One of the most vital things to develop in life is a perspective, which means it’s also one of the hardest to get. That’s especially true as a teenager, where you’re just dipping your toes into the world outside of your childhood bubble. In hindsight, all the drama and emotions and general weirdness of high school can seem pretty trivial – but when you’re in the thick of it, everything feels permanent and eternal. You can scarcely imagine that the things and people most important to you might not always be around, or that the way you feel right then isn’t necessarily how you’ll always feel.
That’s the lesson Miyano starts to learn in the first half of this episode. Just a couple weeks prior, being strongarmed by his class to partake in the school’s cross-dressing beauty pageant (is…is that really a thing in Japanese schools?) would have sent him spiraling. Granted he’s still not wild about the idea, but he begrudgingly agrees, and even Miyano’s surprised by how remarkably chill he is about the whole thing. This is a worry – a complex even – that’s been hounding him for years at this point. So why isn’t he freaking out, worrying, something? Part of it is likely just distance; when you don’t have anyone poking and prodding at your biggest insecurities every day, it’s a whole lot easier to be at peace with yourself. Of course, having your crush reaffirming you helps too, and it’s very sweet how much those words from Sasaki seemed to have heartened Miyano.
The funny thing about perspective is it can also make you feel like a dumbass, in the “think about this embarrassing thing you did in seventh grade, right before you’re going to fall asleep at night” kind of way. And that smacks Miyano right in the face when he happens to run into his old crush from middle school, and realizes what he thought was insensitive teasing was simply her wanting him to model for her painting. On that topic, I like what little we get of Makimura here. In just the short time we spend with her we get a good idea of why Miyano was attracted to her – her somewhat clumsy passion for painting fittingly mirrors his own interest in BL manga – but also the realization that he doesn’t feel that way about her anymore. Whatever connection they had had changed, and while they still get along, can even be friends if they decide to, that particular fork in the road exists entirely in the past tense.
Of course, Sasaki doesn’t know that, which leads to the show indulging in some good old fashioned jealous romance tropes. Sure, in fiction, it can be cute and endearing that he’s so protective of his crush that he doesn’t want him talking with an old (pseudo-)flame, but if you ever have a real-life partner who wordlessly yoinks you out of conversation with somebody else because they suddenly got jealous, that’s a 50-foot tall red flag. To his credit, Sasaki partially apologizes, and asks if Miyano’s okay after being so physical with him, but it’s still something he needs to work on. Up til now his whole thing about wanting to touch Miyano’s been cute, but that’ll all stop real sharpish if he trips the line into possessive territory.
Thankfully, the rest of this episode is just pure Cute Shit. One of my small reservations about our central couple so far has been the rather one-sided sharing that’s gone on. Lending manga is a good way to bring the two together, but I’ve been hoping to see a little more give and take, so the scene of Sasaki sharing some of his favorite music with Miyano and offering to lend him CDs was very welcome. It highlights their different tastes while still letting the boys find common ground, and it lets Sasaki show more of his personal interests. I’d have liked it even more if we got a sample of what kind of songs they were listening to, but it’s still really adorable. And capping it off with Miyano’s big, goofy grin when he finds out Sasaki’s been buying BL manga of his own accord is the perfect cherry on top.
Sasaki and Miyano is currently streaming on Funimation.