What They Say:
My Friend and I
Takeo Goda is a giant guy with a giant heart. Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They always go for his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.) Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn! Takeo can hardly believe it when he crosses paths with Yamato again, and he finds himself falling in love with her… But with handsome Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My Love Story!! is a show about happiness, one more effective in bringing happiness to its viewers than most others, especially so consistently. While that has remained the case for almost every moment, the previous episode did offer a look at the other side – not of people being mean-spirited, and still the opposite for that matter, but of the sadness that comes with the same life that can bring so much joy. This has only served to further indicate how great Suna and the other people in this show are, and like many scenes of similar emotional content, the point is clearly to bring the characters closer together and to help the audience feel a deeper connection.
Although his secret’s out, Suna is still determined to carry his burden alone, and sends Takeo off to have his perfect birthday date with the blissfully ignorant Yamato. As they hit the first few stops of the schedule penned primarily by Suna, it’s largely more of the rosy idealism that has defined so much of the series, and if you’ve stuck around for this long you’re probably as comfortable with letting that atmosphere immerse you as I am. It’s as overwhelmingly adorable as ever and peppered with nuggets of genuine hilarity, but every now and then the subject of Suna will inevitably come up and Takeo’s mind will wander to a place that doesn’t fit with what’s going on around him. As adamant as Suna was and as much as Yamato is loving their time together, Takeo can’t simply enjoy the day his best friend laid out for him while that friend suffers alone, and of course when he tells Yamato the situation there’s not a moment that anyone has any negative thoughts toward anyone else. Yamato is instantly supportive and only wished Takeo had told her sooner so she wouldn’t be occupying his time when he had more important matters to attend to. This really is a situation that demands compromises and realistically not everyone is likely to be perfectly fine with how everything plays out, but that’s how this show operates.
While we may never experience the worst possible outcomes, the risk and uncertainty do bring out a level of emotion we haven’t seen, and from the guy mostly characterized by how little emotion he’s shown until now. I’ve long been singing Suna’s praises as a friend and as something of a guardian of progress, but now he feels more human than ever, particularly with the regret he’s been living with. Just as Suna has always done for Takeo, Takeo says the simple truth in a way that means a lot more to Suna in the context, and even if it couldn’t remedy how badly this could’ve gone, it’s another fine display of beautiful friendship.
As it turns out, this episode really was about happiness as much as any other, but it took a little detour into very emotionally trying fears of death and blame. It may all seem a tad contrived to achieve its emotional arc, but it’s sincere and powerful enough to be properly effective.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
HP Envy 14.