Sayaka receives a visit from an old friend and her housemates are more than willing to pry embarrassing stories out of her. Ritsu is beginning to open up and seems to make a friend of her own, leaving Usa with mixed feelings.
First things first: Kawaisou finally got beat with the Ugly Stick this week. It was never exactly a masterpiece of animation, but it got a lot of mileage out of its colorful art style. Not so much this week as the art got so lazy and off model it started to become a distraction. I’m hoping the drop in quality means they are making a big push for a gorgeous final episode, but I must admit next week’s preview did not inspire much confidence.
It’s too bad the visuals couldn’t keep up because this was a solid episode otherwise. Sayaka’s friendship seemed to steal the spotlight for a bit, but Kawaisou proved once again it knows what to do with secondary characters. It only took a few silent glances from Ritsu to show how much of Sayaka and Tsuneko’s relationship she was soaking in, and it made her attempt at friendship in the second half that much more plausible.
I also continue to be impressed how they make me enjoy Usa being so naivé. His mix of happiness and jealousy is so painfully immature but also so realistic for a boy his age and in his situation that you can’t help but appreciate it. The important thing is you never doubt he really cares about Ritsu, he just has no clue how to go about showing it.
I’m a little wary of the direction Ritsu’s new friendship starts to turn toward the end as it’s clearly setting up a cliché situation for Usa to swoop in and rescue her. They run the risk of undermining her growth as a character, like she’s really not capable of widening out and making friends outside of a boy who’s slavishly devoted to her. I have a feeling that’s not going to be the case here though. I wouldn’t be surprised if Usa does save her and she ends up chewing him out for it, leading to a big fight in which they force each other to admit how they feel and we all die of heart attacks from how adorable it is. OK, that might be asking for a lot, but I can dream, right?
It’s hard to believe this season is almost over already. Kawaisou has been an unexpected treat in an otherwise unimpressive season. While the art may have taken a hit, the show kept strong with its narrative. It was nice to see Sayaka finally take a hit. She is by far my least favorite character, and having her just prance about like some goddess of bitchiness was wearing on me the most out of the misfits. I think everyone has a friend like hers, the kind that will bring up any kind of story regardless of its content.
The second half did get me a little worried. At first, I felt the show was being really smart. It seemed like Ritsu was finally making a friend, and that this might put a wedge between Usa and her. Then, the show did what I’ve seen very few do: show the point where a good friend turns into a rotten one. I know I have had my fair share of friends whom I’d gotten along with initially, but eventually start to hate. It seems that with some people, once they let their guards down they tend to let their worst behaviors out, and it can become very frustrating, especially for introverts. I felt it was really smart to show this kind of relationship organically changing over the segment. I’m in full agreement with Jel that Usa coming in on a white horse is the last thing this show needs, so I hope we see Ritsu tackle this problem by her own merits.