One of these things is not like the others.
So we arrive at episode four and find ourselves embroiled in the trauma that is swimsuits. We also get a great demonstration of how the grass is always greener wherever you’re not standing, as Takatsuki is jealous of Momoko’s figure, while Momoko is jealous of hers (and Sarashina’s).
Oh, I remember those days of swimsuit trauma! Remember how I said I hated my boobs when they first started surfacing? The first time I wore a bikini was when I was seventeen years old. To that point, it was just racing swim suits allll the way. Considering how much time I spent hanging around in swim suits and track apparel (I was on the swim and track teams once upon a time), its kind of surprising that it took me that long to get over it all. I had a complete comfort with wandering around pantsless (yeah, I was the one at swim meets chilling out in my swim suit, a t-shirt, and nothing else), but, holy fuck, boobs? FUCK.
I continue to adore Sarashina, because how can one not admire a girl of her age who just does whatever the hell she wants? There aren’t many twelve year olds out there who have the confidence to go out and just be themselves. As a teacher notes later in the episode, its an awkward age. Sarashina also does a very good job of projecting her confidence; no one ever bothers her about being ‘weird’ because she’s too outgoing for anyone to even think of doing so. Well, you know, with the exception of Chiba, but she just sticks to one-liners when directly confronted about Sarashina.
Speaking of which, its interesting how Sarashina herself likes Chiba enough that she doesn’t care that Chiba hates her. They are very similar, honestly, although Chiba is the more introverted of the character type. She does what she wants, says what she wants, but she won’t make a scene about it generally, either. And, honestly, due to that, Chiba is pretty much the nightmare of every teacher everywhere. Troublemakers are easy to deal with – they give a teacher exactly the reasons they need for punishing them. But Chiba isn’t a troublemaker. She isn’t going to give any obvious reasons for discipline. And yet she’s hard to deal with. She thinks little of her teacher, and she has no intention of giving him any chance of disproving her conclusions (although she is less harsh about the teacher’s decision to have both Chiba and Nitori work on the play). Nightmare territory!
I’ve definitely been like that with teachers, and, in retrospect, I feel a bit badly for it – they really didn’t deserve my scorn. I operated in a similar fashion: I did my work, didn’t act out… but I also believed that I was smarter than they were, and I only did things to the letter when asked. For instance, if I had been asked to clean the desks, and I saw papers crumpled up on the floor, I’d clean the desks and ignore the papers. That sort of thing.
Nitori’s statement that he wants to become a girl for himself and no one else solidified my notion that the message here is that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to attraction, or, at the very least, that it shouldn’t. This conversation also highlighted Chiba’s cruelty on the matter – it seems that she wants Nitori to dress like a girl but not become one. She wants him to be a boy when it suits her.
But Nitori and Chiba are both cruel to each other in their own thoughtless ways. Chiba’s are just more obvious if only because she is a more straightforward character overall. Nitori hems and haws much more often, although even he does have his moments of clarity, such as with Takatsuki in the bathroom. Too bad Takatsuki herself doesn’t really seem to get it.
Of course, maybe she does. We don’t spend as much time with her as some of the characters, after all. I’m inclined toward interpreting her as clueless, however, since her short speech to Nitori is so earnest in tone.
Another character I’m actually a bit unclear on the feelings and intentions of is Sarashina, actually. Again, I’m inclined toward one interpretation in particular, but does Sarashina really do what she wants? Or does she do what she expects will garner the greatest reaction, regardless of what it is? In other words: does she actively seek being weird because she wants to be noticed? Or is she just weird? Its tough to say since we get so little insight into her character.
Anyway, obviously the biggest question for the episode, though, is this: why the fuck does a Christian church have upside down crosses in its windows?
P.S. Chiba, we’ve already got enough bad Christians out there, we don’t need you adding to it by praying for someone to get the pox.
EDIT: By the way, for those of you interested, the OP single (Itsudatte by Daisuke) has a street date of March 2nd, and the ED single (For You by Rie Fu) is scheduled for February 16th.