Tada Never Falls in Love
Episode 11

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Tada Never Falls in Love ?

Episode 11 is an episode I really want to like. There's a lot of great character stuff here, and the emotions beyond the story it tells are powerful. Unfortunately, my issue with the episode is so central to how everything else in it plays out, and even its best moments are reliant upon that shaky core. I just can't accept that it takes months for anyone to say anything about Teresa and Alec's sudden departure.

It's already out of character for these two girls to just up and leave without saying goodbye to anyone. So why does no one think to look into this? Why do they just accept it as normal? Why don't they try to contact them? Sure, there's a chance that they're using different phones in Japan vs. Larsenburg to avoid expensive roaming costs, but don't they have their e-mails? Social media accounts? Wouldn't the close friends they made in Japan have been given access to those at some point? For most of the episode, everyone treats the situation like Teresa and Alec died rather than simply moved away, which makes its first two-thirds or so feel really weird.

To be clear, I'm largely not talking about Tada's behavior. Everything that's been previously established about him suggests that he's a pretty passive dude, the type who would accept his crush's sudden departure from his life as just a thing that happens to people like him. The baggage he has over his parents' death makes this even more clear, and I liked the way this episode shed light on how he feels about this near the end. It's understandable and sad that he worries everyone he cares for will leave him. It's easy to feel for Tada, and I can see why the episode chooses to linger on those feelings—yet another element Tada Never Falls in Love is trying to make up for now that it should've done episodes ago. Fleshing out Tada in this way makes him feel more human, and less like a perfectly bland love interest. I get this whole thing from Tada's side.

What I don't get are the reactions of everyone else around him. Why don't any of his friends or family try to contact Teresa or learn what happened? It's been clear for episodes now that everyone knows about Tada's crush on her, especially those nearest and dearest to him. Given how much Tada's clearly wallowing in sadness over this, no one thought to do anything about it for his sake? That's what makes this episode's prolonged angst not work for me. It's one thing for a few days to pass without anyone realizing something is off, but it's quite another for this to go on for months. Tada has friends and family who really care about him and seem attentive to his needs (especially in his family's case). That they wouldn't think to do anything about this is puzzling to me. Plus, they all cared about Teresa too. They don't try to learn about her sudden disappearance just for themselves either?

So this episode of Tada Never Falls in Love is basically a microcosm of larger issues with the series, particularly its pacing and timing. It took too long to set this main romance in motion, and when it got there, it didn't get enough room to breathe before wasting time with episodic nonsense. The series stalled for time by focusing on Tada and Teresa's friends, but it didn't take their stories seriously enough to justify spreading the spotlight so thin. (Speaking of which, are we going to get any resolution on our B-romance between Hajime and Hinako? I hope Tada Never Falls in Love didn't spend all that time on a story that went nowhere.) So even this episode has its own pacing issues, as we take an entire episode to get to the resolution of something that should have been dealt with in half the time. There's only one episode left for Tada to make his way to Larsenburg, explore this foreign setting, and confess his feelings to Teresa. This would have made more sense to give more wiggle room.

On that note, the one thing I do find less plausible about Tada's emotions also has to do with timing. Why does it take him months to even show any real physical reaction to his feelings for Teresa? I get that he's a laid-back guy who doesn't think he deserves to pursue the things he wants, but it would make sense to have him at least express this conflict more quickly. Instead, his reactions to seeing the video of Teresa suggests that he's having some sort of revelation about his feelings for her, which seems odd to me. There's just so much about the timeline of this episode that doesn't ring true.

This leaves me feeling a little sour about an installment I really wanted to like, which also sums up my feelings on Tada Never Falls in Love in general. The series has so many elements that hyped me up going into it, stuff that's present in some of my favorite anime romcoms, but the execution consistently fell flat. There's a lot of promise here, but the end result amounted to a big wad of forgettable nothing. Even if the finale is spectacular and the perfect heartwarming conclusion to Tada and Teresa's romance, I don't think it can salvage this show overall.

Rating: C+

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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