Tada Never Falls in Love
Episode 7

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Tada Never Falls in Love ?

This week we get yet another episode starring the show's best character, Nyanko Big, when our favorite fat cat decides to run away in pursuit of his lady-love, Cherry-chan. When Yui and Tada discover that their boy is gone, they enlist all their friends to help. If Tada Never Falls in Love is going to continue with one-off episodic adventures, they could certainly do a lot worse.

First of all, I just want to say that this show really gets cat owners. Calling a cat's favorite foxtail-on-a-stick toy his "girlfriend" is 100% a relatable thing. One of my cats is obsessed with the Christmas tree skirt and drags it out from under the tree every year, so my friends and I call it "his waifu." Less believable is how long Nyanko Big's toy has lasted. It's confirmed this week that Nyanko Big is 10 years old, and they say he's had this toy since he was a kitten. No. It may be weathered a lot, but that's not ten years of play-damage. Cats don't just carry around their favorite toys like a child's stuffed animal, they roughhouse them mercilessly. My cats would have the foxtail detached from the string in less than a week.

The other star of the week is Tada's younger sister Yui. So far, we've mostly just known her to hover her around her big brother, but now we get a greater glimpse into how she ticks. Yui is obsessed with a series of novels called "Sunflower Express," which seem to be old-fashioned mystery capers. The heroine of her books is an Agatha Christie reference, with her last name "Poiron" not being far from Hercule Poirot. Yui fancies herself a sleuth too, so she sees Nyanko Big's big journey as an opportunity to show off her skills. Plus she just misses her kitty and wants him back.

Nyanko Big is getting older and it's suggested that "old cats like to go on a journey," suggesting that he's getting close to the age when he'll die. Yui loves her pet and isn't ready to acknowledge that yet, so she wants to prove he'll be okay. She turns out to be right, but there's an interesting theme about fear of change/growing up that I wouldn't be surprised if the show returns to for a future episode. I just hope it's not in a way that puts our feline hero in danger.

Tada and Yui end up bringing the whole gang together to solve the case, even Charles, who seems to be just another member of the friend group now. For the most part, this episode moves forward like the previous one had basically no impact, which was disappointing, but there are hints that things have changed between Tada and Teresa. When they first meet each other, they give each other embarrassed glances—just like two shy teens with a crush would act. It's cute. I wish the show hadn't dropped it so quickly, with them acting the same as ever once Teresa joins their squad. By the way, she quickly drops her planned meeting with Charles because she can't not help her friends find their cat. She claims it's for Nyanko Big's sake, but it's also clear where Teresa's priorities lie now.

Tada Never Falls in Love likes to use its supporting character romances to comment on Tada and Teresa's potential love connection. It's fumbled this in the past, accidentally making something like Pin and Hasegawa's secret feelings more interesting than its central relationship. After all, we actually see that romance in action, whereas Tada and Teresa were still holding their cards too close to their chest. After last episode, which put more wind in the main couple's sails, it's easier to notice that plot developing. All of these relationships are being held back by something, from Hasegawa's double-life as her crush's favorite idol to Teresa's position and her real reasons for coming to Japan. Nyanko Big's boldness in his feelings for "Cherry-chan" works as a foil to all this. He has no trouble literally jumping into her window, with his favorite toy in hand, ready to gift it to her. Awww. It's too bad the window is closed, and Cherry-chan probably isn't interested.

The implication is that all of these kids, especially the main pair, could learn something from this determined kitty. If you really like someone and want a relationship with them, you should be honest about your feelings. And while rejection can sting, it's better than wallowing in your feelings forever. Anyway, it doesn't look like Nyanko Big is ready to give up yet, as he's still racing around town with his foxtail "girlfriend" in paw. Now if only our human characters could stop mooning over how much they relate to his quest and figure out their own relationships. Unless it's truly hopeless, like Yamashita's seems to be—but he'd still probably be better off if he actually said something rather than assuming.

This episode was a cute side trip away from the main plot. I have been frustrated with Tada Never Falls in Love's refusal to cut to the chase, when its main storyline is still so underdeveloped. Fortunately, Nyanko Big's journey doesn't feel as disconnected as past one-off episodes. Next week looks like more plot, so let's hope it can stick that landing.

Rating: B+

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 Twitter.

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