My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 13 of
My Love Story!! ?
My Love Story!!'s episode titles are unusually descriptive of its content, or at least some sort of key to what to expect. So I didn't know what to make of "Today Is On Me" coming into this. I wasn't even sure when it started, as the episode kept switching its focus. It started out as Takeo and Yamato throwing a surprise birthday celebration for Suna. Then, they got to Takeo's restaurant, and other characters were drawn into the fold. That included Ai, Suna's recurring character of a sister.
I'd previously expressed concerns about Ai's role in the story. In her earlier appearances, she fit into some obnoxious shojo stereotypes, and took Takeo and Yamato's story in a concerning direction. My Love Story!! quickly turned that around, and Ai's reappearances since then have been purposeful and interesting. This week continues that trend, now that she's in Takeo's position, dealing with an unwanted admirer. Of course, unlike our oblivious protagonist, she's very aware of her classmate's attention. Ai is frequently embarrassed by him, especially after he nearly spills the beans to her crush about how she feels.
Oda makes an interesting foil to Ai, in a way. His story about how he fell for her parallels hers about Takeo, particularly in his loneliness. I feel odd about the possibility of him and Ai together in the future, given how much Oda doesn't appear to respect her boundaries in the present. Whatever the show does with it, though, I want to see more from these two and how they relate to each other. As for now, I think both of them need some closure on their current feelings. That's where Oda pushes Ai at the end of the episode, encouraging her to confess her feelings to Takeo so she can truly move on to someone else. Oda has a clear ulterior motive, but he's not wrong about what Ai needs here. It actually says a lot about him that he was so perceptive in the first place.
There's a lot of that subtle character- and relationship-building throughout this episode. Oda's perceptiveness shines through again when he zeroes in on why Yamato doesn't want to take Takeo to the amusement park. He does this even though he's just met the girl! The moment also reveals more about Yamato: that she's superstitious. It also shows that Takeo isn't, or at least not in that way: he wasn't even aware of this famous curse.
All this means interesting drama for Takeo and his relationships. That's especially true if Oda's nudge for Ai to confess works out. I'm excited for that next week, because I really have no idea where that's going to go. Ai does seem like she's truly accepted that Takeo doesn't share her feelings. She just needs to give herself permission to try somebody else, and she can only do that with some sort of emotional closure. Still, we're talking about a group of extremely empathetic people here, especially in Takeo and Yamaoto's case when they find out. I'm curious how it will change their relationships with Ai. There's a lot of potential for My Love Story!! with this development, and I don't see it going in any of the genre-typical directions. I don't get that feeling often with shojo romance, and it's thrilling.
My Love Story!! is built on its comedic, episodic segments. However, I'm finding more and more that the dramatic episodes, with ongoing plot development, are what really suck me into this show. It eschews genre clichés in favor of relationship realism, while keeping everything sugary-sweet at the same time. The episode focusing on Suna's dad's surgery was the best example of this so far. Where it's taking Ai and Oda right now could be that next big milestone.
I've found My Love Story!! to be a difficult show to write about week-by-week. It's mostly variations on the same theme. It's good, but in the same way, and it falls just short of greatness. It's these dramatic moments that develop and deepen character relationships that could point My Love Story!! on the road toward that greatness. This show is a lot of fun, but I'd love to see it become something even more than that.
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