Is it bad form to declare the world inside Haruka’s head my waifu?
I have to admit I’m finding myself loving the “story” halves of Sakura Trick far more than the slice of life halves. But really, that’s to be expected from my style. I’ve noticed a pattern in the community too: People who loved the first couple episodes humor didn’t really have as much love for this week, and the reverse is also true. So, no surprise, I found this week to be light on laughs. But it wasn’t devoid of them, so it didn’t detract from my engagement with the universe being built here.
And how, this week. I think that’s to be expected. There was a lot of subtlety in the first “episode” that showed us some interesting insights about the characters, as well as curious pieces of intel.
Now, friend blog Shirogane no Suiren may be nice, and inclined to give Human nature the benefit of the doubt.
But, you’ll have observed by now, I am no such person, and no such inhibitions against being an asshole. So I will simply say seriously here what I jovially said there.
People who STILL want to say “there is no relationship”, “the characters are like dolls being banged together for male enjoyment”, or any variation on such that Sakura Trick fails to have serious romance in it…you might be embodying a certain otaku stereotype regarding your lack of experience seeing an actual relationship unfold. There may still be gentleman callers who think if you kiss on the second date it’s doomed to go nowhere…and I am happy if your life is fulfilling that way. I really am. But in no experience of mine has a romantic relationship gone so long without a little bit of physicality. And yes, lots of them do put the kiss before the horse…date. So no, I’m not going to let anyone get away with this Victorian garbage. This is how people fall in love in the real world and failure to see that simply means you haven’t seen them unfold. It doesn’t mean it is fantasy.
Maybe myself and my friends fulfill too many lesbian stereotypes, after all, that stereotype exists for a reason. But…this is Sakura Trick. Seriously. It’s going mighty slow from the looks of things.
And yet relationship stuff is aplenty, and our first dose is at Yuu’s home. Yuu is waking her older sister, Mitsuki, who happens to be student body president. Over breakfast we learn that while Yuu still hasn’t told anyone, she still seems to talk about Haruka incessantly. This was actually a really good moment for us, the viewers. Until now Yuu’s feelings for Haruka have been…questionable. Now, I know the whole -premise- of the series is that they share a kiss to prove the other is special, but, we can see the pretense that serves, even for someone who likes the show like me, you can’t try to tell me that was the ONLY way it could have gone. But this is actual development along those lines. Yuu’s just a little colder with her public attitudes. But at home, Haruka is all she seems to talk about.
Mitsuki also seems to harbor an unnatural curiosity about Haruka. Mostly just that she’s never seen her. It’s a little stretch that in their two years of friendship the pair have never met, but considering how divided public and private lives are in Japan, I’m willing to let it slide for comedic plot purposes.
At school Yuu’s hopes are blasted when she finds the sports festival has been cut down due to budget reasons, since the school is closing in a few years. Yuu being the sports type was looking forward to it. It’s nice that the school’s imminent end is playing a bigger role than kickstarting our first kiss.
Ah, enter Kotone. This episode really said a lot about her. She suggests that Haruka join the committee meeting on the trimmed down “ball game tourney”. There she can lobby for Yuu, who cannot attend due to her remedial classes. Specifically, Yuu wanted a cheer squad. Haruka gets nervous at the prospect of meeting Mitsuki, but Kotone is there for her with a hand on her shoulder.
…Just to shake her and watch Haruka’s endowed chest wiggle. But don’t worry! She hasn’t abandoned Haruka! When she freezes thinking Mitsuki is glaring at her (she is just compensating for the glasses Yuu broke that morning), Kotone is THERE for her very dear friend that she put up to this task. She coaches her through her proposal. “President Mitsuki, please give me your sister!”
I am of the opinion that Kotone is thus far playing a drunken monkey act to hide her intellect. It’s also very clear that while Yuu and Haruka may not exactly be public with their relationship, Kotone isn’t fooled. She knows what’s going on, and she is enjoying every moment of it.
And when Haruka’s proposal is shot down in committee, she’s ready to give up. She says it was all for nothing.
