Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 4

So, it’s time to venture into relatively unexplored territory, at least as far as romance anime go. What do you do in a romance anime after you already have a canon couple? It’s not like it’s never been done before, but even those that have (looking at you non-Ore Monogatari) don’t usually spend time on the implications of life after the courtship has ended and the relationship has begun. Happily, because Ore Monogatari!! is built with the relationship as its main feature, not just a related thread, we get episodes like this—and, other than (what is starting to becoming a troubling pattern of) diving into melodrama, it was quite lovely.

Ore Monogatari!!

Anyways, I’m starting to feel like Ore Monogatari!! really demands posts that touch on the two big relationships—Takeo and Suna, and Takeo and Rinko—because despite the fact that this was the first episode out of a relationship being formed, we started it the same way we have all the others. Takeo, introducing himself, and Sunakawa. The scene before the opening credits was kind of a reminder that both of these guys have superficial qualities that attract others to them (Suna, obviously, gets the girls; Takeo impresses the dude with his figure), which is kind of a cute way of reminding us in the reverse that both of them are so much more. And they’re kind of a perfect match themselves.

As funny as the baby carriage on the stairs scene was, it also served as another example of why Takeo and Suna work so well together. It’s kind of the classic brains and brawn relationship, but it’s not like Takeo is stupid (just dense—as the next episode title implies—and experienced) and we don’t know that Suna is a genius (although it’s implied he’s at least book smart). And it’s not like Takeo and Suna are diametrically opposed types of people, either. They just complement each other‘s strengths and weaknesses really, really well. It’s a surprisingly balanced relationship considering how forceful Takeo is and, by the end of this episode, we’ve seen both of them consider how important the other one is to him.

Ore Monogatari!!

That being said, it is becoming slowly clear that Suna doesn’t necessarily want to be as involved in Takeo’s love life as Takeo thinks he should be. From asking to leave a group outing where he’s essentially a third wheel to remaining mostly quiet at the singles meet, Suna doesn’t seem like he’s all that thrilled about being dragged along to all the events Takeo and Yamato go to. On one side, I do understand where Takeo and Yamato are coming from. Other than the single meeting where Yamato ran off crying, the three of them have always met up together—it’s natural for Suna to be along when Takeo and Yamato do things. Furthermore, both of them obviously like Suna quite a lot and so they probably think they’re being nice (or just enjoy his company) when they drag him along to things.

But, as anyone who’s been a third wheel to a couple made up of two people you like, even being friends with both of them doesn’t really make sitting in on their lovey-dovey time all that much fun. Suna seems to handle it better than most, making a little joke about Takeo and Yamato’s silly conversation where they just echo each other’s thoughts on the seasons, but you can bet he doesn’t really enjoy being a witness to their cuteness beyond the simple amusement of it. Which actually brings up an interesting audience-related question: why do we enjoy PDA like Takeo and Yamato in media when such antics in real life are more like to cause exasperations (“Get a room!”)? I’m not going to answer that here, but that’s something to ponder.

Ore Monogatari!!

In any case, Suna confesses his friendship to Takeo over the phone, I cried, and now it’s time to stop talking about Suna—because heaven knows this is the second week in a row where my musing on him have dominated the post. Sorry. I just relate to him quite a lot. Onwards! Oh, wait. One more thing. Sorry. Suna also gives Takeo a mini-lesson in people, warning him that those who are friends with nice people aren’t always nice themselves, a piece of advice that explicitly foreshadowed the later trash-talking of Takeo by Yamato’s friends, but also seemed to me to be shot in such a way that Suna might have been subtly implying this about himself? Suna’s always talking himself down, you know, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that he doesn’t consider himself all that great a person despite all the evidence to the contrary. But that’s a ways down the road if that’s a conflict we’re going to tackle. And it could just be me reading in too much. Anyways!

As far as Takeo and Yamato go, they’re just cute cute cute all the time. Trying (and failing the first time) to take a selfie together, Takeo’s repeated realizations of how much he likes his girlfriend, his reactions to hearing her call him her boyfriend, and them watching over their single friends with silly grins on their faces…it was all cute! Unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to talk about their relationship when it’s just cuteness—although I will say all those brief moments of Takeo re-realizing that he likes Yamato are totally accurate—so instead let’s talk about the fire.

Ore Monogatari!!

