Suzuka - 17: Boyfriend

Episode:17: Boyfriend
During his lunch break at school Yamato tells Hattori about his blunder with Honoka. Hattori urges him to show more effort but Yamato insists they have their own pace for it. When Miki joins the discussion and Hattori actually asks her to tell Yamato about how girls like sex best, things get a little bit out of control. [image1]
At the club Yamato (again) is urged to do three extra sets of workout by his former captain. Honoka has to leave early today and is worried that Yamato (again) didn't bring an umbrella along. Asahina happens to observe the scene - and while Miki asks her to join her buying cake she comes up with ever new maneuvers to buy time, like searching for her cell-phone or claiming not to want cake today. Finally Yamato arrives at the shoe bin - and as the rain has grown stronger, Asahina hesitatingly lends him her own umbrella [image2], suddenly claiming she wanted to join Miki to the cake shop anyway.
Another day, another training session. After that, Miki drags Asahina along to some Karaoke box - maybe they'll have Shirakawa Nana's new song already? Honoka asks Yamato to go and drink something together before going home. On their way Yamato happens to watch a Nana commercial in some showcase but when Honoka anxiously asks whether he likes this idol he claims to only be interested in the MD player device they're advertising. At the restaurant Honoka appears strangely nervous and finally admits she's waiting for a friend who wanted to see her boyfriend. Finally this friend arrives and turns out to be none less than - Shirakawa Nana! [image3] As her appearance causes quite a stirr in the restaurant, Nana suggests to change the scenery - what about a karaoke box? Nana explains to Yamato how she and Honoka became friends in middle school, and he points out to the boy how inexperienced Honoka is - so he should lead this girl on gently instead of forcing himself onto her.
Honoka is embarrassed from listening and runs away to the bathroom - and Nana urges Yamato to sing something. As luck would have it, this is the very moment when Miki and Asahina walk by this karaoke box. Asahina identifies Yamato's voice, notices some unknown girl in full feather together with the boy, rushes into the box and instantly accuses Yamato of being unfaithful to Honoka! [image4] Miki is flabberghasted to see Yamato go out with this famous Nana idol - and Nana wonders how many girls Yamato is dating in parallel! Right when confusion is about to peak out, Honoka returns to the box...
Finally, Nana invites the new guests to join them singing, and presents her own new song to this exclusive audience (much to the enthusiasm of Miki). Asahina selects her next song, then asks whether Yamato doesn't want to sing at all... maybe he's tone-deaf? Chagrined Yamato selects a song for himself - only to learn that this is the same song Asahina selected already! "Why don't you just sing it together?", Miki suggests... and Yamato agrees. But when he notices Honoka looking uneasy, he withdraws his consent [image5], claiming to have picked the wrong song after all.
Nana accompanies Honoka and Yamato on their way home - and after Honoka has left she reads Yamato the riot act... [image6]
(2005-10-31, Devil Doll:)
This series is beginning to become weird. Did anyone make a checklist of how many lies were told in this episode? Must have been a new all-time high for sure. And although I'm relatively insensitive to bad animation it was highly visible in this episode. Yamato with four cute chicks in a room - what a horrible timing for the worst animation performance of this series so far! It's annoying, really. And the development of this episode was awfully forced - come one, how many coincidenced did we need to make this happen?

Finally, Asahina has become the most interesting character of this series. Back in episode 4 of this series Asahina shared her umbrella with Yamato; now in episode 4 of the second half of this series she doesn't dare to do the same again. She's head over heels in love now, doing almost the same stalkerish things that Yamato did before. If she doesn't drop her instantaneous denial automatism real soon then Miki had better take her to the psychiatrist... note how it is Miki who suggested Asahina and Yamato should sing together!
Regardless of what Asahina is saying, the battle is on. Just look at how she wanted to sit real close to Yamato in the karaoke box, and how Honoka instantly countered her plan... nice move! Nana observed all this with great interest - we don't actually know how much Honoka told her about Yamato but we do know that Honoka was informed about Yamato's confession to Asahina (by Saotome in episode 8), and if Honoka told Nana about Yamato's blunder on his bed she might have told her other things as well.

My favourite character so far, Hattori Yasunobu, is beginning to lose points. More and more he sounds as if he's merely citing clichés from "young adults" magazines. Did this self-acclaimed womanizer ever have any serious relation so far? His advice doesn't take the involved persons into any account - no wonder that Yamato will get random results from these. Looks as we've found a candidate for Miki to thump some reason into him... poor Miki, everyone around you is acting plain stupid.
Nana, on the other hand, is a refreshing new character. Finally every one of the three leads has their personal advisor, and Nana's method of tricking Yamato into feeling good at first only to show him the fundamental mistake he's about to make is really something. I wonder if Nana took into consideration that Yamato might just be as inexperienced as Honoka is... if so, then her appearance might have come in the nick of time.
But somehow I feel Honoka-chan is doomed already. There's one scene in this episode that was a real shocker to me - Asahina and Yamato selecting the same song without knowing about each other's choice. Can we take this scene any differently than showing us the thread of fate linking Asahina and Yamato together? Add to this the episode 18 preview, announcing a new level of stupidity by our late bloomer...


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