Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 5

So, I’ve kind of felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels with these posts for the last couple weeks, but no longer! Ore Monogatari!! is still super cute, but this episode’s escapade into the river of character secrets and insecurities has finally given me a reason to dive deep beyond the adorableness and really pull out some brainchildren to talk about…too much?

Ore Monogatari!!

Since I made a big fuss about the fire last week, I’m sure some of you are interested in what I thought of the drowning child scene from this week’s episode. While I’m still of the opinion that it’s a little ridiculous to have a major life-threatening crisis arise in every episode, I found this week’s situation much more palatable due to the comparative weight given to the rest of the show’s events. I was actually thinking a little more about the fire scene since the last post; here’s what I came up with:

The difference with this week’s danger was that it was contained to a much smaller role in the episode and even served as a segue into another part of the episode: Takeo and Yamato’s date (with Suna tagging along again). More importantly, the river scene wasn’t the highlight of the episode the way the fire sequence was—with Takeo in very real danger of dying and his glorious, heroic, fantastic exit from the window, it was hard to think about much else in the episode. However, the ending of the river scene is truncated by Takeo’s desire to go see Yamato and the abbreviation of the interaction diminishes the relative importance of the scene, allowing it to become simply one piece of a chain of events, rather than a self-contained, important moment. This, happily, allows room for the true focus of the episode to take over in a way what ought to have been the focus last week couldn’t.

Ore Monogatari!!

This episode of Ore Monogatari!! was all about first steps in a relationship and, more importantly and more interestingly, the differences in people’s individual ideas about how those steps should be taken. This is actually really cleverly set up by the episode in the first few minutes as Takeo’s classmates review the video of him and Yamato on the train. “I’d have gone on for the first kiss right then and there,” one of them exclaims, answered by another, “Takeo would never do that. Never.” Of course, at this point we have no idea what Yamato thinks, but from what we know of Takeo already it’s easy to trust his classmates’ opinion of him. It’s pretty easy to abstract their musings into, “Takeo would never take advantage of a girl,” which is, again, easy to believe given what we know of him right now (something he later confirms).

The second piece of the set-up comes during the post-swim date when Takeo grabs a bug off the side of Yamato’s face. Now, no one’s ever gone in for a kiss on me, but I’d guess if they were it would look something like how Takeo closed in on Yamato. Even his line—”Don’t move”—breathes of archetypal shoujo kissing moments, but of course Takeo is anything but a typical shoujo male lead. For Yamato, though…we don’t really know about her, but her reaction seems to indicate that she’d at least be interested in a kiss. She doesn’t pull away, she doesn’t yell or protest. She just listens, and then thanks him when he pulls away. You really have to feel a little bit bad for the girl! Her heart must have been beating like crazy, only for it to be yet another of Takeo’s selfless actions. That’s not to say Takeo’s selflessness is bad, but he certainly is a bit blinded by it sometimes…and, more significantly, by his attitudes about how he’s should treat Yamato.

The purity complex (some might say perversion) in the otaku fandom has been widely discussed elsewhere, but there’s most certainly an element of that reflected in the way Takeo perceives Yamato. To be blunt—he has no idea if she’s a pure-hearted as he thinks she is. He’s put her up on a pedestal (one she’s clearly uncomfortable with) where she’s a pure ideal. The irony that Takeo is obviously far more innocent and far more naive than she is further emphasizes the gap between his beliefs about Yamato and the enigma that she actually is. Furthermore, there’s an uncomfortable sort of infantilizing effect generated by the way Takeo treats Yamato with kid gloves constantly. His line, “Until you’re all grown up, I won’t touch a single hair on your head,” both radically misunderstands Yamato’s intentions (if you ask me, she’s clearly aiming for a kiss) and pins her into a specific conception of who she is without really knowing any better..

This all clearly is having an effect on Yamato, and not in a good way. Firstly, Takeo’s unrealistic ideals force Yamato (who, no matter what Suna’s sister may suspect, clearly does love Takeo) into a position where she feels obligated to not disappoint those perceptions—something that causes the guilt that Ai sees on Yamato’s face. I’m not really interested in hazarding a guess as to what Yamato’s secret might be. Knowing Ore Monogatari!!, it might be something as innocuous as her wanting a kiss and now feeling impure over wanting it thanks to Takeo’s rhetoric. Or maybe she’s uncomfortable with the way Takeo continues to risk his life for others. Or it could be something much more serious, although Ai’s suspicions that Yamato would be two-timing Takeo seem patently ridiculous to me. Whatever it is, unless we’ve been feed a huge red herring (in which case I’d be pretty unhappy with the show), there’s definitely something going on in her head.

Ore Monogatari!!

I’d like to note here the interesting implications of Ai talking to Suna about Yamato’s secret. I don’t really trust Ai all that much thanks to her clear biases and I’m wary of allowing my perceptions of what might be going on to be influenced too much by her, but the fact that she sees something the show apparently confirms that Suna didn’t is interesting. To this point, Suna’s been the most perceptive member of the cast, but in a single episode with his sister he’s apparently missed on two counts: 1)  his sister’s feelings for Takeo(?), and 2) Yamato’s secret(?). Who do we trust her? Suna’s judgement, or Ai’s? I don’t necessarily believe that his conclusion that Ai has feelings for Takeo is correct and Yamato’s secret might turn out to be nothing at all. But by introducing Ai into the equation, everything is thrown into far more doubt than it would have been had we merely been proceeding with our prior cast.

