Chatty AF 170: Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances) Watchalong – Episodes 14-19 (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist September 18, 20220 Comments

Caitlin, Dee, and Meru return to talk about the ubiquitous Beach Episode, mental health care in Japan, and the big ball of mess that is Arima.

Editor’s Note: This series of episodes was recorded before Meru changed their name and pronouns; the transcript will reflect both in their updated form.

Episode Information

Date Recorded: October 24th, 2021
Hosts: Caitlin, Dee, Meru

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
0:04:39 Arima’s depression
0:13:52 Love vs codependency
0:18:43 Maho’s dentist
0:24:38 Yukino’s parents
0:29:47 Just ‘90s dad things
0:32:24 The red flag parade
0:39:01 Mental illness and therapy in Japan
0:42:43 Beach episode
0:44:51 Teenagers are gross
0:50:31 Sex-Ed in Japan
0:56:23 Arima’s trigger
0:59:56 Episode 19 and Anno’s departure???
1:04:10 Predictions
1:05:41 Outro

CAITLIN: Hi and welcome to Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast. Today we’ll be talking about episodes 14 through 19 of His and Her Circumstances, a.k.a. Kare Kano, the ‘90s classic shoujo anime directed by Hideaki Anno. My name is Caitlin, I am one of the managing editors at Anime Feminist, and today I am joined by Dee and Meru.

MERU: Hi, my name is Meru, and I am an editor here at Anime Feminist as well as a Japanese-to-English localization editor, proofreader, and QA, as well as a journalist, as well as a very hardworking individual who loves anime and also their bed.

DEE: [Chuckles]

MERU: Yeah, I think that sums me up. [Chuckles]

DEE: Excellent. I’m Dee. I’m one of the other managing editors at AniFem. You can find most of my writings on my blog The Josei Next Door. One of these days I will fully update it. And you can also hang out with me on Twitter @joseinextdoor.

MERU: Oh snap! I didn’t tell people they could hang out with me on Twitter either.

DEE: Yeah, yeah, yeah! What’s your handle, Meru? Tell the folks.

MERU: I’m @pixelatedlenses, where you can see me post literally about anything, but today, on this day, it’s gonna be about my tomato pie that I made. It’s very good.

DEE: Ooh, exciting!

CAITLIN: All right, I guess I should drop my Twitter handle now, too, since y’all are both doing it. It’s all—

DEE: Yeah, plug yo’self!

CAITLIN: Yeah, it’s @alltsun_nodere.

MERU: Do you know it took me until this year to figure out the joke in your Twitter handle?

DEE: [Laughs]

MERU: I was like, “Oh, I get it now!”

CAITLIN: Yeah, because I’m all tsun and no dere.


MERU: I do speak Japanese and I just was like, “What is tsun? What is dere?” [Gasps] “Oh!”


DEE: “Oh, tsundere! There we go. I got it.”

MERU: “Oh! I get it.”


DEE: I love that moment when a joke comes together.

MERU: It was kismet. It was great.

CAITLIN: So today, we begin the second half of Kare Kano, which—

MERU: We sure do.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] This show has never had a great budget, but it kinda starts to go really off the rails with this one! But it’s okay because, you know what, they get pretty creative with it.

MERU: They do.

CAITLIN: The first episode and a half of this stretch, however, are recap episodes. No framing device. No new footage. Just a clip show for an episode and a half about the previous 13 episodes.

DEE: Yeah, we took a couple of weeks in between recording the first half and recording this one, so I thought the recap would be useful, and I was like, “Yeah, okay, an episode of recap,” and I get to the end and I’m like, “They didn’t really cover everything.” And then I start 15 and I’m like, “Oh my God, we’re still recapping!”


DEE: You know what? It’s a good thing I skimmed because I was about to skip the entire episode, but only half of it is a recap, which is very confusing. So, don’t skip episode 15, folks. The last half is extremely slow-paced, but technically stuff happens, so…

CAITLIN: It is. It is important to the show. Yeah, Dee, it was very funny to me, actually, when we were talking about doing this and you were like, “I actually have plans coming up during the period where we would be recording, so I would have to take a couple of weeks off, and I don’t know if I would forget everything, so if you guys want to find someone else, then that’s fine.” And I was just like, “Don’t worry.”

