Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
This episode strongly focuses on Noriko and Mugi’s date and while she has only been seen as a brat and an annoyance thus far, in this episode you’ll genuinely connect with her. Especially if you ever fell in love with one of your friends.
Topic 1: An Ornament That Can’t Be Touched (Hanabi)
Things aren’t going well for Hanabi’s revenge plot. She just doesn’t have what it takes to be a younger and better version of Akane. Takuya slips through her fingers since she refuses to have sex with him and she comes to realize she just wants to be adored. She wants more than her fill of feeling loved and admired and without having to give any in return.
Hanabi to me is complicated. I see her fully as the relationship type and you could see how with Mugi that makes sense. She was falling in love with him despite him being her 2nd choice. Making the whole competition to take everything away from Akane weird at this point. Yet, I feel the need to remind myself that just because these teens are more mature than the majority we see in anime, they still are teenagers. Hanabi was hurt by Akane and so she comes up with a childish way of getting back at Akane – by trying to take her toys. Something she is incapable of for while it seems Hanabi is willing to compromise herself, it is only to a certain point. She may flirt and entertain conversation, but she isn’t capable of just having sex with anyone.
Topic 2: What’s The Point of Being Special? (Noriko and Mugi)
Noriko gets her dream date with Mugi. She gets dressed up, they go to a movie she wants to see, they eat together, and they even hold hands and kiss. They also almost have sex but then Mugi stops. Leading to Noriko feeling that, while she is special, she is like an ornament. One who maybe cute to look at but what she wants is to be touched. Not just to be picked up, polished, and put back but caressed lovingly and sexually. Yet, it seems that while something in Mugi perhaps could go there with her, he knows he can’t just have sex with Noriko. He either has to be completely hers or just be her friend. There is a line that can’t be crossed.
Though it should be noted, Noriko, even acknowledging that Mugi has a girlfriend, even with her knowing that if she went there with Mugi it would ruin the purity of her desired future with him, one thing was clear: She was in it for whatever memories she could get. She knew these series of moments were finite and she has lived in her fantasy long enough. Then and there was the time to make those fantasies into reality.
You know what I love about Mugi? He is just a good guy. When Mugi was with Hanabi, he made sure Hanabi felt secure in their relationship by not taking Noriko seriously and picking on her. Not enough to seriously hurt her, but enough to try to get her to realize that he was with Hanabi. Then when it came to this date, while he wasn’t the most enthusiastic, he tried to fulfill her fantasy. Heck, with that kiss, it seemed he tried to will himself into feeling something for her. He attempted to reciprocate that genuine love that she has expressed since they were kids. He tried but it seemed he just couldn’t take their friendship across that threshold. Which I loved that he recognized before they had sex.
On top of that, he asked for consent before touching her sexually! Not to forget, he reassured her about the insecurities she had about her body and honestly, while Noriko has barely been on this show, I was honestly #TeamNoriko for a hot minute. For as bratty as she seemed, as pushy as she comes off, and despite her being bougie, in that moment she was human. Her vulnerability felt authentic and relatable. Especially her insecurities with being naked in front of someone she has dreamed of being with.
Topic 3: Till The End of Summer (Mugi and Hanabi)
Despite Hanabi doing what she did and Mugi doing what he did, they come back together and it seems once more there is talk about them trying to be in a real relationship. However, first, they need to tell their crushes how they feel.
With Mugi knowing how Akane is and what her game is, I am so confused as to why he has a crush on her again? I don’t think she has even been active in his life at this point. She doesn’t really talk to him at school and doesn’t even make an effort to play with his emotions. Then with Hanabi, as much as I like her and Mugi together, I wonder why she keeps going back to Mugi and talking about a real relationship? For while it seems that is what she wants, she keeps straying from that to the point you have to wonder if she knows what she truly wants.
Though, I guess you could say the same of Mugi. He is someone who seems to want a serious relationship but fears allowing it to really become that. Especially in terms of making it go from just hanging out and maybe laying on each other to becoming sexual. Which I want to assume is because he realizes that there is a point of no return. Based on how Mei is someone who I think… I don’t want to say she haunts him, but I definitely feel like he knows he’ll never forget her because she was his first. So he takes that idea and weight of being Noriko’s first and Hanabi’s seriously. To the point, he questions if he wants to impose the same lingering feelings he has on another.