My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
After two whoppers of emotional turmoil, it's time for My Love Story!! to chill out. This week features a cutesy camping trip for our besotted couple. There's nothing but warm fuzzies here, even when our characters are attacked by wild boars. It's no big deal, because Takeo uses his muscles to literally throw the thing out of the way. This episode is just a showcase for how perfect and adorable Takeo and Yamato are—which I guess you could say about every episode of this show. However, with this one, that's really all there is to it.
At least, that's true of the scenes that focus on our couple. Takeo frets over keeping Yamato safe when he figures out that they have to spend the night in the mountains. Meanwhile, Yamato can't control her emotions over spending the night with her boyfriend ohmigosh!!!! Takeo looks at her and just thinks she's worried. You'd think that he'd have learned better by now, right? As he combs through tall grass like a human lawnmower, Yamato daydreams about how wonderful it would be if they could just live in the wild together forever. She imagines them as cavemen cooking mushrooms with tiny baby Takeos dancing around the pot. I don't really understand that fantasy myself, but more power to you if that's your thing, Yamato.
There's only so much I can say about Yamato and Takeo's side of the plot. As cute as it is to watch Yamato's bizarre flights of fancy or see Takeo surrounded by adorable forest creatures like a Disney princess, it's just a mountain of fluff. It is exactly what the doctor ordered after the tumult of previous weeks, of course. I like when My Love Story!! gets serious and shows that it can be more than just a pile of good feelings. However, I'm still mostly coming here for the cuddly-ness. My Love Story!! is beloved for moments like Yamato working up the strength to kiss her boyfriend, and turning red from the intensity of her feelings. Takeo gets a hilarious mirror of this at the end of the episode, exploding with comic book sound effects while describing his feelings. It's cute and funny, but it's really only that. Luckily, that's not the only thing this show (and particularly this episode) has going for it.
The most inspired part of this week's installment was the decision to intersperse Takeo and Yamato's woodland adventures with what their friends and family were doing at the same time. In the "Meanwhile…" segments, we checked in on Yamato's friends, Takeo's parents and, of course, Suna. In spite of being the most important character, Suna was the least exciting part of all this: he spent the entire day reading. It was the other two segments where this episode really shines.
Takeo's parents' segment showed how much his parents are aware of their son's independence. They don't seem fazed at all by him disappearing for a whole day. To be fair, I wouldn't either if my child was as superhumanly strong as Takeo. Still, it offers an interesting picture into the Gouda family. Yamato's friends were the really fun part of this week. They're in the midst of a sleepover where they're discussing their crushes and boyfriends, including Yamato's. (They decide that Takeo isn't the cutest, but he sure is manly!) Then Yamato's mom calls to ask where she is. The girls "cover for her" by saying she's with them, and things get really giggly.
It's funny how much this episode dances around the subject of sex. Yamato's excitement over spending the night alone with Takeo and sleeping next to him is clearly all about that, while still making it feel completely innocent. I've said before that I like how My Love Story!! isn't afraid to let its heroine show desire, and this episode built on that further. More to the point, the part with Yamato's friends is all about how they think she's spending the night in a bed with Takeo. She returns to them the next morning regaling them with easy-to-misinterpret lines like "It was my first time!" They really start to lose it when she mentions that she was outside the whole time, but then begin to realize this might not be what they think it is.
Through all this, My Love Story!! makes it clear that Yamato is still sweet and innocent. That's a nice step in the right direction for shojo: its heroine can be adorably naïve and have sexual desires, and the two don't contradict each other. There's a lot about My Love Story!! that its genre would do well to imitate more. Even in an episode that's pure fluff, there's still so much to admire about this series.
My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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