hazuki and Sapphire didn’t know for sure if Kumiko and Shuichi are dating or anything.
It could also be a symptom of Kumiko’s distant personality.
I’ve tackled it a bit on episode 1, but Kumiko is usually apathetic at the best of times (though she’s improving a bit). And due to this particular trait; Kumiko being hardly invested in anything, there would always be some sort of distance between her and others.
Like in this scene, wherein Sapphire and Hazuki are excited about planning a date with Shuichi. Kumiko who really should care about this more than anyone, could probably care less.
Thus, the distance.
While Kumiko don’t project a cold and aloof demeanor and give the opposite impression actually. She’s still a person that is hard to get close to once you passed a certain point.
And its natural even for a good group of friends to have some preference to who they want to hang out the most. We just fit well with certain people. And to be honest, Hazuki and Sapphire with their positive personalities fit and will probably enjoy each other company more.
So I won’t be surprised if they hang with each other more.
Btw, Have I mentioned I am really liking how Natsuki is being shown?
Her antics with the ribbon-sempai in the trumpet section is quite fun. More fun, because they ended up going into the festival together along with their year-mates. It adds a lot of depth to their characters considering I still have bad feeling regarding ribbon-senpai and their outwardly antagonistic relationship.
Not to mention those teasing of Goto and Riko. Heh. I live for those banter,
Speaking of that, I gave the opinion on my last blog post that Goto doesn’t think well of Natsuki and I’m not retracting that. But, it appears that Riko has the opposite opinion and may even be close friends with our recovering slacker. Riko did defend Natsuki from Goto after all.
Also realized in this sequence that Kumiko *might* be totally oblivious to romance unless you hit her hard with it on the face. Its subtle but you can see Kumiko’s surprised face when it was announced that Riko and Goto are dating. Kumiko’s totally surprised.
Last note regarding Natsuki and Kumiko, I have a sneaking feeling that Natsuki is one of the people trying to be friends to Kumiko. From the moment in episode 4 that Kumiko invited Natsuki to join the section practice. Natsuki has been more than willing to chat with Kumiko a lot of times.
Her face when Kumiko cynically listed why she doesn’t like festivals is quite funny and probably a plot point. Because it establishes firmly that Kumiko could care less about this festival unlike most of her bandmates who are one way or another attending.
Which is why, Shuichi asking Kumiko out on the festival is probably a bad idea. And another way to show their incompatabiliy maybe?
You only have to listen to this exchange to see how Kumiko could care less. She doesn’t even register the date.
Also, Ouch for Shuichi. You were trying so hard. Trying to get Kumiko to practice with you by the park and then basically asking for a date on the festival.
Shuichi: What are you doing on the fifth?
Kumiko: The fifth? Band as usual.
Shuichi: After that! The Agata Festival… Do you want to go with me?
Kumiko: Huh? Why? <Surprised>
Shuichi: Just give it some thought.
Unfortunately, it was not to be.
Way to hammer the point Kumiko that you have never considered him on your dating prospect again.
Not to mention the little by-play on the train wherein Kumiko saw Shuichi but ignored him. Sometimes I think Kumiko thinks of Shuichi as
furniture an annoying brother. One that she wanted to go away and don’t bother her for a while but can’t because of sentimental value.
Its basically hopeless honestly. Kumiko’s response to knowing that Shuichi has feelings for her is “This is a pain.” in a I don’t want to be caught in a love triangle way.
…. No butterflies or confusion about being confessed on. Just a wish for the problem to go away and not bother her ever. lol
Its really too bad because the episode also showed Shuichi sincerity. He has this dope contented grin while watching Kumiko’s eye shine with focus which is sweet.
Also bonus point for the neat moment which underscores Kumiko’s character development. Yeah. Kumiko still thinks that the club’s chance is low.
But, “I hope that we get even better”.
Kumiko is at least invested in music and the euphonium now. Progress!
And we are on strike three.
Remember, Kumiko spotted Shuichi talking to a girl while contemplating Hazuki’s crush on him. If this is a traditional rom-com situation with an oblivious lead, this is the perfect time for Kumiko to realize that Shuichi is well… a boy.
But, well, you could see the screenshot above what Kumiko’s reaction is. lol
This is further compounded by the fact that Shuichi misinterpreted Kumiko’s wish to get away from him into a signal for some “private talk“. Boy, you are reading signals that aren’t there.
Seriously, while I pity Shuichi, I find the whole sequence hilariously refreshing.
Its even further compounded by Kumiko’s escape plan. The old “someone already asked me out before you sorry” that we tell everyone when we don’t want to go with them. And guess who she grabbed?
Loved Kumiko’s expression; Reina is probably at the bottom of the list considering that Kumiko is just getting comfortable with her.
The ED doesn’t lie, that lucky timing – Kumiko and Reina are tied by fate.
…. Or Reina is also curious about the situation and decided to check it out. We have been getting some subtle glances from Reina for a while now. There is even a shot wherein Shuichi and Reina had been staring at Kumiko and have caught one another doing the same thing. Considering Reina’s incoming “confession” her coming out from the room might be more than luck.
Also loved the byplay when Hazuki came to the picture. How Kumiko literally stepped back for Hazuki. How Shuichi for the first time looked angry.
“You’re okay with that?” and the “Fine” with narrowed eyes conveyed that Shuichi knew what Kumiko is doing and he is not appreciative of it.
Still, Shuichi, perhaps you should seriously get a clue. When a girl shoves you to another girl, it might be best to think about other prospects. lol
Still, despite the beating of the pairing. There is a small hope for ShuichixKumiko.
Kumiko didn’t look too happy about the outcome. But, then again, considering how negative and uninterested Kumiko is for the most of it. It might just be the unrest of between Hazuki and Shuichi’s date. Kumiko did just set up Hazuki knowing that Shuichi like someone else- namely herself. That can cause some unease.
And well…. I know how this should go normally. But, I don’t think Kumiko could bring herself to regret this decision post-festival.
Because KOUSAKA REINA …. just KOUSAKA REINA. (I’ll tackle Reina-Kumiko in another post because it deserves it)
Someone once asked me what is my take on the ShuichixKumiko ship against the ReinaxKumiko. I’m actually baffled that this is a question. On the other hand, I’m assiduously avoiding spoilers so who knows. Still this is what I believe.
THERE IS NO CONTEST.
Because in any contest between Shuichi and Reina wherein Kumiko is the judge. Its clear that Reina will win hands down. The anime is quite clear enough here.
Not that there is any participant/contest at the moment. lol
Shuichi is so far in the friendzone that its hilarious. While Reina’s feeling is ambiguous enough that I don’t know if she’s entering said contest. So for my answer, for the ShuichixKumiko is….its frankly looking impossible and it rest on two hard conditions.
1. Shuichi managed to dig himself out of the friendzone.
2. Reina is not going to be the competition.
As I’ve said it will be an automatic lose if Reina shows even a slightest inkling. And even then, there will be a really good chance that any relationship will take a backseat toward whatever Kumiko will have with Reina. Kyoani really outdid themselves with that one.
Once again, Sorry Shuichi. Your suit is looking hopeless.
But, who knows ? Stranger things have happened in an anime. Maybe Shuichi will save Kumiko from a car accident or something which will cause her to fall in love with.
For some reason I don’t think its that kind of show.