I’m really glad that Teasing Master Takagi-san pumped the brakes and slowed things down this week. After the whirlwind of emotion that was the Culture Festival, I don’t know if my poor heart could take anything more exciting. If Nishikata and Takagi somehow started, like, holding hands or something in one of these sketches, I might have literally suffered a stroke (and no, the crocheting bit doesn’t count). That said, though I dug this episode’s is laid back approach, it could potentially be a little too chill for fans wanting to revel in a spicier post-Culture-Festival world.
That is to say, this is a very formulaic episode of Takagi-san. Each of the vignettes follows the tried-and-true pattern of banter that has made the show such a joy to watch, which results in stories that generally fall into the “quietly cozy” category of entertainment, instead of being laugh-out-loud funny. The “On a Walk” sketch digs into Nishikata’s obsession with dogs, for instance, which is quite relatable, but it doesn’t give Takagi much to do other than stand there and smile that knowing smile of hers while Nishikata gets all goofy over a good boy. Was it cute to see Nishikata drop his guard and lose himself in a rush of Scritch Fever? Yes. Was it maybe a bit too predictable when we learned that Takagi managed to snag a picture of Nishikata being a dork? Maybe. It depends on whether you come to Takagi-san for belly laughs, or if you’re just here for the warm-n-fuzzies that come from these two kids doing their usual thing in the usual way.
The same goes for “Left at School.” At first, it is a sketch that loses some points for relying on such a simplistic premise¬: Takagi and Nishikata go back to school to pick up something Nishikata left behind, only for Nishikata to get in his head like he usually does, which results in Takagi being a step ahead of him anyways. The difference is that, now, Nishikata is aware of just how many of his peers are now paired up in post-Culture-Fest relationships, which of course freaks him right the hell out. His not wanting to be seen as Takagi’s boyfriend isn’t anything especially funny or interesting, but what is amusing is how, after that show stopping performance in Romiya and Juliot, the whole school basically assumes that the two are already dating anyway. I like how we’ve gotten to the point that literally every human on the planet but Nishikata knows the score, at this point, though I don’t know how much longer the story will be able to squeeze gags out of Nishikata being so willfully ignorant of his own relationship status.
Then again, maybe we won’t have to wait that long! “Knitting” wins my vote for the best sketch of the week for two reasons: The first is that it’s genuinely fun to see Takagi trying to teach Nishikata how to crochet (which is what Takagi is doing, despite the title of the sketch). The second reason is that, when Nishikata hears that Takagi is knitting her scarf for “a fifteen-year-old boy”, he gets his first experience of jealously, which is hilarious to see. Yuki Kaji’s incredibly earnest performance is honestly the MVP of the whole episode¬—catch those squeals of delight when he’s cuddling that doggo in the first skit¬—but his baffled squeaks combine perfectly with his facial expressions in this bit. It’s the one moment where the drawn-out back-and-forth between him and Takagi really works in this episode, I think, because the kid just cannot comprehend a reality wherein Takagi is making a scarf for another boy…until she finally shows mercy and admits it’s for an elderly neighborhood dog.
I know we all love Takagi around here, but damn, reveling in Nishikata’s fledgling jealously so much is cold, even for her. Let’s hope Nishikata never actually gets on her bad side.
Odds and Ends
• Girl Squad! A brief and kind of random one, this week. It turns out that Mina still believes in Santa, and Yukari has to stop Sanae from crushing the poor girl’s dreams. It’s a little weird for these Almost-High-Schoolers to still be having debates about Santa, but then again, aliens have been proven to definitely exist in this universe, so who the hell knows? Maybe the Takagi-san movie will be all about the kids helping Santa Clause save Christmas.
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.
Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 3 is currently streaming on HIDIVE.