Aw yeah? Bring it!
It’s tough dealing with the loss of a loved one, but it’s something you have to expect in a Jun Maeda story.
Ayumi no More
The bad news right away
Well, there’s no anime magic to keep Ayumi alive after the building falls on her, as Yuu is told as soon as he wakes up that she’s passed away. This starts the spiral of depression for Yuu, a story that (again) is not exactly the most original, but it works well enough. Yuu has been amazingly self-centered in his life, and the loss of Ayumi makes it clear how much he took her for granted, and how little he actively gave her back.
And he doesn’t really have the strength to get himself out of his downward spiral. Staying home, cooped up, watching crappy television and eating cup ramen, he ignores the people who come to visit him, hoping they just go away. They even bring back Shirayanagi, the girl from the first episode, to maybe try to spur some life into him, but all he does is berate her about not helping him by bringing him more cup ramen. I give her a lot of credit for even trying, because this is a guy that she knew for all of a week, and who was never particularly impactful to her life. I almost expected him to spill the beans about the incident he ‘saved’ her from, but he didn’t go that far. I get that it was a long shot, but just like Yuu, I had to rack my brain to even remember who Shirayanagi was, so it’s not the best they could have done, I don’t think.
Sometimes you’ve just given up
A Life of Petty Thuggery?
Taking down the big dog
After the incident with Shirayanagi, Yuu decides he needs to run away, because we’ve pretty much exhausted the audience empathy available in his apartment. Heading out to some unknown town, he starts living in a manga cafe, playing a shooting game, and eating Mitarashi dango. And after some toughs try to teach him a lesson for interrupting them on ‘his’ game, he starts being the guy everyone tries to take down, but he’s figured out how to use his power for a different cause now: Sowing confusion and winning fights.
Nao with the roundhouse kick
Once again, tho, we’re kinda let down by the obvious in the show’s writing. The only thing that surprised me was that they waited so long to have Nao reveal herself to Yuu. It was obvious from the moment that Joujiro and Yusa / Misa came to visit him that Nao was observing him without him seeing her. One can quibble with the specifics of whether she would have been able to live in his apartment without him figuring it out, but I personally think there is enough opportunity for that that it’s not breaking the show. What brings Nao out of hiding, tho, is the evil specter of drugs (I’m guessing cocaine). But when you’re desperate to escape the crapfest that you’ve made your life, I guess you’ll try anything. Of course Nao brings back Yuu to the fold with Pizza Sauce Omurice, and now we’ll get on with the rest of the crew.
Memories through food
Bonus Plot Discussion
Something occurred to me right at the beginning of the episode, but because it could be spoilery, it’s up to you whether you want to see it. Please also put discussion of this part in spoiler tags in comments.
They went for the depths of despair here, but I don’t know that it resonated all that much for me. The idea that Nao was watching Yuu kind of took the edge off of it because you knew that he’d get pulled out of his emotional plummet somehow. It started to get a lot like this (and if you haven’t seen the MST3K Space Mutiny episode, I think it’s one of their best, and certainly my favorite. So Move!Move!Move!). And then she did, of course, with the fairly cliched “Your sister’s cooking was trying to be your favorite recipe of your mom’s.” And on top of that, I’m kind of hoping that my idea of what the rest of the series is going to be is wrong, but I’d put it at at least 80% that I’ve got the outline right.