In all honesty, another life-threatening disaster was not the direction I wanted to see the narrative of this show go again, but we got it anyways. It’s a worrying tendency that Ore Monogatari!! has twice gone to what I’d consider melodrama to push its story forward, but the results of going these directions are good, so I’m not complaining yet.

What are those results? Getting to peer into Takeo’s somewhat tragic mentality about his life once again, as well as a pretty intense refutation of the whole sacrificial love as romantic idea. Are you surprised to see me, a Catholic, type that? “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Right? Well, not always. In my opinion, many anime characters are far too quick to embrace the “I must die to protect the person I love!” mentality when what the other person really needs is for them to live. Takeo, whether through his own truly sad reflections on being too happy (does that say a lot about how he views his life or what?) and through his misguided idea that by dying he can keep Yamato from crying, falls victim to this way of thinking. And yet, it’s Suna—again Suna—who calls out to Takeo and gives him the motivation he needs. That’s something really special and Takeo’s life-affirming roar that he will live to make Yamato happy was incredibly refreshing to see.

The relationship still feels kind of…unbalanced? to me—at least in terms of who is supporting who and who is doing what for who and how, but I’m not quite ready to articulate my thoughts on it much more than that (and I realize that’s a vague mess of semi-nothingness) so we shall see how things go.

Ore Monogatari!!

27 thoughts on “Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 4

  1. Maybe I’m in the minority but I actually found the message of this episode pretty disturbing. Ore Monogatari seems to be hammering home that people, are in the end, (and perhaps women especially) tend to be shallow, as evidenced by Yamato’s friends, the girls on the bus and the woman with the baby. Especially the scene with the woman and the stroller…I kind of wanted to smack that woman for being so shallow as to not even thank Takeo properly for helping her. It’s a scene that I think is meant to be funny but it really left a bad aftertaste.

    Suna and Takeo both seem to be suffering from low self-esteem, with Suna’s insinuation that he may not be particularly nice and with Takeo’s suicidal act of heroism. The cute is strong in this episode but there are some darker undercurrents running underneath.

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    • Hmm, you’re making a good point there and I definitely do agree that there is a veneer of superficiality that covers the show. As far as that goes thematically, though, I think we’re still in the early stages of the set-up, so I’m not judging on that quite yet.

      And indeed, there is definitely some tragedy to be found here. Which, for how the manga was basically billed to be the “cutest thing on earth,” is interesting—especially since no one really mentioned that ever before.

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  2. My perception of the abundant inserts of melodrama is that, as an atypical shoujo protagonist, Takeo’s (shoujo) story must have as many tropey melodramatic shoujo events as possible. It’s a bit silly, but the show (and narrative) seems to treat them as such. Takeo’s overly dramatic, needlessly self-sacrificial attitude being one of them.

    About Suna, he could be talking about himself… or he could be talking about Takeo’s many, many dude friends. Yamato and he look to be two sides of the same coin, after all! Maybe it’s because I relate to Suna too much, especially with his no lovey-dovey dating policy, but he seems more level-headed and dry than someone with low self-esteem (and therefore more-than-the-usual warped perception of self). Or at least as he has expressed himself so far.

    [Also, hi~! First-time commenter, long(-ish)-time lurker from the days of your wonderful Akatsuki posts! :3]

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    • [hi! hi! ahhh it’s so exciting when lurkers show up for comments! 😀 glad you liked the AnY posts!]

      I do agree that, at least in the wide context of the episode, the melodramatic shows get treated as somewhat silly. I’d still like for there to be fewer of them eheheh ^_^”

      I definitely don’t think Suna has low self-esteem, but I do think he seems like the kind of person who might think he’s a worse person than he is in a kind of resigned way? Like, I don’t see him being down on himself, just kind of realistic/cynical. And, thus, he’s attracted to Takeo as a friend because Takeo projects such an unambiguously positive view of the world. But that’s a lot of speculation/projection on my part. It’d probably be good for me to just wait and see how things play out.

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      • [<3!]

        YMMV on the tropes and melodrama, for sure. It was starting to irritate me (especially the shallow “he’s an animal” girlfriends), but seeing as the melodrama never goes anywhere, and that the trope-y bits (other than the kira-kira love-love couple) are unsupported by the wider narrative — so far! — it’s working and will probably keep working for me.

        …I’m starting to think Suna’s the “widen your horizons” mouthpiece of the show. Waffle in misunderstandings? Communicate clearly and be honest about your feelings, stupid. Sad without a lover? Not me. Self-sacrifice for a friend? I’m happy when you’re happy, and that should be normal. Self-sacrifice for no reason? Get down here, Takeo. We’ll miss you, dammit.

