My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
It's a day at the beach for Takeo, Yamato, Suna and friends—literally! With summer approaching, they decide to go on a beach trip with all their friends. Yamato and Takeo start with their very different types of planning: Yamato picks out a swimsuit Takeo will like, and Takeo needs Suna to talk him out of bringing survival junk. He learned his lesson from last week a little too well!
There's development this week for Takeo and Yamato's relationship, though nothing unpredictable. They keep moving along at a snail's pace, thanks to Yamato's embarrassment and Takeo's misunderstandings. Still, My Love Story!! keeps refusing to pull punches about how much Yamato desires Takeo. Even her friends who don't quite understand it are happy to help Yamato along. They help her choose a swimsuit that will "make his heart skip a beat" (and later, encourage her to cuddle with Takeo). At the same time, Takeo insists that he won't feel that way, as he chastises his friends for leering at girls. Of course, he's completely powerless at the actual sight of Yamato in a bikini.
The animators have a lot of fun with Yamato and Takeo's reactions to each other half-naked. Yamato gets her usual seas of hearts with a beet-red face, while Takeo's face swims and he completely greys out as he falls over. Most of this series' charm is in its humor, and its best gags are visual gags. Even the other characters get in on the fun this time. Yamato's friends are frequently greyed out in comical ways, in their role as Yamato's Greek chorus. Takeo and Suna's pals look really fluid and goopy as they cheer over the girls in their swimsuits. One of the best sequences involves Suna talking Takeo out of his overreaction to Yamato's swimsuit. His face appears as an outline in a blue void behind Takeo, as an echoing Suna voice reassures Takeo that "it's just clothes."
One thing I really appreciated about this episode's visual language was the framing. Specifically, the way that Takeo taking off his shirt was framed so well through Yamato's gaze. My Love Story!! normally doesn't hesitate at showing off Takeo's physique and power, but when he first goes shirtless, it's shown the way that any other shojo anime would show off a guy like Suna. Even if Takeo isn't your type, My Love Story!! is determined to convince you that he's just as sexy as Yamato sees him. It's nice to see shojo challenging its conventions like this, in a humorous way that's also possibly sexy, depending on your tastes. (On that note, I also thought it was funny when the moms at the beach ogled Takeo as he played with their kids. Yamato didn't get jealous, but instead was thrilled that more of the world saw Takeo the way she does!)
For all the great visual humor, the most stunning moments came near the end, when Yamato and Takeo take their walk alone on the beach. The art does a great job of letting the sunset light Yamato the way Takeo sees her. The colors and shadows enhance both characters' appearances and emphasize their emotions in this moment. I really thought we'd see them kiss! Of course, they're interrupted while Takeo is in mid-exaggerated-pucker.
This episode is full of fluffy feelings, but it rises above last week's mountain of sweetness. It brings so many of My Love Story!!'s best features to the table through its visual language and humor. This lets the characters showcase the best parts of themselves and their appeal to viewers. My Love Story!! isn't doing anything revolutionary, but it continues to be one of the best shows currently airing just by turning on the charm week after week.
My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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