Nazo no Kanojo’s last several episodes were weak in their purely ridiculous demeanor – although one would be a blatant liar to say the same of this latest incredible spectacle, much in thanks to the protagonist.
While he’s no more than an adolescent, a typical hesitant highschooler male who seemingly isn’t much different than any other anime character of his kind, Nazo no Kanojo’s protagonist is in fact far superior to the lot of them – and not only does he prove this himself within this episode, he manages to bring the series back to a high point which even if one despises the more idiotic aspects, such as those regarding spittle, this fellow is simply too good not to respect.
He may seem to lack confidence most of the time – yet Nazo no Kanojo’s leading male is the very definition of “smooth operator” and this is as he’s courageous in his actions. Honestly, most of what he does appears silly – he looks like an idiot with nearly all he tries. For instance, in this episode, he attempts to take Urabe’s picture, requesting she smile for him – yet she declines, and afterward, he’s left looking rather pitiable.
Yet consider the specifics, our protagonist is a highschooler who never before had a girlfriend – now he has Urabe, and he takes the risk of embarrassing himself for sake of achieving his goals. He’s of course not perfect, and one will often see his shakiness, yet he still strives in spite of this – and he overcomes. Surprising as it may be, this nervous adolescent is actually quite a role model indeed.
This episode introduces the subject of first names, something which unlike certain other parts of the world, are treated more sensitively in Japan as per a respect hierarchy. Our lead, Tsubaki-kun, ends up meeting the girlfriend of his buddy within the city – and he picks up the topic from her. Later, the girl further goes on to acquaint Tsubaki’s “mysterious girlfriend” with the matter of first names as well – and a foundation for part of this chapter’s tale is laid out.
It becomes clear that Urabe would indeed very much enjoy a “first name basis” – and the series even goes so far as to show she has a mild tsundere side. At this point, the anime is keeping us more engaged than usual – however, the best has yet to come. This installment is essentially divided into two halves – the first of which regards first names, and that manages to be successfully settled with a smile. Indeed, our protagonist manages to call his girlfriend by her first name – yet deems he’s not yet ready for such to be standard just yet.
Subsequently, the episode transitions to a separate focus – following a dream of Urabe smiling as Tsubaki takes a photo of her, to which afterward, he then makes his aforementioned failed attempt at getting Urabe to smile for his camera.
Skipping forward just a bit, Tsubaki later stands in wait on a bridge for Urabe – and as he idles, a girl approaches him, yet not his girlfriend. Making for an unexpected twist, the female whom he says to have formerly, yet obviously still does, have a crush on comes up to him – seemingly recognizing him and hoping for a chance to reminisce on whatever one could possibly remember from middle school.
Our protagonist’s true exhibit of class comes here – the girl asks him if he’d like to, right now, join her for coffee. A male highschooler protagonist is confronted by an imouto, ex-lover, stalker, childhood friend, tsundere character, or whatever other female trope character there can be – it’s a scene seen so many times in anime, and every single time, the foolish incompetent male would sully his honor and go with the girl despite already having a girlfriend or one in the works.
Tsubaki however stands his position – he’s visibly quivering in uncertainty somewhat, and noticeably making a quick contemplation as to what he should reply, yet he ultimately tells the girl just as he should, letting her know that while he’d love to join her, he’s waiting for someone. It wasn’t foreseen whatsoever, and when a girl who wasn’t Urabe confronted him, it was believed to surely end for the worse – yet this fellow proves himself competent to the point of being historically recognized.
If this were a live play, this would be the part where the audience would erupt into a slow clap whilst some guy off to the side starts yelling “He did it! He did it!” – our protagonist rightfully rejected a girl, knowing that he already has a female companion he’s involved with romantically. With this act of common sense alone, the series effortlessly scales the heights of animation – instantly becoming better than over half of Japan’s creations of this type in their entirety.
And showing that faithful mental proficiency has its rewards, our main man manages to score an Urabe photo which he’s satisfied with. She was watching as he spoke with the girl – and thanks to his savvy yet simple choice of course, all ended as perfect as can be.
Noting one other aspect which is akin to icing on sponge-like desserts known as “cake”, once our protagonist procures a photo of Urabe, one can truly see the content in his visage – his face speaks a ton of emotions, and indeed, he looks as if he could die happy then and there. The expression of his mood is quite potent here – and best of all, the episode ends without any mention of “my girlfriend is mysterious”.
Hardly does this ever happen, however Nazo no Kanojo has managed to make a recovery – specifically as result of powerful development on the character front. Hopefully, the rest of the series sustains a similar nature as this episode – strong portrayal, less emphasis on spit.