We are introduced to a cute and vaguely sleazy girl named Momo who somewhat-aggressively wants to get into Natsuo’s pants. She wants Rui to support her in her efforts.
Ultimately, Momo doesn’t succeed. Natsuo gets close to sleeping with her, but chooses not to at the last second — in favor of giving Momo the kind of simpler companionship (eating dinner together) she apparently needs instead as the clearly-troubled teen she is. And also because, you know, he already has enough complications in the form of feelings for his teacher-stepsister.
Reaction as a fan: Uggh, gross. This is a harem show now, isn’t it. Also, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly annoying about Momo… but for some reason I don’t like her. ALSO also, how predictable that Natsuo didn’t sleep with her when it finally came to it! What an upstanding and shrewd guy you are, Natsuo, even when ladies are hurling themselves at you. Completely mature and worthy of banging your teacher instead. (Hi, that was my sarcasm in response to this episode feeling like it’s trying to invest us in Natsuo extra, so we’ll forgive him for still liking and possibly eventually getting involved again with Hina. I SEE THROUGH THIS, CREATORS.)
Reaction as a writer: This introduction of Momo is an incredibly thinly-veiled plot device. The writers have inserted her for the purpose of forcing Rui into a situation in which she has to examine her feelings for Natsuo more closely to find out if they’re romantic. Which of course they have to be, in order to keep the plot going and maintain the drama this show is designed for. This Momo thing is here to make Rui jealous and drive Rui to some form of action regarding Natsuo. It’s also here to show us that Natsuo is a Mature, Good Guy — probably to justify anything he does from here on out with people he shouldn’t (read: his TEACHER, like I said in the above fan reaction).
It’s so easy to see through — and so not my style of anime anymore — that I’m losing my interest in the show at this point. That’s completely personal/is a call based on nothing by my taste/opinion, but it doesn’t bode well for continued Doubletakes on it.
Natsuo runs into his literature teacher on the roof during a self study. We’ve not seen this literature teacher before. He’s a pretty soft-spoken seeming guy. Anyway, Natsuo is reading, the teacher is smoking… but they end up chatting about literature together.
Then the teacher gets a little up-close and personal, lifting Natsuo’s chin up to compliment Natsuo’s eyes.
Reaction as a fan: WHAT?! Okay. OKAY, if I can shut off my astonished squealing a second…. If this were a show I knew had been designed for a largely female audience, this interaction would make sense. I would know exactly what this moment was supposed to mean. This SEEMS like a dude vaguely hitting on another dude to make the fangirls squeal… BUT HAVING INTERPRETED THIS AS A HAREM SHOW FOR STRAIGHT MEN TO WATCH AND NOT THE IWATOBI SWIM CLUB, HERE, then does that even make sense? Are even the men hitting on Natsuo now? That would be a twist to a moe-girl harem show I didn’t see coming.
But god’s sake, why does it have to be another teacher? What is WITH the teachers at this school?
Reaction as a writer: Admittedly, I’ve been caught off-guard again. In no way did I expect Natsuo’s harem to potentially include a male admirer. Even if that’s not the ultimate goal this scene was trying to set up for and this is just a false alarm, it has accomplished the feat of getting me invested again in this show’s story. I want to know where they are going with this one.
Bonus Take — Another Girl Introduced
Natsuo ends up joining the literature club and meeting a cute, green-haired girl in it.
Reaction as a fan: At least she’s not annoying like Momo? I am… neutral, honestly, because I’m more focused on this literature teacher, who has turned out to be more amusing than I thought, but honestly a massive creeper-asshole. Pressuring two students that don’t even know each other into kissing while he watches? SERIOUSLY, what the shit is with this school?! Why is it okay to portray teachers like this?
I know it’s fiction, but this is such a turn-off.
Reaction as a writer: Adding an additional girl in this episode has served absolutely no narrative purpose that wasn’t already served by adding Momo previously. This is just girls for the sake of more girls — repetitive and boring, because nothing has actually progressed or changed. Again, the new girl is here to show us two things we have already seen — that ultimately, Natsuo is an upstanding guy (he doesn’t kiss green-haired chick when pressured to), and that Rui is dealing with feelings of jealousy because she’s realizing she likes Natsuo.
Tell us something we don’t already know.
Siiigh. When there were only two girls to struggle with, I was there for the in-depth drama of the love triangle, but so many more girls now feels like excess for the sake of excess and little more. I personally don’t buy that Natsuo (one man, not confirmed to be polyamorous) can realistically/believably struggle with legitimate feelings for ALL of these girls. I also don’t buy that Rui could consider so many other girls a legitimate threat, when Natsuo can clearly only spread himself thin between them; it would be more believable to me if there was just ONE lady Natsuo got close to that Rui could be jealous over.
Could my irritation be because I’m typically averse to the general point and nature of harem shows? PROBABLY. So I will at least state that adding more girls does serve a beneficial purpose and provide solid entertainment for the viewers invested in the challenge of making superficial choices between hordes of cute women. From what little experience I’ve had, that’s supposed to be the fun of a harem show, right? “Oh gosh, which hot girl will he end up wifing?”
…I’m going to need a chaser after this shit.