Oh dear… I’m starting to regret calling Naoki a sloth. Though emotionally, he will always remain a sloth in my mind. Just what is it about this boy that makes him so reserved all the time? I ask this even after watching this fabulously explosive episode. Why does it take a plot device to make Naoki reveal his true motivations? Why must it take Kotoko being threatened for Naoki to make his big break?
It makes me wonder, if Naoki really was aware of Kotoko and Sudo following them the entire time, just when was he going to admit this? If the creeper shirt guy hadn’t suddenly appeared, would Naoki have continued on with his date and calmly taken Yuko home? Or would he have eventually given up the game and admitted it all before the day was done?
I can only come to a few conclusions:
A – Naoki really is just a super slow mover, naturally reserved, and thanks to his mom’s overly outgoing personality, he’s constantly trying to protect himself from getting the “feels.” Maybe it’s like the cooties or something.
But I don’t like this answer. Why? Because we’ve just watched him overexerting himself for two episodes when it comes to Kotoko: from making time to teach her to tennis, to getting super romantic with Yuko to purposefully make Kotoko jealous. Why end it by basically backhanding her with his “I don’t mind living with you” statement, and then moving out. Why, Naoki? Why? This leads me to:
B – Naoki is terrified of girls, and can’t figure out how to be honest with them.
This one seems pretty good, right? Think about it. It all goes back to that boy in the playground who likes a girl, so he pushes her off the swing set. Only it’s not like Naoki has been ignorantly hurting Kotoko all this time by inadvertently saying mean things. He’s known since day one that she likes him, and yet he still pretends to be cruel. On to my third conclusion:
C – Naoki’s a player, and he likes to make girls cry.
I’m kidding. But sometimes, he does make me wonder…
Anyone have any answers? Right now I’m going for a combination of A, B and C. Which is, D – Naoki’s a product of Manga/Dramaland and will never be as clear-cut as I actually want him to be.
I’m sad to see Kin-chan left out of this episode so much, in as much as his character makes a reversal in maturity since episode 7. Then I really adored his deep understanding and heartfelt attempt to become Kotoko’s confidante, even though he really needs to give up already. Episode 8 just brought out more and more misguided antics with the listening device, and being persuaded that Kotoko would really go on an erotic date. I get it. This is mostly a comedy, and up until recently Kin-chan has been the go-to-buffoon. Now though, Sudo is taking up that role in Kin’s place, while Kin is just left around to do stupid things and then be tragic about it.
Confession time: It seems like I didn’t like this episode, but that’s not true at all. This is one of my favorites so far. My brain tends to analyze things from a should-be-logical standpoint, but my heart was fangirling the entire hour. The entire double-stalker-date, and especially the scene inside the movie theater had me cringing with glee as Kotoko prevented all those oh-so-not-sly movies Yuko kept trying out on Naoki. And yes, I did a huge “WHOOOP” when Naoki grabbed Kotoko’s hand and ran. And I cried when he asked her to go with him somewhere.
Because sometimes, Naoki really is just a sweetie. If only he’d pick one emotion and stick with it, I could understand him a little more.
End note: If this were a melodrama, I would say this was foreshadowing - all those awkward moments where Kotoko literally runs around in circles looking for Naoki. I know he didn’t really leave her, and it was only to fetch her some food, but considering every other scene before and after, wasn’t it just odd? And somehow a little sad?
Pity the girl who for a moment really did believe Naoki would leave her.
Good thing I remember where this drama is headed!
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