Here is another anti-fan of Zombie Kotoko, present and accounted for. Oh dear… those dark circles and the shuffle walk of doom. I give some credit to the Mischievous Kiss
makeup department, but no credit to the school-of-overacting-Japanese-drama division, which is unfortunately what some of this episode turned into.
All that aside, I think it’s worth delving into just why this episode featured some of the biggest dramatics yet to be seen.
If you look at this relationship from Kotoko’s perspective, her progress with Naoki is like two steps forward, one step back. Yes, we’re getting somewhere, but the agony of these now habitual regressions is starting to look similar to the pacing of every other episode.
It’s interesting that this episode is titled “Time to Give Up My Love”. Hmmm, methinks we’ve seen this plot before, and witnessed Kotoko giving multiple attempts to give up her love, usually in a very sane and logical, if somewhat depressed attitude. So what’s different now that she suddenly decides to completely fall apart?! Rather than chock this up to poor directing, I’m going to say it’s because the stakes are getting higher. We’ve all been talking about the ‘I don’t hate you - confession’ from episode 8. True, it’s not the proposal Kotoko initially thought it to be, but it’s the closest revelation we’ve had all this time. It makes sense that it would hurt worse when she [wrongly] envisions the biggest obstacle yet to her love.
I just wish so much of the episode hadn’t revolved around this plot point. I get that Kotoko is bummed beyond all belief, but I can’t help feel a teensy bit annoyed every time a drama character puts her whole life on hold, and neglects her health for the sake of a boy [insert heavy sigh].
Let’s observe this episode in terms of food though. I’ve loved how so much of the drama has revolved around food, because the meals alone could tell the whole story, from the big happy family meals, both at home and at dad’s restaurant Aihara, to Kin-chan’s obvious obsession with creating food for his beloved. If people are happy, mealtimes display it. If something’s gone wrong in the script, suddenly dinner becomes depressing.
And for the worst ever occurrence in Kotoko’s life, she actually stops eating, even in the face of the largest smorgasbord our other resident food-holic friend Jinko could ever imagine…
I guess we all deal with stress differently.
Fortunately for my sanity, and the good of this episode, Kotoko’s misery is mirrored [very subtly] by Naoki’s growing concern. It’s the most forgivable act I can trace to him this episode, but after observing Kotoko’s zombie walk, the perplexed Naoki shows up in the next scene at the tennis courts. And we’ve already established how Naoki’s tennis practice coincides merely with his desire to be around Kotoko.
While I think some viewers wish Naoki had been a little more decisive this time around, I actually appreciated the back role he took for most of the episode. His personal removal away from the family and from Kotoko seems to be more than just a step in the coming-of-age syndrome. Rather, I think it gives him some time to be on his own and just reflect on the changes in his life, and of Kotoko’s effect on him.
Who knows what Naoki intended to say at the end of the episode, or if he even meant to say anything in the first place. It’s his style to let actions and others do the talking for him, so perhaps he lured Kotoko to campus knowing that Yuko and her sister would soon show up to explain the circumstances. Way to clear the mix-up, and give Kotoko more cause to feel like an idiot. As ever – Naoki is pricelessly adorable taunting the girl he likes.
P.S. I also like how Naoki doesn’t totally ignore Yuki in this episode. After all, little brothers need some love too, right? (Says the girl who grew up an only child!)
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