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When Will Ayumu Make His Move?
Episode 11

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 11 of
When Will Ayumu Make His Move? ?
Community score: 3.8

What I've discovered about When Will Ayumu Make His Move? is that I tend to get the most enjoyment out of it when it is focusing on a really specific aspect of the experience of young love. There's not much comedy or pathos to be mined from a pair of kids just sort of hanging out and playing a board game that I only barely understand the rules of (Thanks, Yakuza: Like a Dragon!), but it's a different story when the show can tap into the more impactful milestones of high school romance. “I Want to Get Stronger, Senpai" isn't the most adorable episode of the show, by any means, but it does take advantage of Urushi's senior class trip to mine from one of the most relatable stages of having a major crush at Ayumu and Urushi's age: that feeling of wanting nothing more than to be with the person you love, despite being miles apart.

Granted, Ayumu is getting a lot of free points resonating with my own high school nostalgia, but that's just the nature of these kinds of romance shows. Besides, the episode could use those bonus points, since the actual content of Urushi's trip divorced from her missing Ayumu is pretty disappointing. The bit with Urushi getting swarmed by deer was cute enough, but too much of the episode was taken up with tired and not particularly funny extended jokes about Urushi's small boobs. And look, I was one of a handful of guys in our school's theater crew; I've heard the kind of shit that teenaged girls talk about when the adults aren't around. I just wish Urushi"s conversations with her friends didn't feel like they were nothing more than a pile of clichés compiled by a fully grown man.

Maki gets to earn a bit of redemption when she plays some shogi with her lonely gal pal, though, and it's a nice parallel to how Rin and Takeru do their best to keep Ayumu occupied, even though he obviously wants nothing more than to give Urushi a call and spend some time with her. That's relatable as hell, as is the scene where Urushi is waiting up for any sign of her favorite club member, only to be hoodwinked by a push notification from her LINE app. We've all been there, girl.

My one other major pet peeve has less to do with what the episode does than with what it doesn't do. I know I've been harping on how much I like it when the show sells the emotions of the kids as they navigate these specific emotional touchstones, but the episode ends before we actually get to see Urushi and Ayumu talk, and all I could wonder is why on earth that moment is treated like a cliffhanger. Is the season finale going to be dedicated entirely to their phone call? That would be an interesting way to close out the season, I guess, though I don't necessarily trust this show to make it the most compelling material ever.

Still, this was a very decent episode of When Will Ayumu Make His Move?, and not a half-bad way to lead us into the end of the series. In true Ayumu fashion, it's not liable to set anyone's world on forever, but it is cute enough to get the job done.


When Will Ayumu Make His Move? is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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