Kotone, for the first time this episode (maybe even the entire series), gets serious. The school is shutting down, and there will never be a full festival again. And it’s only going to get worse as the years wear on. If Haruka is ever going to make this happen, it has to be now. She even shares that her parents were vehemently against her staying at Shizuku’s. But she hammered at them until they conceded.
…Pope Haruka may be getting a run for her title.
This convinces Haruka, and she pleads with Mitsuki in the hall. Her voice is so desperate, I actually got the feeling that Haruka might feel that she’s a bad friend to Yuu. This would actually be consistent with her constant assertions early in the series that Yuu must have hated sharing a kiss and her endless apologizing. It’s like if she can pull off this completely selfless act for Yuu, Haruka might “make up” for some of the time she has been selfish. But that’s just a theory, and nothing stated outright, it’s just the picture we are starting to get about their complicated relationship. After all, if I were in Haruka’s position (…having been in Haruka’s position), and my S.O. was unwilling to be remotely public, I would be terrified of the thought that I was somehow bullying them into it, all evidence to the contrary.
Well, Haruka’s loyalty wins Mitsuki over. She promises to personally bring up the cheer squad with the staff. They may not agree to a full festival, but a “ball tournament” with frills, that may just pass their scrutiny.
Haruka visits Yuu several days later bearing cream puffs. Oh, yes. We see where this is going. I must ready my body…
*straps on the SQUEE goggles*
Haruka takes the only strawberry cream puff (subtle) and tries to goad Yuu into sharing it mouth to mouth. But Yuu isn’t having any of it. Haruka keeps laying on the reasons why she should, a special edition flavor, etc. My favorite is the little hearts that float around her being “thrown” at Yuu.
Well, it works. Sort of. Yuu tackles her, in quite a painful way. But for all her ditziness, Yuu isn’t fooled either. It seems the cheer squad got approved, and Kaede told Yuu who (Haruka) was responsible. It’s a very romantic gesture that Haruka wouldn’t try to take credit for it, or maybe just not to get Yuu’s hopes up and this is the first she heard about it, too?
Either way, Yuu knows Haruka. She knows Haruka is terrified of committees, and never joins them voluntarily. She downright hates them, so the fact she was on the sports committee, campaigning for a cheer squad…well even Yuu can see why she did it.
Cue the most adorable, romantic, sensual, and squee inducing kiss in the series so far. It’s also interesting to see Yuu take “the lead” on this one. It leaves very little room regarding her actual feelings.
But of course, we can’t end there. Mitsuki seems obsessed to see Haruka’s face again now that her glasses are fixed. She brings the girls some snacks…and catches them in the most compromising position imaginable. Well, short of being naked and scissoring. But for TV kissing is like third base. Hardcore stuff.
Only then, will you understand…you were following in Kotone’s footsteps all along!
The second half was much more slice of life there isn’t a lot to talk about here. Our six leads are on pool duty, cleaning it out after the winter it seems. Cue splashing, wet t-shirts, the usual fare. As Shinichi would say, “THE BEACH EPISODE!” Or, what may pass for one.
Kotone and Shizuku lounging on a beach chair inspire Haruka to be more public about their closeness (this may in fact, be the only places where we can say “They’re such good cousins” unironically). More head Haruka gags, more over the top antics.
Yuu gets stuck with warehouse duty. Haruka tries to get her out of it, but ends up being sent there with her.
Of note here, Yuu tries to bait Haruka into a kiss this time. Haruka doesn’t bite though, so this seems to go both ways. But Haruka gets the hint. Begin wild pool shed makeouts!
I can say that while the pool stuff would normally piss me off, the short nature of the half-episodes are making it bearable. In fact, unusually short, clocking in at only eight minutes. They have their jokes, they hit their marks, and they move on.
Kotone is quickly worming her way into my favorite character slot. Pope Haruka was not in action this week, but that’s okay, since this wasn’t really about anyone else but her and Yuu’s relationship. Mitsuki is a new element to keep the series going (with possible Yuri tendencies of her own…) and I’m sure they’ll get a few great laughs out of her playing foil to Haruka’s romantic advances on Yuu. Or perhaps the reverse? *evil pinky*
Another solid win this week, even if I didn’t think it was -as good- as weeks previous.