Episode 11 – Sasaki and Miyano

Alright team, we’ve made it. After 10 weeks of hemming, hawing, double-guessing, triple-guessing, more hemming, a teaspoon of hawing, and a dash of wheel-spinning for flavor, Miyano’s finally here. He’s figured out that yes, he likes Sasaki, like likes him even, and he does in fact want to go out with him. Sasaki’s even done half the work for him on that front, as his sports-festival confession is still pending approval, and he’s been remarkably patient after being left on read for months. It’s time, at long last, for Sasaki and Miyano to start dating.

…eventually. This is still Miyano we’re dealing with, so every emotional epiphany is really just the beginning of the process of filing paperwork for him to eventually begin making progress. With his own feelings sorted, now he’s got to overthink the when of answering that confession. After all, a love confession’s not something you just spit out when the feeling strikes, right? It needs to be perfect, like in all those romance manga. It needs to be private, since you certainly don’t want any awkward moments with an audience of eavesdroppers. But it’s not exactly easy to get you and your crush alone when you only ever meet in public, and it’d be weird to like, ask him out on a date when you aren’t technically dating yet, yeah? But even if you were to try that, he’s got a ton going on and you don’t want to get in the way of any of that, plus you don’t want to be one of those couples that gets together right before a romantic holiday because that’ll just seem desperate so maybe it’s better to-

So yeah, we are once again trapped in the maelstrom of Miyano’s anxieties, and while I’m still cool with that, I can imagine at least some viewers are about out of patience. The boy’s inescapable hesitation is what makes him relatable and endearing, but even I need some progress in between all the cute shit, so wavering five feet from the finishing line for the entire penultimate episode is frustrating even for me. And that creative decision is even more of a swerve when it ends up sharing time with an eleventh-hour character introduction for Hanzawa.

It’s not that the material with Hanzawa isn’t interesting – it very much is! Years of romance anime have conditioned me to expect a love triangle, but it turns out his interest and/or concern over our central couple was about how he relates them to his own family. In the most casual coming out of the closet scene ever put to television, both his older and younger brothers came out as gay to their mother over dinner. She’s mostly accepting of it, but was also quick to confirm that her middle son was still definitely into ladies and could make her some grandkids.

It’s a remarkably layered yet concise sequence, immediately capturing how even an accepting parent can still toss around some microaggressions without meaning to. By asking such a leading question, there was pretty much no way Hanzawa could give any answer besides “yes, I’m straight” – regardless of its truth – without upsetting a loved one and causing a scene. To his credit, he recognizes this as the indirect judgment of his siblings that it is, is fully supportive of his older brother being true to himself, and seeing our main boys so happy together reaffirms that feeling for him. And this is all good, compelling material. I just don’t know why it’s coming up now, especially when Hanzawa is only tangentially related to our main couple or Miyano’s current conflict. We’re about to hit the final episode of this season, so there’s likely not enough time to resolve or reflect on any of this, and I have to wonder why it wasn’t introduced earlier.

Well, maybe it was just so this episode could end on the meanest goddamn cliffhanger it could. Moments after another wall-slam and almost kiss, just as Miyano is finally about to burst out and admit his feelings..and BAM, credits. That’s just mean. And I am desperately hoping the next episode doesn’t backpedal for more stalling. I am fine with a slow burn, but eventually you have to bring the heat, and next week is the last chance for these sparks to catch.

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Sasaki and Miyano is currently streaming on Funimation.

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