Suzuka - 4: Spring Storm

Episode:4: Spring Storm
Today's a P.E. test for boys and girls, and Yamato, Yasunobu, Suzuka and Honoka somehow get to perform their exercises as a group. Yamato is hyped, as back home at middle school he was always number one at sports, with one exception.
But at the vertical jump, [image2] Yamato gets a little too excited about his 72,5 cm performance, as Suzuka (the high-jumper) and even Yasunobu beat him easily. Yamato is about to give up as next would be the 50 meters dash (which his only negative sports memory is linked to), but Honoka manages to make him continue the competition, and he drags himself to the starting blocks. Suzuka is disgusted by this scene - but Yasunobu has an ominous smile on his lips...
Seconds later Suzuka can hardly believe her eyes: Yamato is running unexpectedly fast, [image3] outperforming even the sprinter ace he's competing against! Honoka jubilates, and Yasunobu is not even surprised: He knew Yamato's speed from running away together after pulling pranks as children. Yamato doesn't even become aware of true value of his performance - but Suzuka is stunned, almost unable to speak, and remains this way for the rest of the day. During supper Miho-chan praises Yamato for his success (she learned the news from Hattori-senpai), but Suzuka is acting strikingly unimpressed.
On the next day the weather report predicts rain in the afternoon, and guess who's not bringing an umbrella along to school? You got it: Yamato of course, who during a break discusses Suzuka's acting weird with Yasunobu. "Obviously a girl in love", is Yasunobu's diagnosis - and while Yamato still can't believe this sudden change, he's aware now of Suzuka's occasional gazes [image4] during class.
It's raining cats and dogs when classes are over. Yamato notices the umbrella on Suzuka's table, and drops a hint about whether "anyone" would let him share their... that's the very moment when Suzuka walks off to weight training at the gym. But guess what? Honoka has an umbrella as well and would love to accompany Yamato home (so that the boy wouldn't get a cold once again). She even volunteers to wait for him - but right when Yamato is about to give in, Yasunobu steps in and drags the girl away [image5] (as to prevent any distraction for the lovers...). Once more, Yamato is waiting hours for Suzuka, unable to make up his mind about staying or giving up... but finally Suzuka appears and simply asks him whether he forgot his umbrella and wants to share hers.
I'm not willing to spoil the events on their way home [image6] - you have to watch this by yourself.
(2005-08-01, Devil Doll:)
Just what was Suzuka thinking when she was looking at the photograph [image1] in the first scene of this episode? I'll put this on my to-do list for the second viewing of the series.

"Love happens suddenly", says Yasunobu, the expert; "You were always so strong yet you hide your feelings", runs the OP song. If Suzuka did in fact treasure Yamato in any way up to this point then she did an exceptional job of hiding it. But if not, then this episode is a grave disappointment. Yamato falling for Suzuka (whom he never saw before) when observing her shining at high jump - well, this makes sense, given his character. But Suzuka falling for a guy whom she almost hated at first and who still ran his mouth prior to the vertical jump, because he happens to run 50 meters surprisingly fast (and then even brags about it)... hell no! Okay, the guy on Suzuka's photograph is probably a sprinter, and being a track&fielder she'll know all too well how good 5.93 seconds at 50 meters dash (actually the race scene lasted for 38 seconds... ;-) are for a high schooler - but how could she forget everything that happened before?
But... let's just assume it works this way. Then what gave us today's episode? A Suzuka under the impact of a grave shock, an embarrassing Yamato underperforming whenever he opens his mouth, a Honoka probably sitting at home weeping, and a Yasunobu shining in every scene. (This "Miki" girl whom Suzuka addressed by name might become important later in the series.)
Obviously considering Yamato his kouhai in terms of romantic experience, Yasunobu swept away Honoka when the girl had her chance today. His announcements were somehow annoying (as if the audience needed to be told what would happen next) but the way he handled the situation of Yamato's race was very effective. He'll help the couple out if he can, probably because it entertains him to observe how Yamato will handle such a babe.
Yamato, if you forgive me, is acting like a blithering idiot. He had any number of opportunities to shut up and switch his brain on (instead of challenging a high jumper in her very own discipline and then be defeated even by Yasunobu...), but he just continues to babble along all day, even in front of other girls at school. The way he's ignoring Honoka (who rooted for him before the race!) is worse than emotional blindness - at least be thankful to her, pal, if nothing else! And the scenes waiting for Suzuka - talk about pathetic! Now add to this how bad a liar he is...
Unfortunately we didn't see how Honoka performed at the P.E. test, but it didn't boost her confidence for sure. Inadvertently Yamato had given her a chance to be at his side and to outperform Suzuka (Honoka supposedly knows the track&field club's training schedule) but then Yasunobu just ran her over with his womanizer skills... I can almost see the girl cursing herself for being such a mouse, lacking ready wit and being unable to hold sway against Yasunobu. She'll not give up on her boy - but will she get such a chance ever again, after messing up the cooking opportunity already? Unfortunately Honoka was focussed on watching Yamato during the race, so the impact this event made on her rival didn't catch her attention (just like she missed Suzuka's finger at Yamato's doorbell last time); had she noticed Suzuka's "uso" she might have tried to make better use of her umbrella advantage.
Strange enough, I like the way Suzuka was acting today - walking in slow motion, almost lifeless. She has to put her view of the world into question, and that's not easy for our princess. (Aoyama Motoko in episode 3 of Love Hina- we've seen this before but it's interesting every time again.) Unfortunately we would have to know a lot more about the guy on the photo to read her mind now; for the time being she'll be considered an emotional mess, and Yamato in "regulated protective mode" would probably be quite helpful... it's just that I have little confidence he'll be aware of her situation, as he has too many problems of his own (look how he failed to see why Suzuka's responses became so monosyllabic). Note how Yamato used the same wording of "shocked" to describe the impact of his result as Suzuka did before - this could be a way for the leads to understand each other a lot better.

At least no ecchi fest during the P.E. class, what a relief. But actually the funniest scene was right at the end of the episode: Somehow I knew both leads would be soaking wet when arriving at their domicile...
I almost forgot to praise the music of this episode: Lots of different moods, and all of these covered appropriately.


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