DEE: You said, “There’s plenty of recaps. It’s fine.” And I’m like, “Uh, that’s a little concerning. But okay, let’s do it.”

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

DEE: Yeah, so we started with some recaps, which I guess in theory would give us less to talk about this stretch, but I would say that’s not exactly the case.

CAITLIN: A lot happens.

MERU: [crosstalk] Yeah, I was gonna say there’s a lot, a lot! [Chuckles]

DEE: It’s not even that a lot happens, but what happens is A Lot, if that makes sense. [Chuckles] So we’ll definitely get to that. But Caitlin, sorry, did you want to take us through it chronologically here?

CAITLIN: Sure. So, in this stretch of episodes, Yukino and Arima talk on the phone, we learn about how Yukino’s parents met, Yukino just misses Arima so much because he’s at training camp, and then he comes back. And we’ll talk about what happens when we get there. We meet Arima’s family. And then, they fuck.

MERU: [Guffaws] They do! Oh my God! I was not expecting that!

CAITLIN: And then we have episode 19, which is the beginning of the big final arc… which has some really interesting animation choices, shall we say.

DEE: You can actually see the production collapse in episode 19. There’s a visualization of the production where a paper cutout of Yukino catches fire and then the whole thing burns, and I’m like, “Yep, that’s what happened to your production, huh? It’s a metaphor!”


MERU: My first and only thought was “Did they fuck so hard that they messed up the budget?”


MERU: Because I did not know! Like, everything that’s happening, every frame is a new moment for me, and I was just like, “What?” And I was like, “Oh, maybe it’s a joke. It’ll change.” And then I got to the end of the video and it transitioned to the next one on YouTube and I was like, “It didn’t change, though. That was just the episode.”

DEE: Yeah. So, Caitlin, is it gonna look like that till the end, or do they get their shit under control?


DEE: No to which part?

CAITLIN: The answer to both of those questions is no.

DEE: Okay, so it’s not going to be sketches and cardboard cutouts till the end, but their shit is not under control. Noted.


DEE: Yeah, no, I’m kinda with you, Meru. I got to that last episode— Well, and the thing is that— We’re jumping ahead but it’s fine. We’ll backtrack. 

Right before that episode where we enter this multi-parter about the school festival, right before that, Arima has this really rough PTSD flashback and starts to dissociate and throws up, and I’m like, “Oh, this is really intense.” And then we cut to this episode that is abstract and surreal and borderline absurd. It gets extra weird, in addition to the animation being strange, right?

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] It’s so strange!

MERU: It’s not funny but it also is, because Arima has this deeply traumatic moment and you’re like, “Oh my God,” and then in the next episode, you’re like, “What?” [Chuckles]

DEE: Yeah, so a part of me is even like, “Did Arima have a psychotic break? Is any of this actually happening, or is this in his head? Have we entered ‘last two episodes of Evangelion’ territory here? What is going on?” So it definitely— The switch—

MERU: [crosstalk] Okay, once again, I have to ask.

DEE: Yeah, so—

MERU: Is there a psychotic break in Eva?

DEE: Yeah, I mean, it’s more compl— Oh, there’s multiple psychotic breaks in Eva. Not to get too deep in the weeds, but the last two episodes take place pretty much entirely inside the characters’ heads. And there were also some production issues, but they use it somewhat artfully to do some interesting things with sketchiness of… which this episode kind of starts off like. 

So I’m like, “Something really bad just happened and now we’re acting like things are fine. Should I be concerned?” So if you hadn’t warned me about production, Caitlin, I might have been… I was galaxy-braining some theories about what was happening!

CAITLIN: [Laughs] No. No, nothing that wild. I will say, about this episode and about that weird jump from point A to point D or whatever you want to say, this is the Yukino arc. It is primarily about Yukino’s growth, Yukino learning who she is as a person and developing a sense of identity. 

