My Love Story!!
Episode 17

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 17 of
My Love Story!! ?

This week on My Love Story!!, we get some Christmas in July. Yes, even though it felt like we were in June for Yamato's birthday just a few weeks ago, life moves much faster in Takeo and Yamato's world of slice-of-life sweetness. Since Christmas is a romantic holiday in Japan, they need to up the ante even more by shifting the focus to two friends with unresolved tension.

The episode starts with a potential non-sequitur: a bunch of bulky gangster dudes talking about Takeo. He's turned into an "urban legend" among them, as this huge teenager with superhuman strength. Then he shows up when they start causing trouble, scaring them off with just how huge he is. Even rumors don't exaggerate Takeo enough! This isn't completely random, though; it comes back later in the episode, when Yamato and her friend Nanako are cornered by these guys during their Christmas party. It's pivotal for establishing the differences between Takeo and Nanako's beau, Kurihara.

Kurihara and Nanako clearly like each other, and it's obvious to their respective friend groups. This makes it everyone's goal, but especially Takeo and Yamato's, to get the two together for Christmas. During their party, the two are constantly shoved into the same situations. They're set up to get each other's gift during the Secret Santa exchange. They get pushed to sing together during karaoke. (Using the show's OP for this was a nice touch.) Just like with Ai's confession a few weeks ago, it doesn't work. As the Supremes once said, you can't hurry love.

Plus, Kurihara and Nanako aren't the same as Yamato and Takeo. It makes sense that they would come to terms with their feelings in a different way than those two did. They aren't in denial about what they feel, so they don't need someone to whack sense into them in order to get them together. There are other hurdles for these two, with Kurihara wondering if he's worthy enough for Nanako, and Nanako wondering if he really cares about her at all. They get together with another callback to an earlier event in the show: the giant Christmas tree. I knew as soon as the star challenge showed up that it would play a role in getting Kurihara and Nanako together. Naturally, he climbs the tree against all odds to prove he's strong enough to win her heart.

She's impressed, but likes him anyway even when he's not trying to be strong. While she got mad at him for grabbing Takeo instead of rescuing her himself, Nanako realizes she likes him for who he is. He feels the same way about her, mentioning that he fell in love with her when she shut down his lame come-ons. He doesn't care that she's not a sweethearted master-baker like Yamato. I really appreciated it, because as wonderful and egalitarian as Takeo and Yamato's relationship can be, they feel like respective paragons of traditional gender roles. My Love Story!! believes that everyone can find love, and it's about finding the person who appreciates you for who you are instead of forcing yourself to fit an ideal.

The difference between the two really plays out once Nanako and Kurihara do get together, and sets up more drama for our main relationship. Takeo and Yamato were THE established couple among their friends, guiding others in finding their romantic potential. Now they're not alone, and Nanako and Kurihara are moving faster. When Nanako mentions that they've already had their first kiss, Yamato gets nervous, realizing she and Takeo haven't achieved that milestone yet, despite all their time together. This could be addressed next week, or it could make for a really sweet season finale. Either way, we're getting close.

All in all, this is yet another typical episode of My Love Story!! As Takeo and Yamato's relationship settles into a pattern, the show shifts its focus to side characters and their romantic foibles. So far, this has been a promising strategy, as all these side plots are interesting. It could run out of steam if the staff (or the source manga) runs out of ideas, but luckily, they've managed to find things that affect our leads, too. There's plenty of room to switch the focus back to the main trio as need be. Right now, I just like seeing where My Love Story!! goes.

Rating: B+

My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Rose is a music Ph.D. student who loves overanalyzing anime soundtracks. Follow her on her media blog Rose's Turn.

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