Finally making inroads?
So have you ever been influenced by a book you’re reading to the point of changing things about your life? I think I’ve done it a few times, but it takes more than just one book. And sometimes it makes a big change in your life (like reading Heinlein through one’s teen years…).
Coming home to an all-girl show…
This episode really highlighted the somewhat antagonistic camaraderie that exists in Kawaisou. Spending time together, making up a story, interacting with each other. It seems like it was just sniping or hassling each other, but I think it’s interesting to think about the fact that they could all have been elsewhere doing other things, yet they chose to spend the time together. The amount of give and take in insults and jabs certainly varies between people, with both Sayaka and Mayumi giving as good as they get, Sumiko using her position to be exempt from being made fun of, Shiro just wanting to get abuse, and Ritsu mostly giving. Usa’s responses might be too internal, but at least he thinks he’s got the responses.
Sumiko cheers on Usa
And yes, everyone’s story part was a bit self-serving, but that’s what makes it fun. Certainly more fun for Mayumi than getting ambushed by a blitzed Sayaka when she walks in the door. But this show does bring interesting discussions, such as the description of women’s dating experiences as overwriting old ones, so Mayumi doesn’t learn from her past relationships because she forgets all about them. I dunno if that really describes all women, some of them certainly seem to remember everything about their old relationships, but it would do Mayumi some good to actually remember some of the bad experiences she has.
Could this episode be the turning point between Usa and Ritsu? For once, it seemed like the episode didn’t end on a somewhat disappointing note for Usa, but before we get to that, we did get more exploration of Ritsu, like that she hasn’t ever dated anyone (and anyone who’s seen a hentai anime probably laughed at Shiro’s hearing “Itaii?” and “Kowakunai yo” inside Usa’s head, I know I did), or even kissed anyone. And I don’t know if it counts that Usa got Ritsu’s “first kiss” on his arm. That’s pretty specious. But it sure made him happy.
Finally discussing things as friends
But the real progress seemed to come when Usa just picked up one of Ritsu’s books lying around. I don’t know if he thought it was the one that was making Ritsu be more happy or just that he was interested, but when she finds him reading it, she’s more interested in Usa continuing to read it than in being embarrassed. She’s even somewhat forgiving when he kinda blows it and asks why she’s still hanging around watching Usa and Mayumi argue over his reasons for reading in the common area (because he hoped that Ritsu would come by). And he thinks he’s doing well when they actually discuss it, until they disagree about parts of the book and thinks he’s blown it again. But really, Ritsu was much happier having something to discuss with him, and less concerned that they agree. So the show ending on a note with Ritsu happy with Usa, and Usa not having to convince himself that he’s doing ok is a bit of a turnaround.
Bonus Wet T-Shirt Contest!
Perhaps, as I said, this is the turning point. Sometimes it’s fun to discuss things with people who disagree about how you interpreted a story. I know that I like hearing other viewpoints, almost as much as I like convincing those people that my viewpoint is correct! But I do sometimes change my mind as well, because it’s always better to be right than to be stubborn. And maybe this is more what the OP of the show is getting at. The imagery of Usa and Ritsu in stories hasn’t really fit in with how the show’s going, but if the two of them are going to start discussing books at times, then that would make a lot more sense.