I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little unsure about my ability to blog Ore Monogatari!! through the end of its runtime. As much as I like it, I can’t really deny that there’s a gap between substance and depth in this show that was highlighted in this episode—plenty of teases at going deeper, but no actual commitment. Which isn’t, by any means, a terrible thing for a show like this, it’s just not all that conducive to weekly blogging.
I guess that’s kind of an ominous way to being a post about an arc climax episode, huh? I definitely don’t mean to be down on Ore Monogatari!! this week—as far as episodes go, this was a strong one. But the general lack of thoughts I seem to have regarding it is…well, perhaps it’s just a signifier of what kind of show Ore Monogatari!! really is. But maybe more on that later—let’s talk this episode first.
As far as structure of the episode goes, this was kind of an interesting (if logical) way to go about balancing the gravity of Suna’s father’s surgery with with absolute fluff that was Yamato and Takeo’s birthday date. Suna moments bookended the episode, framing Yamato’s birthday as a sort of euphoric distraction from a more serious reality. In a way, that’s reflective of the general experience of watching this show. It’s adorable and happy and cute and real, but it’s overwhelmingly one-sided in its portrayal of the good things in life. I know I’ve talked about the ways I think the show idealizes Takeo and, certainly, Ore Monogatari!! has hinted at some darker undertones (Takeo’s warped self-perceptions, the ways he unconsciously hurts Yamato, the struggle to communicate); however, the status quo here is cute cute cute. And, oh man, when Ore Monogatari!! goes for the cute, it’s really cute!
The hints at more serious material, though, were nothing if not intriguing. Well, the one actual hint and the one significant pattern I noticed. The actual hint we got came from the one drop of Yamato’s guard (facade???) when Takeo makes the perhaps overconfident, perhaps naive (banking on the second option) comment that Suna thought Yamato would have fun no matter where she and Takeo went. “I’m not that easygoing,” she says, looking at the ground and her moe eyes suddenly drawn quite seriously, as the shot frames her in diegetic shadows. Is this it? I thought, suddenly thrilled. Is this the moment where Takeo’s constant praise of SUNA’S work planning the day suddenly comes back to bite him—as he risks making it sound like he actually didn’t think of any of this himself? Of course, it wasn’t because Yamato retreats back to her normal cutesy self, but it was a fascinating peek nonetheless.
The pattern I noticed, then, was how often Takeo speaks out loud of everything except his expressions of his love for Yamato. We the audience are constantly hearing his exclamations of “I love her!” and “I’m glad you were born!” but Yamato doesn’t. At the very, very least, it’s an incredibly clever statement on the differences in the ways guys and girls typically express themselves; at the most, it’s the beginning of a potentially huge fissure in their relationship—but it’s not there yet. Which, of course, goes back to the whole communication problem thing Ore Monogatari!! has danced around for a while now, but I’m not even sure that Ore Monogatari!! is aware of this pattern outside of the fact that it is expertly and efficiently calculated to generate maximum aww’s from me (which, of course, it does).
But I can only survive so long on teases and patterns—and, frankly, I think I find them more frustrating than exciting. To date, Ore Monogatari!! has delivered the goods on few of these subtle hints at flaws in the relationship. While I’m certainly not campaigning for an ugly break-up or anything like that (although Takeo leaving Yamato for Suna could be convincing…), but I want some payoff. The raw material is there. It’s all over the place—and yes, I knooowww Takeo and Yamato are still very much in the honeymoon period of their relationship—so why not do something with it? Maybe part of the problem is in the execution. Moments like Yamato’s “I’m not that easygoing” feel immediate to me. They feel like imminent crises, but they inevitably get sidelined for the cute status quo. Which, I guess, I don’t really like? These cues don’t read like foreshadowing to me; they read like transitions into more serious moments.
Long term, that means I can only blog about Takeo and Yamato being ridiculously cute at each other for so long before I run out of things to say. I’m not interested in just summarizing the episodes—I want to analyze and interpret, and a lot of times I feel like I’m stretching far more than I should have to in order to find an angle. Which I guess is a little ridiculous, especially considering that these last two episodes have both definitely possessed the substance and depth about which I wrote at the beginning of the post. Anyways!
Ultimately, friendship ruled today as Takeo’s hand to Suna’s back said more about their friendship than any words could. In this situation, Takeo’s penchant for action over words (remember what I was saying about how Takeo thinks his “I love yous”?) actually makes him the best person ever to support Suna. It was actually kind of incredible to see Takeo, after his struggle to understand Suna’s needs last week, suddenly morph into a really excellent caregiver in the midst of his friend’s pain and guilt. Takeo said no more than he had to and his mere presence (along with a supportive hand) was really what counted. It was cool.
What was even cooler was seeing Yamato (whether for Suna, or for Takeo via Suna) show up in the hospital for her own show of support for Suna. Of course, hidden behind there is the element of this day being Yamato’s birthday. And, somehow, she’s wound up making paper cranes for her boyfriend’s best friend. Rough breaks for Yamato, but she seems pretty darn good at rolling with the punches—and, again, I find myself wondering when the damn will burst (or if it ever will). And when she says this was her best birthday ever, I’m frankly not sure I believe her.
Maybe the problem’s with me…I don’t know. Am I simultaneously overthinking and underselling Ore Monogatari!!, guys? It’s been 9 weeks and I feel like I still don’t have a grasp of what kind of show Ore Monogatari!! is or how I should think about it. Save me!