My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 14 of
My Love Story!! ?
It's good to get closure. It's especially good to get closure when it comes to romantic feelings. It saves you ages of agony and makes it way easier to move on to somebody else. That's what Oda has in mind when he pushes Ai to confess her feelings to Takeo. Only then will she be able to switch her interests (hopefully to him).
However, things are a little different when the object of your affections is currently attached. Then it's a little rude and selfish to pipe in with your own desires. You put them in an awkward position—especially if they do sort of share your feelings, but even if they don't. Besides, in those cases you already have all the closure you should need. They don't or can't return your feelings. It takes a little longer to move on than in the case of a direct rejection, and that's what Ai has realized is necessary. Oda does everything possible to push her toward telling Takeo how she feels, but she doesn't. Even if it takes a sudden interruption to make her see the light, she made the right decision in the end.
Episode 14 does a lot to show how much Ai has grown as a character since her previous appearance. She really has accepted that Takeo likes somebody else. She still has feelings for him, because those things don't go away overnight, but we get a better sense this week that they will eventually fade. I doubt that Oda will get what he wants even when she does get over Takeo, though.
Actually, I grew to really dislike Oda this episode. He stopped at nothing to exact his plan of getting Ai to confess. He even put the other characters in danger by robbing them of their phones! I know My Love Story!! wants me to think it's all in good fun and, burning restaurant episode aside, nothing bad is really going to happen to anyone here. (Even if it did, Takeo would rush in to rescue everyone with his superhuman powers.) The real issue is Oda's intent. I can't see him as a good boyfriend for Ai if he's this selfish, and willing to risk so much just for the chance that she might finally return his interest. He's also not very clued-in to her if he can't see that she's accepted Takeo's rejection in her own way, and just needs time to process it. "Closure" doesn't mean what he thinks it does.
I appreciate that My Love Story!! didn't do the easy thing here. I was expecting that Ai would confess to Takeo by the end of the episode, but it chose a more realistic and harmonious option to defy that. I also keep wondering if the series is going to push Oda and Ai together romantically, but it doesn't seem to be heading in that direction. He's interested, but she's clearly not. She will move on from Takeo, but I doubt it will be to Oda.
The romantic conflict was the meat of this episode, but My Love Story!! had a lot of fun along the way. The amusement park is a playful send-up of Disney World, so we got some great visuals with Takeo and Yamato in mouse-ears, and everyone's reactions to the crazy rides. My Love Story!! really excels at character expression. Even if everyone except Takeo has the same pretty shojo face, the anime shows its range when it's time for strong emotions. My favorite moment is when Takeo and Ai get on the drop ride. She freaks out while his face goes serious and lights up as he searches for Yamato. The visual highlight of the episode was, of course, Yamato and Takeo finding each other at the end. It could be treacly for them to tumble into each other's arms, but it works like the perfect cherry on top of My Love Story's fluffy sundae.
There's really only so much to say about this show outside of the new plot points week by week. My Love Story!! continues to be great in the same ways. It's a beautiful-looking, sweet shojo romance that explores every facet of teenage love. Rounding out the cast gives us a window into perspectives outside of the main trio and makes it easier for the series to generate conflict without making things too contrived. So no matter where Takeo and Yamato go next in their adventures, My Love Story!! always has something new up its sleeve.
My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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