|After breakfast, Suzuka is leaving early for her morning training once again - but tomorrow will be school anniversary, so she's taking the day off. Yamato gets the idea and starts making plans for the day together. The doorbell rings, and a girl from the Daily Newspaper [image1] offers him two free passes for the nearby Fantasy Land amusement park, valid until tomorrow, if he would just sign this subscription, please... it's a deal!
But inviting Suzuka at school turns out to take a lot more courage than Yamato expected to. Back in his room, Yamato is surprised to see Suzuka dropping by to tell him dinner's ready... but the words just don't seem to come out of the shy boy's mouth. No good opportunity at dinner either; returning to his room Yamato meets Saotome and Megumi who invite themselves to his room once again. Saotome spots the free passes, teases Yamato about inviting Suzuka (which he denies), then suggests going there with him - she would have free time tomorrow. Yamato's attempt to get his passes back lets him stumble over Megumi once again, but this time Saotome shoots a photograph of evidence for the scene with her camera cellphone! Needless to say that Gorou the cat has torn the passes to tatters in the meantime... [image2]
Competely defeated, Yamato is sitting on the stairway when Suzuka walks by, starting a conversation about the newspaper in Yamato's mail slot, and dropping a hint that the newspaper girl has given two free passes for Fantasy Land to her as well which shouldn't go to waste... Yamato gets the message but barely manages to accept the unsaid invitation. Despite a short crosstalk [image3] they agree to meet at 8 a.m. - "I'm ditching you if you sleep past time", and off she goes.
It's raining cats and dogs on the next day, and it doesn't look like the Fantasy Land will be fun. Suzuka is acting fastidously, moaning about the night parade not being held because of the weather, and even announcing to return home after the first ride; Yamato is about to write off the date as a failure.
But the indoor roller coaster turns out to be so exciting [image4] that Suzuka's mood changes completely, much to Yamato's bafflement! He now suggests trying all indoor rides one after the other - only to fail miserably, being chided by Suzuka for his embarrassing lack of physical condition. Suzuka decides they will now go shopping before returning home; watching her hunting for items, [image5] Yamato wonders whether they'll ever become more than just friends. But when they leave the shop, the rain has stopped - and Suzuka takes Yamato's hand to drag him along! Watching the beautiful night parade, Suzuka is all smiles. Yamato is holding her hand tightly, and Suzuka smiles even more - and Yamato speaks the words... [image6]
|(2005-08-15, Devil Doll:)
Today's lesson: Don't trust your horoscope. And I wonder why the newspaper girl placed emphasis on the free passes expiring tomorrow, thus reducing their potential value; what if Suzuka's day off had been later? The newspaper company would have lost a customer then.
Suzuka is capricious - right when Yamato's about to give up during their date, Suzuka completely ignores her previous statement and changes her course 180 degrees. But this might in fact be why she appeals so much to Yamato; Honoka would be much easier to handle, but at the same time not provide as much of a challenge.
Overall, bad performance by Yamato again this time. The annoying thing about this is that he doesn't make new errors, he just repeats the same old ones over and over again. Letting the "dangerous woman" into his room isn't likely to ever be a good idea, and having once given in to a blackmailer will only encourage her in the future (even though Megumi might have a hard time when asked to act as witness). Saotome caused enough damage already to make me hate her (and she's in the preview of episode 7, ouch!). And while Yamato's permanent loud soliquies didn't severely backfire on him so far (as those who consider him a weirdo were passer-bies only), I can well see him learning his lesson about this one of his flaws the hard way as well. He did have one strong scene though (see below).
As for the date invitation, the development was great. At breakfast Suzuka dropped a hint about her day off just in time for Yamato to make plans; note that she must know about Yamato having received the same free tickets as well, and she already did so when surprisingly picking up Yamato for dinner (offering him an opportunity to invite her without witnesses, which the boy let slip through his fingers). Suzuka seems to be actively pulling the strings while not ever exposing herself during the process - quite a cool performance so far. Later at the staircase Suzuka could easily have walked around Yamato but she wants to start a conversation; she must have come to term with the fact it's her task to smooth the way for the shy boy: She's not exactly inviting him but gives him the option to "buy" her company by politely asking for it. Yamato didn't exactly play along - but it was close enough, so be it.
Note how Yamato's "I only subscribed for a month" might be taken as "I only subscribed to get the free tickets" by Suzuka, provoking her to mock Yamato by telling him how she got those same tickets without subscribing... there's some kind of permanent power struggle going on between these two: None of them wants to lose face (note how she insists on carrying the bag by herself on their way home!). Suzuka tore strips of Yamato so many times already that the boy instinctively fights back in the most improper situations, such as making it now sound as if he'd only accompany her to do her a favour (instantly regretting his wording of course). Suzuka isn't stupid though - Yamato did hesitate enough times already when talking to her, and she seems to enjoy 'slapping' him (by turning his exact words against him) and accepting his company at the same time. And as to put him in his proper place, she threatens to ditch him if he doesn't obey her orders, claiming her victory at the end of this nice little battle of wits. If that's her true character, then Suzuka might be considered a bitch (and Honoka would be a nice remedy); but she might actually be testing Yamato as to find out what the boy is capable of, and whether she could turn him into a reliable partner for her (note how many times Suzuka tries to educate Yamato during their date, using the carrot as well as the stick). Or maybe she simply doesn't have Yamato on her 'serious' radar at this point in time and just enjoys teasing him (which would be quite disappointing not only for Yamato but for the audience as well). Hopefully we'll learn about this later in the series.
Suzuka lecturing Yamato about being frank means preaching water while drinking wine herself. She's sending out ambiguous signals all day, then sulks when Yamato misinterprets them. After all it was her who took the boy's hand, and when noticing his firmer grip, she smiled - thus encouraging Yamato to confess, which Suzuka obviously wasn't prepared for. Her interpretation of this being a joke came so fast that she can't possibly have considered any alternative at this moment (which should be the most frustrating scene for Yamato during the whole episode IMHO). Instead of joking out of the situation at this point, Yamato clenched his teeth and went all the way to confirm his statement - his first real proof of having a spine!
That's where the situation gets out of hand for Suzuka for the first time. Yamato's "I really don't get her at all" proves a lot more true than the boy is aware of in his current state of despair. Then again, just like Yamato at the end of this episode I'm asking: What's the boy actually weeping about? Suzuka neither told him that she hates him (instead we believe he's "her type", as Miyamoto told us in episode 5), nor that she doesn't want a boyfriend, nor that she already has one (which might be the tricky part of the matter, given the photo in her room). Instead, Suzuka's reply is: 1. "You're joking, right?" (Yamato: "No, I'm not.") 2. "That's all too sudden for me" (i. e. "I need more time"; Yamato: "I don't, I already knew that I love you when I first met you.") 3. "You're being serious?" (Yamato: No reply, he confirmed it already.) Then she withdraws her hand and apologizes. I didn't hear her say "no" - so her "need more time" might still be standing, and should even encourage Yamato to continue loving her, conceding her the time to become familiar with the idea. No need for rushing things, now that he found the courage to speak his mind. And no reason for snivelling, I'd say.
Ah, Yasunobu at the end of the episode... I am happy to repeat myself: This guy is cool! He's the most funny element of the show for me so far, with the cool remarks whenever the mood is on the verge of turning gloomy, and always having the appropriate gadget at hand. Just look at his style of "conversation" in this episode!
No appearance of Honoka-chan this time - but she'll be back soon, hopefully offering to heal Yamato's wounds...