In the manga, after the Yukino arc, there is the Arima arc, which goes more into just how messed up Arima is as a person. And this also brings back when you were asking last episode about how it seemed like falling in love kind of “fixed” Arima’s depression—

DEE: [crosstalk] No, that’s clearly not the case.

CAITLIN: —and I said, “Arima is not okay! He has never been okay.”

DEE: No, we… Yeah.

MERU: Episode 18 made that very apparent. This poor sweet child—

CAITLIN: [Hums mysteriously]

MERU: —needs a good adult to intervene and say, “Okay, sweetie, we’re gonna find you a psychiatrist and some therapy and we’re gonna get you some help, because you’ve got some bad trauma.”

CAITLIN: But because this is Japan in the ‘90s, the closest thing he gets is parents who say, “Hey, don’t bully our son,” which is pretty cool.

DEE: But that can go far.

MERU: [crosstalk] And you know what? At least he won first place at the national kendo tournament. So, like, that cures everything.

CAITLIN: [Hums skeptically] I mean, obviously it sure does not.

MERU: It sure does not! It doesn’t at all. [Groans sadly]

DEE: I do really appreciate how much his adoptive parents clearly love and support him and defend him from the rest of his shit family, because I think that Arima’s story could have been— Obviously it goes some dark places, and I’m not trying to gloss over what happened to him when he was a child, because clearly it is buried deep in his brain and is a lot of unaddressed trauma. 

But I think the show could have gone full grimdark with him, and so the fact that he has a support system is really nice to see and, I think, keeps it from feeling like tragedy porn. So I did appreciate that moment with his parents being like, “Hey, you need to shut up and leave him alone because he’s a good kid and we love him.” And he heard it, too, and so he knows. And yeah, I like that. I thought that was a good touch there.

CAITLIN: [Hums mysteriously] Just subtitle this as “[Hmms in Manga Reader]”.

DEE: Sure, sure, but I’m not reading the manga, Caitlin. I’m watching the anime and those are different products.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

MERU: I was gonna say, our source text is the anime itself.

DEE: We can maybe have you regale us with some manga stuff when we get to the end of the show. But as far as the anime goes, I thought that was a nice touch.

MERU: [crosstalk] Agreed.

CAITLIN: Okay, yeah. You know what, that’s fair. So, let’s jump back a little bit to the beginning of the stretch that we watched to episode—

DEE: [deadpan] Okay, so you want me to recap the first 12 episodes. I’ll do that.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Yeah, no!


DEE: Okay, past the recap!

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] No, let’s not talk about— [Laughs] Let’s jump back to episode 15.5. I was going to say, “Let’s jump back to episode 14,” but we do not need to do that.

DEE: Nope.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] We can do that by listening to the episodes we already recorded.

MERU: Exactly.

CAITLIN: So, the big thing in that episode is that Yukino and Arima talk on the phone.

DEE: There’s a little bit with Asaba’s backstory in that one, as well.

CAITLIN: Oh, yes, yes. We also do get some…

DEE: He’s like the only supporting character we really see much of in this stretch, but you get a little bit more of him and why he and Arima are friends, and he connects with him as far as not getting along with their birth parents very well. So, I thought it was nice to get a little extra with him. 

Also, he’s goofy. When he’s on screen I laugh, and that is also nice.

CAITLIN: Asaba always makes the scene better, definitely.

MERU: This is the first episode that I liked him in.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Really?

MERU: I was like, “Oh, this chaotic bi child is my new favorite.”


MERU: Like the “Do it for her” meme, but it’s just me with a corkboard of pictures of Asaba.


MERU: I was just like, oh, I love him so much! I love him so much, this good kid.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] You did a big heel-turn on him!

MERU: I did. I did. I really did. This was the episode where I was like, “Okay, I like him a lot. I do like him a lot.”

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Oh, he’s sad! Now, I see!