        …I am really glad the shallow girlfriends got the ドキ’s from Takeo by the end of this episode. They can outgrow their shallowness! That’s how it should be, after all.

        Re:cynical Suna, I can see that. When you have as good a guy as Takeo from the cradle as Suna did, how can anyone else compare? Doesn’t help that he’s the most perceptive guy in the show thus far, lol. Wonder if Takeo is his only friend. Gonna be lonely, maybe, if he has no one else to hang with when he needs a break from the Yamato-Takeo cutey-cute show.

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        • Wonder if Takeo is his only friend.

          From what the show’s given us thus far, I don’t think that’s unlikely at all. Which, again, leads us into some very interesting territory.

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        • First time commenter here…
          first of all great writeup.
          I think its ironic you started by talking so much about Suna. He really does get all the love…lol

          Ive got 1 particular friend whos kinda like Takeo. Hes not big but supersmart and helpful. (Lets you copy and whatnot )
          I gotta admit good of a frie nd i am. Hes better. you always feel kinda inferior . I get what suna is feeling when he says what he says.

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          • Another first-timer! Ahh, so exciting! Welcome! 🙂

            I knowww I just can’t help talking about Suna! He doesn’t have a girlfriend, so I’m doing the best I can for him. Personally, I really relate to Suna in that when I’m hanging out with someone who is super energetic, I usually tend to end up being more sensible and reserved myself. It’s funny watching Suna act the same way around Takeo that I act around my hyper friends. ^_^”

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  3. “why do we enjoy PDA like Takeo and Yamato in media when such antics in real life are more like to cause exasperations (“Get a room!”)”

    Interesting question. I believe this is due to the fact that we’re third-party observer completely detached from the situation itself, only receiving selective information by the writer (with the purpose of showing how awesome Takeo+Yamato are and how they deserve each other, of which they clearly did a great job ). It’s a lot different IRL when you actually have to see your friends flaunting their relationship/listen to them obsess over each other, and worse if there’s a degree of creepiness/unhealthiness/self-destructiveness in it.

    The easiest and most obvious solution to the Suna situation is to get him a girl, and while I’d prefer a different path, I think I wouldn’t mind as long as it is executed well and believably knowing how Suna’s personality is.

    (….or maybe he eventually embarks on a karuta-playing career instead).

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    • +10 points for the Chihayafuru reference, although I don’t want Suna to suffer? So maybe he shouldn’t…

      So, you’re saying that, for this fictional encounter, we’ve essentially been prompted with all the proper information to make us like their PDA—as opposed to real life situations where we take in a lot of other information (or maybe just feel more personally threatened by it?). Hmm, that’s interesting…

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  4. I don’t know, I sort of got the impression that this episode was being purposefully silly and tongue-in-cheek. I have a fairly low tolerance for melodrama, but I’m hesitant to call it that if I think the show is using it solely to poke a bit of good-natured fun at itself. Too much of even that and the overall story will undoubtedly suffer, but assuming it’s only here and there, I don’t think it does the show any harm.

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    • Yeah, I’m definitely not of the opinion that the show’s been harmed by the life-threatening events—as I said, the results of those situations have been good. It still seems a bit contrived to me, but that’s fine as it’s being used to give us good stuff.

      I didn’t really get much silliness out of the fire scene, though. Everything about the way it was shown seemed to imply seriousness to me (the music was a big part of it, as were the multiple shots of Takeo getting crushed under the rubble, and his reflections about actually dying(!!!)). It just didn’t seem comedic at all to me. :/ All of the characters seemed to be pretty serious and the show did, too.

      To be entirely honest, I’m not sure where the tongue-in-cheek interpretation is coming from, but I’d be happy to hear (if you care to elaborate). 🙂

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      • I suppose I just thought the whole fire scene was so dramatic and so contrived (I mean, really – an insanely huge fire, complete with explosions, happening in the place where Takeo and everyone just happened to be meeting) that I simply assumed the creators were intentionally not taking themselves too seriously. All those shots of Takeo looking like some 80s shounen hero, bulging muscles and most of his shirt (and trousers) burnt away, while somehow remaining unscathed enough to just walk on home, seemed fairly ridiculous too.

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  5. I said in your week 4 highlights that they rushed the misunderstandings between Takeo and Yamoto so I felt the same way with the outcome of this rushed!

    However I like the direction the relationship is going!