So, yeah. I’m really happy with where Ore Monogatari!! is going. There’s a ton of good stuff going on here about how you be in a relationship with another person, how you treat them, how much agency and trust you grant them, and what you assume about them. I’d love nothing more than to see Ore Monogatari!! blast away at a lot of the bad ideas Takeo has, in a gentle and constructive way. If it can knock this resolution out of the park, I’ll have huge expectations for the rest of the series—in a very good way.

Ore Monogatari!!

Takeo, this should mean “as she ought to be treated,” not “how I think she needs to be treated.”

Oh, yeah—and cheers to Takeo for potentially being the first ever male anime protagonist to realize that when a girl says, “It’s nothing,” it means the opposite. It took you a while, but you got there, buddy!

9 thoughts on “Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 5

  1. suppresses spoilers from manga like a good little boy

    That is my hardest moment reading your Ore pieces is knowing what will happen (assuming it stays on with an about 98% accurate adaptation).

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  2. I agree with you on your take and actually glad something that seem so perfect has hit a bump in the road and I like it! Again Takeo don’t gets whats going on and even admit he is dense ! I had to laugh about the teen mags! Suna is tired of being a tag along may account for his lack of perception about Yamato.

    This where I disagree about Ai she has known Takeo for a long time too ! So it may be more of a friend ‘s thoughts than sabotage! And a woman could sense more what’s going on!

    To be honest Yamato wanted to tell Takeo but backed off when the subject changed! She is anxious too at the end holding her pillow!

    Poor Takeo Suna got the thanks for saving the kid instead of Takeo but he just shrugs it off!

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    • I mean, whatever the answer is, the fact that Yamato is worried about something remains. As Takeo says, it’s not really like he’s all that worried about what it is—he’s more worried that it’s causing Yamato anxiety.

      I don’t necessarily think Ai’s trying to sabotage Takeo’s relationship with Yamato (she doesn’t really seem like that kind of person), but her judgement could be clouded by her own emotions.

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  3. A very interesting episode, a lot of pieces put on the board.

    I must say, the introduction of Ai threw me for a bit of a loop though as a second love interest was entirely unexpected. It’s been done many times before, the evil vamp tries to steal the main lead for reasons, but (in my admittedly limited experience) this is a bit different and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an unrequited love – who must now deal with the fact that a door is slamming in their face. Not to mention Ai doesn’t seem to be the vamp type, though they overplayed it a bit I think she genuinely had feelings for Takeo, though she may not have fully worked out what those feelings were.

    The love interest (Yamato) having a Dark Secret (or maybe coming down with Cold Feet) also very tropish. But… as I said a couple of weeks back, one of things I’m enjoying the most is the way Ore riffs on tropes and confounds expectations. So, I find it hard to speculate.

    Did you catch how the mother was, once again, thanking Suna rather than Takeo?

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    • Indeed, speculation is difficult! This is kind of post-relationship formation drama is relatively uncharted, so there’s not much of a guide in terms of details, even if there are trope-like beats happening.

      And yeah, haha, don’t worry! I noticed that the mother thanked Suna again! It just didn’t fit into what I wanted to talk about this episode, so I didn’t mention it. Two weeks in a row is a pattern, though—maybe we’re slowly building to another conflict derived from the perpetual misunderstanding of Takeo.

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  4. Seeing the flow, the “colour”, and the hanging hints from this episode, I have a 70% confidence that Yamato’s problem isn’t two timing or any other of Ai’s assumptions. Instead, Yamato problem is that she actually want to go “further” in her relationship with Takeo. She wants Takeo to hug her, to touch her, even kiss her. That blush when Takeo touched her, it’s not a blush of being embarrassed, but is being happy. However, Takeo, in all his naivety and innocence, think that Yamato is not ready to go further, thus he said he’ll “wait until she’s all grown up”. Yamato, realizing this, and realizing that Takeo thinks of her as an “innocent, pure-hearted girl” and how he likes it, thinks that her intention to go “further” will somehow “betray” Takeo’s perspective towards her, making her feels insecure.

    It’s really about time we are diving into the drama part, and it isn’t cheesy, hell yeah. At this point, I’m still struggling to resist to read the manga and stay on the anime; though, something tells me that the time will come when my will breaks and I’ll eventually read the manga :/

    (P.s. Holy watermelon, just several hours earlier I was discussing about multidimensional universe theory, string theory, plasma-powered electricity, and quantum description of gravity. Now, I’m discussing about a romance insecurity in a shojo anime. Just… wow to myself)

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    • Heh, you basically articulated what I was trying to say, except with much more clarity. I also think Yamato wants to go “further” in their relationship, but Takeo’s constant talk about her being “pure” and “pure-hearted,” along with the lack of physical contact probably has pushed her into a place where she feels guilty for wanting that. In other words, he’s not protecting her; he’s imprisoning her in a cage of his own expectations. It’s really kind of a sad situation and I feel a lot for Yamato, despite the fact that she’s got a really good guy as her boyfriend.

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