Much like was the case with Episode 7, “First Shrine Visit, Snowman, New Years, Advice” has the unenviable task of following up “Christmas”, aka the second all-timer that this third season of Teasing Master Takagi-san has delivered thus far. Episode 10 is a perfectly fine entry in the ongoing saga of “Nishikata Slowly But Surely Figuring Out What Literally Every Other Person On Earth Already Knows”, and it gets at least a free half-point for having the kids spend the whole episode wearing their adorable Christmas gifts from last week. It just didn’t melt my heart into a puddle of pure syrup to be poured into a batter baked into a seven-layer “Dawwwwwwwwww” cake. There are much worse problems to have.
“First Shrine Visit” is one of those culturally-specific sketches that I appreciate more for getting a glimpse into the lives of Japanese youngsters than for being particularly funny. The result of Nishikata and Takagi’s fortune contest is so predictable that the show itself doesn’t waste much time on it, and if I’m being honest, we’re starting to lose just a teensy bit of the novelty of watching Nishikata get this close to figuring out how he really feels about his future wife. Still, Takagi gets her wish of Nishikata asking her out on another shrine “date”, even if she has to wait another year for it. Who knows? Maybe by then, Nishikata will be able to say the word “date” without collapsing into awkward convulsions!”
The “Snowman” sketch is my favorite of the bunch this week, mostly because we can once again tell that Yuuki Kaji is having way too much fun in the voice-over booth with these kinds of stories. It’s usually more fun to see Nishikata be the architect of his own embarrassment, too, and nothing made me laugh harder this week than when Nishikata realizes that his nasty-looking snowman balls are too heavy to even build, and all he can do is raise his fists to the heavens and scream “I’m so stupid!”. Don’t worry, though, Nishikata is luckier than he’ll ever know: Takagi may the kind of girlfriend who will mercilessly destroy her idiot boyfriend in a snowman contest, but she’s also decent-hearted enough to help him finish his own busted- ass frost goblin, too.
The last two sketches of the episode are much more low-key. “New Years” is simply a brief check-in with some of the side characters, including the Girl Squad!, and the second-best joke of the episode comes from Sanae admitting that she spent her whole New Year’s break running around and snagging the money that her relatives “owed” her. The final vignette sees Nishikata help Hamaguchi with some of her own Boy Problems™, and he is sworn to secrecy, which means he can’t even tell Takagi what he was up to. It’s nothing especially compelling, though it is cute when Nishikata admits that he really does want to tell Takagi what Hamaguchi is up to (even after it becomes clear that Takagi could easily guess).
A part of me feels guilty for wishing this, but I almost Wish the story went with the rom-com cliché of Takagi getting a little jealous over Nishikata sharing a private moment with Hamaguchi. It’s a tacky trope, I know, but Takagi is so rarely allowed a moment to be a flawed human being, and her admitting that she feels bad for doing something “mean” doesn’t hit quite hard enough for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Takagi-san to become a schmaltzy melodrama or anything; I just wouldn’t mind it if the show explored some of the more complicated emotions that inevitably come from kids figuring out how love works. That said, you won’t find me complaining that this show continues to be sweet and reliably comforting. Even a minor addition to the Takagi-san canon is a gift to be appreciated, after all.
Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 3 is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitterhis blog, and his podcast.