    Suna / Takeo are still close! because Yamoto goes to an All-Girls school!Takeo is as popular withe guys as Yanoto is with her friends!I do understand Suna wanting to let them find their own way!

    Yamoto’s friends did not think too highly of Takeo but proved himself in the end! I mean I like the girls accepted him in fact I sense trouble ahead IMO!

    But the quick acceptance after the rescue is not unexpected but was a tidy wrap !I wanted it last for a couple of episodes!

    But maybe we are all nitpicking because it’s something we aren’t used to!

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    • Oh man, that moment when Suna laughs at Takeo and all the girls just blushed like crazy.

      I think I might have done that, too. ^_^”

      I think I’m glad the girls being mean about Takeo didn’t last beyond this episode. It really was kind of a petty thing & I guess I’d rather not see petty stuff like that really take front stage for a long time. Save it for the real important stuff!

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      • For conflict at this point, we’re pretty much left with Petty high school stuff, and heroic rescues, unless the robot invasion is in the offing somewhere 😉

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  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this episode. My husband and I watch together and we were both awwwing and squeeeing the whole time.

    I think the message of this episode was reiterating the analogy of the Blue and Red Ogre and then adding an extra layer. In the scene with the woman with the baby, as a mother it made me cringe a little because Takeo just comes up without saying anything, grabs the stroller and goes off with it. That’s really frightening for a mother. It illustrates the point that Takeo always has the best of intentions, but often goes about things in the wrong way, the way that gives the worst impression to people who don’t know him. (Such as when he was standing outside the grade school.) Suna is the one in these situations that does the communicating and smoothing things over for him because Suna is the one who really sees Takeo for who he is.

    But this is taken a step farther when Yamato shows up and exclaims about how cool and strong Takeo is. For the first time in his life, there’s a girl who is also able to see past Takeo’s tough, intimidating demeanor and see him for the good guy that his is. It wasn’t about painting other people as shallow. The mother (and the cop at the grade school) weren’t in the wrong. They responded (mostly) naturally. It’s about showing how Yamato is on the same wavelength as Takeo, how she gets him. The whole scene following where they rhapsodize about the greatness of spring hammers this home. The two are made for each other and it’s just the cutest thing ever.

    I wouldn’t call the fire melodrama. I found it to be dramatically satisfying in particular because it was set up before it happened when they noticed that the emergency exit was blocked and locked. You knew something bad was going to happen. And I honestly love seeing Takeo be the hero. It’s part of his personality. He figures that if he’s going to be this big, powerful guy, he ought to use that power to help people and he’s right. Yamato obviously loves it to, it’s what made her fall for him. And I loved that when Takeo was in trouble, Yamato’s instinct was to do the same thing Takeo did, rush into the flames. It’s Suna that has to be the clear headed one for both of them. It’s a great dynamic. I don’t feel that there’s any imbalance myself. I’m loving their relationship.

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    • ” In the scene with the woman with the baby, as a mother it made me cringe a little because Takeo just comes up without saying anything, grabs the stroller and goes off with it. That’s really frightening for a mother.”

      And remember, after the fact, the mother was thanking Suna, not Takeo. I think the strength of this show is not the events that transpire, but how we see these characters react to, and deal with them 🙂

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    • This is exactly how I felt about this latest episode! I loved it, I teared up twice and then cried at the end. I never get so emotional over shows–a little bit here and there, but NOT TWO EPISODES IN A ROW. XD

      ~Jamie

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    • Yay, people not just agreeing with me! 😀 Seriously, I like hearing opposing opinions on here, especially since you guys are so nice about it! ^_^

      I think Takeo’s biggest problem is that he’s impulsive. It’s a virtue in some situations (like with the fire), but in regards to stuff with the baby he doesn’t think before he act nor does he consider how his actions might appear to others. Cause he’s only a freshman in high school! It’s expecting a lot of him to have that much awareness of himself, especially when he’s so used to people treating him in a certain way. It’s nice that Suna’s there to clean up the mess for him, but it’s nice to see someone like Yamato not categorically misunderstand him/be able to see through his impulsiveness.

      As far as the relationship balance goes, as I said, I’m not really sure what’s giving me that feeling—hopefully it goes away!

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  7. I appreciate the message in the episode that don’t ever judge a book by its cover. But its pretty mean of the girls to do that.. And is it just me or is Yamato kinda dense too? Still don’t get why the girls didn’t like Takeo though. Girls love tall, muscular guys in my country =\

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    • For sure! Takeo is obviously much more than his outward appearance—his heart and coolness are as big as his stature—but people are quick t o judge.

