Episode 5 – My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex

I have to give the show massive credit as it continues to show a surprising level of thoughtfulness regarding such an unorthodox situation. This episode highlights a variety of different character traits and character dynamics in a way that feels well paced, subtle, and emotionally enriching. When I first started watching this show, I thought I was getting into some kind of melodramatic dumpster fire, but the first couple of episodes did show that there is potential for a more emotionally enriching story here. This week’s episode takes almost every component the show has introduced thus far to elevate the material to what I would say is a very sweet albeit tragic love story.

For starters, I like the fact that the show doesn’t ignore elements that I feel like most other shows take for granted. For example, we do get that continued thoughtfulness from our two leads with regards to making sure that their parents are happy, like getting their (step-)mother a gift and giving them time alone together since they are newlyweds. Not only did I like that buildup in previous episodes, but I like that it went the extra step to show the complicated feelings that Mizuto sort of has towards this new mother figure in his life. I had genuinely never asked myself what happened to his mother and Yume’s father, but this episode shows that the former actually passed away and it might also explain why Mizuto is generally so emotionally withdrawn. That flashback where Yume and her mother are paying their respects paralleling Yume comforting Mizuto as he’s praying to his mothers shrine for Mother’s Day was sweet. Her using the excuse that it just feels like something that an older sister would do felt genuinely touching and this was only in the first third of the episode.

The rest of it is less emotionally driven until the end, focusing a lot more on comedy by giving us a subtle inside into our supporting cast. Kogure and Akatsuki constantly insist that they’re not that close but the show is basically screaming that the two had some kind of thing going on when they were younger. Having to overreact towards each other and the gag about the thin walls genuinely had me laughing out loud. That honestly would’ve been enough for me to say the episode was good but what put it even further was how all of this tied into the final scene where Yume and Mizuto are staring up at the moon mirroring their first conversation to each other.

When the two reflect on the day they had, there almost seems to be this weird sense of jealousy. While the two are technically closer, since they live in the same house as stepsiblings, you could argue that inversely, there’s less opportunities for them to get close emotionally. They even accept the fact that both of their parents are in love with each other and don’t seem to be breaking up anytime soon. As long as they try to be mindful of their parents and the uncomfortableness of the stepsibling situation, you could argue that there really aren’t a lot of avenues for them to realistically get back together without there being issues down the road. It’s honestly quite sad and I didn’t think that the show was ever going to touch upon that. What makes things better is that most of this isn’t overtly explained or over talked about. A lot of it is just felt both through the voice acting, the subtleness of the dialogue and the overall emotions of the scene. This has hands-down been my favorite episode of the series so far and would love more like it going forward.

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My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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