Will they? Won't they? As we head into the home stretch, we're so close and yet no where at all. Hopefully, with Kota officially kicked off the boat, Mako will open up a can of whoop--ahem--butt, and will go get her man!

Stephanie: This episode was like a rollercoaster.

Downside: This entire episode falls under ‘If only they’d talked to each other.’ Which gives me a case of the cranky pants.

Upside: Loved, loved, loved seeing Kota having a regular relationship with a woman (even if it wasn't Mako). There was nary an inkling of Kota crushing or having crushed on his former teacher. Aww… he’s grown so much!

Downside: I now HATE the purser. And in this respect, I’m fairly similar to a certain Mr. Darcy where, “My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” I had issues with his whinyness in the last episode dealing with the sisters ex-boyfriend, but this episode takes the cake. Yes, I know he’s only doing what others have set out for him, but the fact that he kicked Kota off the boat without letting him speak, without explaining, made it all about him, rather than the person who’s being done wrong. It’s cowardly. And Kota deserved better than that.

Upside: As much as I hate the fact Kota was kicked off the boat, I like the idea that the time he actually does leave the boat he’s being removed by someone else's whim rather than his own.

Downside: I was a little cranky that Kota is gone without saying anything to anyone. He may not have started out on the boat for good reasons, but he became close to the other people there. It makes me think that the purser wouldn’t let him say goodbye. If he kicks Kota off the boat when everyone was asleep, when they realize he’s gone it’s too late and he’ll be able blame the disappearance on Kota himself. “See, he’s always said he was going to go, he finally did it.”

Upside: Kota asked Mako out on a date! Yes, I would have liked more furtive glances, a little build up, but with this show we be willing to take whatever we can get. Besides, it’s a Christmas Eve date--and we all know the significance in that. At first I was cranky that she didn’t accept at first, but the scene was actually really cute. If only he hadn’t been kicked of the boat…

Unnichan: Like the last few episodes, the individuals in the arcs ruffle my feathers but what we learn about Kota smooths them over. For the appearance of Takiyama-sensei put the final romantic pieces in place, but Haruko’s misunderstanding with Hisamatsu-san was irritating, given he was determined to purposefully misunderstand her.

I could understand if she was shirking her responsibilities and closing the clinic with no notice or hope of return, and zero provisions in place, but this wasn’t the case. I’m sure he felt disappointed and betrayed and though it’s fine to feel that way, perhaps even justified, his actions, attitude and assumptions were inappropriate--- the fact it’s revealed she’s sick and needs surgery, changed nothing.

But the highlight was meeting someone who knew Kota’s character so well and wasn’t at all surprised his concern for her would lead him to investigate and question her decision. I’ve always felt that Kota is a character I’d love to spend more time with, delving into what’s underneath his dimwit shenanigans--- and as always, I’m sad we won’t get the chance for all of that.

I love that with this episode we get further confirmation that Kota’s “dalliance” issue has always been rejection, for it’s easier to run after the unknown, than be vulnerable and seek to attain something you really want, running the risk of losing a good thing. Haruko left us all with a couple seeds to nibble on, which I believe spurred Kota to take the initiative to ask Mako out. I had a feeling this was coming with his statement last week and then meeting Haruko-sensei, it was pretty inevitable.

My heart went out to Akira-san, for both he and Kota were blindsided with this evil faxed transfer and hated to be the one to let him go but I’m sure it’ll just give our crew an opportunity to show Kota he’s a valuable member of the Kashin-maru and well, that’ll be a pretty awesome Kota Christmas gift.

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