      I think both Yamato and Takeo are, if not dense, at least a little bit naive and certainly more than a little inexperienced. I dunno if I’d really say either of them are dense, although you saw the title of the next episode just like I did…

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  8. “In all honesty, another life-threatening disaster was not the direction I wanted to see the narrative of this show go again, but we got it anyways.”

    I was wondering early on if the “Will they or won’t they” question is answered right out of the gate what perils our heroes will have to endure.

    Falling girders and fires, apparently. Now you know why they take 23 episodes to get to that point most of the time. 🙂

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  9. Interesting bit about that non-ore Monogatari relationship, there’s a “Hitagi Rendezvous” arc coming up in Owari that maybe possibly hope-to-god will focus on it, which is great because Katanagatari demonstrated that Isin can write really great couples when he feels like it.

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  10. Man, what kind of an OSHA nightmare of a city do these kids live in? Falling beams, open manhole covers, spontaneously combusting restaurants. Never mind melodrama, it’s starting to feel like something out of a video game. Maybe that’s why Takeo didn’t stop to at least say, “Here, let me help you” before he took the woman’s baby…I bet if you stop on a stairway landing in this city for more than 5 seconds, the whole stairway collapses and drops you into a bottomless pit or something.

    That issue aside, I was laughing my head off for most of the episode. Beyond just showing (again) how well-matched Takeo and Yamato are, it really captured the feeling of being in that first blush of love just perfectly, when you’re on top of the world and everything’s springtime and sunshine and you feel totally invincible, like you can do anything, while your friends just kind of watch in veiled amusement from the side and just try to be happy for you (when you’re not trying to hook them up too, of course). OreMono isn’t just telling a story with words here, or even words and pictures, it’s the whole atmosphere of the show working in concert (or should that be “ensemble”?) together, and it’s working so well.

    I’m also glad the petty drama with Yamato’s two friends wasn’t dragged out. If they were still acting like that after he risked his life to save them, it would have reflected very, very badly on them as characters. Having shallow thoughts about someone you don’t really know yet is one thing…being totally ungrateful [insert plural epithet of choice] would’ve been something else entirely. I do hope we see more of them in the future. I’m also in agreement with Sarah on the mother’s reaction, which was absolutely 100% understandable. I hope that impulsiveness doesn’t get Takeo into serious trouble someday.

    And I don’t feel like their relationship is unbalanced, unless you’re looking at it from a different angle than I am. I suppose everything Takeo’s done for Yamato is pretty obvious, so no need to rehash that, plus I have to imagine that she must feel incredibly safe and secure with him, knowing she has a boyfriend who can be so strong and yet so gentle at the same time. She’s been just as good for him in her own way, though – even if her reciprocation often takes more feminine forms like baking him sweets, she’s still doing what she can to make him feel loved and appreciated, and she’s also shown quite a bit of strength and courage in her own way. She was strong enough to speak up about the pervert’s actions (not always an easy thing for a victim to admit), and strong enough to stand up to her friends about how they were behaving in this episode (again, not easy to do), and both times it was for Takeo’s sake that she did it. Plus doing her part to help get Takeo out from under the beam in episode 2, and having to be restrained from diving into the fire after him in this episode. “Silk hiding steel” is the term that comes to mind with Yamato. She may be cute and sweet and kind, but she’s far from a pushover. There’s a lot of will and determination under that pretty little smile. That’s part of why her character holds her own so well with Takeo and isn’t overwhelmed by his larger-than-life personality (as a blander character would have been). Suna seems to have that kind of quiet inner strength too.

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    • My that’s what it is! Unlike Yamato, I’ve found myself somewhat overwhelmed by Takeo’s huge presence (not meant to be a joke about his physical size). This actually happens to me frequently in real life, too, where people who are really “big” in terms of their personality kind of make it hard for me to see much else around me.

      Because you’re right: in her own way, Yamato has been a very strong character throughout—and heck, I’ve even written about that! That could maybe double back around to why I’m not a huge fan of these life-threatening dramatic situations. To me, they feel like a distraction from actually getting to see this relationship work on its own terms. It’s hard to focus on great scenes like Yamato and Takeo out on the street together after the run in with her friends when very loud sequences like the fire demand your attention. That’s where the unbalance comes from (hey, I’ve finally worked it out!).

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