My Love Story!!
Episode 21

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 21 of
My Love Story!! ?

Now that Takeo and Yamato have made it through the major milestones of their blissful romance, it's time. Time to find a love interest for Sunakawa, Takeo's long-suffering best friend. Well, "long-suffering" might not be the best word, because Suna doesn't exactly seem to want a girlfriend. He's had plenty of girls ask him out and turned them down to hang out with Takeo instead. Still, it's clear up front that Yukika is different. Her interest in Suna is different, and she doesn't have the traits that caused him to reject the other girls. She's also the focus of this episode. So it's clear that her crush on Suna will be handled differently, too.

The first big difference with Yukika is that she doesn't dislike Takeo. For some strange reason, all sorts of girls thought they could endear themselves to Suna by asking him to choose between them and his friendship. Not only were these girls not interested in Takeo in the first place, but they often said mean things about him behind his back. Of course Suna wouldn't be interested, no matter how cute they were—he's a good friend. So it helps that Yukika is actually Takeo's friend before she ever makes a move on Suna. She may not be into Takeo, but she enjoys his company. She even envies his relationship with Yamato, and ends up asking her for advice on getting Suna's attention too. If this all works out, I see many cute double dates in their futures.

Additionally, despite not talking to Suna for ten years (oh shojo), she actually knows him better than any of the other girls. Yukika doesn't just like Suna because he's cute. She likes him for who he is: a kind, giving person who would let himself be taken out in dodgeball, his best sport, just to save a girl's glasses from being broken. Ever since then, she's loved him and observed him from afar, and he continued to live up to her expectations. Her expectations were actually built around Sunakawa. That's what she says when Takeo asks her about her feelings. She knows the real him, and knows that he's what she wants. What more could a guy want than that?

Still, there's the matter of getting this extremely shy girl to finally stick up for herself and say what she feels. Like with the Christmas episode, we get to see Takeo play matchmaker again. Only this time, he's doing it as a solo act, not with the help of Yamato, and it's even better to see how pushy he is in trying to get Yukika and Suna together (or at least get Yukika to confess her feelings). Of course, being the wonderful person he is, Takeo still respects their right to decide for themselves, letting Suna know it's okay if he's not interested and doesn't want to go on a date with Yukika. Instead, Suna tells him that if he didn't want to, he'd just say "no."

I don't know if Suna has secretly noticed Yukika hanging around his periphery, but he clearly feels some fondness for her. He's not just being a nice person willing to give this a shot. We actually see that he's saved all the weird cards she's sent him over the years. With all the pushy and catty girls vying for his attention, clearly the anonymous weirdo was going to stand out one way or another. Perhaps it's because of his friendship with Takeo, formerly luckless-in-love weirdo that he is, that Suna sees this gesture as so endearing. Either way, it's yet another testament to what a sweetheart he is. He's even more deserving of his own happy ending.

This illustrates perfectly what makes My Love Story!! so special. Just as Takeo isn't a normal male romantic lead, Yukika isn't a normal female love interest, either. There are plenty of shy shojo heroines, but rarely ones as anxious as she is. She's also suggested to be on the mousy side. Yukika is not exactly a "female Takeo," but she is an awkward girl who (hopefully) can still end up with the bishonen dream boy. That's a really nice way to round out this sweet story.

Everyone in My Love Story!!'s main cast is really nice and easy to root for, whether they're traditionally good-looking or not. The point of the show is that we're all more than our appearances, even if they define how the world treats us sometimes. I'm not sure exactly where the Suna-Yukika relationship is going; My Love Story!! always has an unexpected twist up its sleeve. But this show is too sugary not to make something nice out of it. It's finally Suna's love story now, not just Takeo's, and I expect My Love Story!! to have just as much fun with it.

Rating: A-

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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