Tada Never Falls in Love
Episode 10

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Tada Never Falls in Love ?

This is the episode of Tada Never Falls in Love we should have had weeks ago. Finally, we get exclusive focus on our main couple and the chemistry between them. Tada and Teresa metric ton of chemistry has been evident since the first episode, but their bland faultlessness often made their rapport frustrating. (Their sole fault seems to be their inability to confess to each other, which is to be expected to keep this show going.) If Tada Never Falls in Love had focused on fleshing them out earlier, we wouldn't have to be doing all this legwork now.

Episode 10 centers on Tada and Teresa's date at Rainbow Shogun Live. The Rainbow Shogun gags have been the funniest recurring jokes on this show, so making them the centerpiece of a date episode was a smart choice. We even see the presumably "real" Rainbow Shogun along the margins, reminding us that he's been present throughout the show. He helps Teresa win a shooting game where she keeps striking out, so she gets his signature inverted-rainbow fan to take home. Even if it's not an anime, "Rainbow Shogun Live" is similar to a lot of anime fan events in Japan. There is an exhibition of props and other items from the series, a themed café, (everything is rainbow-colored, of course!) and a stage show where actors play out possible scenarios from the show. If you've seen ANN's event coverage on recent popular series like Devilman Crybaby and Yuri on Ice, you know what these exhibitions look like, even if you've never been to one yourself.

This framing device gives us chances to see more about these characters' personalities and learn more about their backstories. We've heard a lot about how Tada's parents' tragic death impacted him and his sister, but this is the first time I think we've really delved into his feelings about the situation. Tada is still grappling with the guilt that people often feel about their actions before, during, and after a traumatic death, specifically that he wishes he'd made his parents leave later and then maybe they wouldn't have died. I also appreciate that this comes up organically, since Tada Never Falls in Love has often felt like it shoehorned in this topic. Tada and Teresa are trapped inside when it starts raining, and Tada remarks that so many of their solo meetings have occurred on rainy days. Then he remembers that it was raining the day his parents died, too.

Overall, this is a stronger level of character writing than Tada Never Falls in Love has shown up to this point. While there are still some cartoonish flourishes (because where would an anime comedy be without them), Tada and Teresa act much more like real people this week. For perhaps the first time, they felt believable as ordinary teenagers falling in love. Even the ending of their date felt honest, when they come so close to confessing but cop out. The way it was executed felt true to how people make that mistake in real life, rather than just being another manipulative cliffhanger.

This made the actual cliffhanger at the end of the episode stand out, of course. It makes sense to suddenly shuffle Teresa and Alec back to Larsenburg, though it seems to come much more suddenly than we were led to believe. (Supposedly it's for a family reason, which I hope is dealt with as an actual storyline rather than just an excuse.) It gives Tada and Teresa a chance to fight for their love, now that she's in an environment that will be less open to her impulsively falling for a guy she met over study-abroad. Will Tada fly to Larsenburg to win her over? I'm not sure if he has it in him to be that brash. Teresa returning to Japan seems more likely, even if it's the less exciting route. Either way, this twist should force the two into some sort of confession in the series' grand finale.

The frustrating part of this episode is that it's so well-done, proving that the series really could have been better in the lead-up. With more focus on the show's core funny gags (everything involving Nyanko Big and Rainbow Shogun) and the romantic drama, it could have been more sweet and memorable. Alas, they decided to squander their potential with tired high-school comedy clichés instead, but at least it's getting back on track in its final episodes. I feel more assured that Tada Never Falls in Love will have a strong finale, but I still wish that everything around it had been as satisfying.

Rating: A

Tada Never Falls in Love is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

Rose is a Ph.D. student in musicology, who recently released a book about the music of Cowboy Bebop. You can also follow her on her Twitter.

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