How could anyone not be enjoying this show right now?
Of all the episodes so far, this is definitely the funniest, and it has a wide range of humor, from the silly physical comedy of Nakamura sneaking around and spying on Kasuga and Saeki’s date, to the grandiose ridiculousness of the above scene, and of course the darker, more satirical undertones lining the entire series. I expected the big date to be uncomfortable and more than a bit terrifying (and it’s definitely terrifying to Kasuga, particularly with Nakamura lurking around each corner waiting in delight for his humiliation), but I didn’t expect it to be so hilarious as well. Bravo.
What is perhaps the funniest moment of the episode also doubles as the most interesting: Kasuga’s “confession” to Saeki. It’s a great spin on this traditional type of scene and reveals ever more about how messed up Kasuga is. It’s not just that he lives in fear of anything remotely physical; lots of kids go through the “ewwwwww cooties ewwwwwwww” phase in their lives. This goes way beyond that, however. Something as simple as a kiss is an irredeemably filthy act. If Nakamura told Kasuga to pin Saeki down and kiss her whether she wants to or not, that would be one thing, since that would be pretty gross and creepy. But, nope, it’s a simple, “Kiss her, or I’ll make your life hell.” (OK, maybe it’s not that simple.) Hell, maybe she would have been into the idea, although judging from her reactions to Kasuga throughout the date, it was a bit difficult for me to decipher exactly how she feels about him. She seemed either bored or confused most of the time, haha.
The mere thought of soiling Saeki with any sort of physical intimacy is too much for poor Kasuga’s heart to stand. Nakamura says it all when she mentions it’s the first wall she wants to break. She’s not even being subtle about it by thrusting herself so close to Kasuga all the time, leaning in every so often as if she’s about to snatch a smooch, and touching him up and down every so often. Nakamura is basically brute forcing the message that a bit of physical intimacy isn’t the worst thing in the world, even if she’s stomping all over someone’s comfort levels while she’s doing it.
But that’s not even the most interesting part of the whole thing to me. It’s the confession itself: Kasuga wishes to enter into a pure, platonic relationship with Saeki. Sure, he frames it in this way partially to rebel against Nakamura and piss her off a bit, but this is what he wants, right? What strikes me is that Kasuga has to be forced with what is essentially social suicide to even have the courage to just be friends with Saeki. It’s a hilarious way to highlight how silly the expectations of relationships between men and women are. If you have a boy and a girl, the social expectation is that they will be romantically linked. Can’t they be just friends? Of course not! Men and women are never “just friends,” and that’s the way it is. Harumph harumph.
That attitude is, of course, the cause of a great many fuckups in relationships. Why even bother with the hassle of trying to be “just friends” with a girl? Someone’s going to fall in love and mess everything up, right? Then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: Nobody can be “just friends” because nobody tries to be “just friends” in the first place. Kasuga puts Saeki on such a pedestal that simply being pals with her is literally the greatest moment of his life. I mean, what the fuck, right? But it’s not such an unremarkable point of view to someone who can’t separate attraction and friendship when it comes to the ladies. Hell, Saeki was actually pleased by Kasuga’s words because no boy had ever tried to be actual friends with her before.
Again, I can’t criticize Kasuga too much, because, as has been repeated many times in these posts, kids are big dumb dummies. I wasn’t at that Kasuga extreme, but I sure as shit wasn’t all cool and down to earth with girls as a youngster. (Like I am that old, ha!) It’s more when that childish point of view perpetuates into adulthood that it becomes a problem. I don’t really think I have the perspective to note how widespread it is, though, except that it pops up in media a shit ton.