Tada Never Falls in Love
Episode 6

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Tada Never Falls in Love ?

This episode of Tada Never Falls in Love is definitely a step up from the previous four. We're back to the main plot! You can see some actual conflict on the horizon! At the same time, too much of the show is rushing to make up for lost time, so sometimes it feels like too little for the series' halfway point.

The biggest example of this shows up in Tada and Teresa's romance. Now, perhaps Teresa's royal lineage doesn't add much to the story for some, and I understand that completely. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for stories about royalty more generally; I watch a ton of The Crown. Unfortunately, neither Teresa nor Tada have much personality yet. Roman Holiday gave the audience reasons to be invested in Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's romance beyond just the fairy-tale angle. Most of our American fascination with European royalty (and presumably Japanese fascination as well) comes from the great distance between us, making the premise feel like even more of a fantasy.

More importantly, while it's clear they've been a designated couple from day one, the show hasn't put much work into their chemistry. Sure, there were always hints that they liked each other, but they were relatively subtle moments that could just as easily put wind in their friendship sails. I find it believable that Tada would be sad about Teresa and Charles because he has feelings for her already—but I don't get his family's strong reaction. It's not just the reaction of family members who want to find him a girlfriend, but who've noticed how he feels about her. Would they really, given how subtle he has been around her? Everyone this episode just starts acting like Tada and Teresa must like each other, even before their romantic rendezvous at the end. I'm not buying it.

That said, Charles and his new conflict is a welcome addition to the show. Most romances set up the "romantic false lead" as unlikable or at least unappealing to smooch. They might be sympathetic in their own right, but they're still obviously "wrong" for their intended compared to the real love interest. We don't see any of that with Charles yet. He's a genial guy who immediately gets along with everyone in Teresa's social circle. He seems to both have real affection for her while also being considerate of her boundaries and personal desires. That doesn't mean that Teresa wants to marry him, but it does make things more complicated for the audience. Charles might even be my favorite non-feline cast member so far. He perfectly combines Teresa and Tada's incorruptible niceness with a more flamboyant reminiscent of Kaoru. Charles is the perfect middle-ground between the show's inoffensive-but-bland protagonists, and its more fun yet annoying supporting characters.

So what will eventually drive him and Teresa apart? By all accounts, he's a catch. It could be simply a lack of feelings on her part, although Teresa seems so dutiful and self-sacrificing (a perfect future queen!) that I doubt her own desires would be enough of a dealbreaker. Of course, there are hints of another twist, as characters discuss just how much Teresa and Charles look alike. The resemblance is indeed striking. Perhaps they are related? Maybe their marriage is a political one between cousins that neither of them actually wants, but they do what they can to keep up appearances for now. Maybe neither of them knows about their shared lineage but will find out later. Alec also gets pretty flustered around Charles, so maybe she has feelings for him. This now makes three people that she's been hinted to possibly have feelings for, so as cold and above-it-all as she tries to come off, Alec's been doing pretty well for herself.

The fancy party was a great excuse to get everyone into suits and cocktail dresses. Tada and Teresa's little "date" in the rain is adorable, and it does a lot to increase my investment in this romance. I just wish that it had happened a few episodes ago, rather than through smaller personal conversations that mostly gave off "friendship" vibes. The halfway point is the perfect time to expand the show's world and introduce a romantic rival, but it's not the right time to start building up your central couple for the first time. Still, episode 6 is one of the strongest episodes of Tada Never Falls in Love so far. It just could have delivered on all that promise a little earlier.

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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