MERU: Look! Look! I have a type for characters: the sadder they get, the more I like ‘em.


MERU: Which is why I also think I like Arima! Gosh!

CAITLIN: I mean, listen: glass houses here. Glass houses.

DEE: No judgment, yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah. I cannot judge you for this! [Laughs]

MERU: Yeah, this was a good one. I liked Yukino talking on the phone and being like, “Oh! My boyfriend’s gotten taller. That’s kinda hot!” Yeah, it’s great. Tall people rule.

DEE: Yeah, I think this little bit of touching on them being long-distance for probably a month because summer vacation in Japan, I think… isn’t it about a month?

MERU: It’s like five or six weeks. It’s not very long. It’s pretty much a month.

DEE: I was gonna say, I thought it was four to six weeks, somewhere in there. Okay, cool. Yeah, so, not super long. but obviously when you’re in high school and especially when you’ve got a big ol’ crush or are in love, it feels extra long. 

And I thought it did a nice job of capturing that feeling of not only just “I miss him so much,” but then Yukino has a conversation with Maho where she’s like, “It feels weird that I feel this off without him. I’m worried about me as a person. What does this say about me that I want this guy so much?” And she’s like, “I think it’s okay. I think it just means you have an emotional attachment to him and you miss him and you want to be with him, and that’s all right.” 

So I did like them addressing that and that sense of “Is this codependency or is this just me wanting to be with somebody I care about?” And I think it definitely falls more on the latter. 

Of course, Yukino’s thing is she doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life, and so the fact that Arima is so important to her makes her feel like she’s making him her life, and she doesn’t necessarily want that to be who she is. And I really like those elements of her because I think that is… I mean, just speaking from personal experience, the first time I was head over heels, there was also that sense of “Oh, God! Am I just devoted? Am I losing myself to this relationship? I don’t want that. But also, I like being with this person.” So I thought it touched those notes in a very true-to-life, smart way.

MERU: It really did, and it’s still quite actually… I found it quite applicable. It’s kind of one of those timeless things. I think, for people who engage in romance, that is an experience that you have: is, you meet someone and it feels consuming in a kind of mutual way.

DEE: [crosstalk] It’s the honeymoon period, right?

MERU: Yeah. Like, you’re really into it and you’re really into this personal relationship. And you can see how passionate she is because she’s twirling the phone cord, you know, and she’s…

CAITLIN: She’s thinking about how hot his voice sounds…

MERU: Right! And she’s like, “Oh, you got taller. 5’8”? Oh, Arima.” [Chuckles] It’s great!

CAITLIN: [ironic] I know, so tall: 5’8”!

MERU: Which, when she said that, I was like, “So Arima and I are the same height.”


CAITLIN: Oh, I didn’t know you were tall, Meru!

MERU: Yeah, I am. I am.

CAITLIN: Oh, I’m short.

MERU: Wait, how tall are you?

CAITLIN: 5’4”.

MERU: What? I’ve been picturing you as like 6’ in my mind.


CAITLIN: No, I am 5’4”.

DEE: [crosstalk] You give off Tall Girl Vibes, Caitlin!

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MERU: Dee, are you going to tell me that you’re also not the height I’ve imagined?

DEE: I don’t know what height you imagined. Apparently, I’m taller than Caitlin thought I would be when we met IRL. I’m a little shorter than you. I’m somewhere between 5’6” and 5’7”. I played basketball, so I will always tell you I’m 5’7” because you always go up an inch when you play basketball.

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MERU: You are also shorter than I think you are. Everybody is tall in my mind. It’s just the energy you both give off.


DEE: Excellent.

CAITLIN: But anyway… But yeah, I really enjoyed that element of it, because that is also something that I have gone through. It’s something that I still go through sometimes, because the dream is to be independent… you know, independent woman who doesn’t need a man. 

But when I am separated from Jared, separated from my partner, I really miss him, and I feel in a funk. And with our work schedules, there are days of the week where I don’t see him, and a lot of times I have a hard time on those days.

So, yeah, I totally understood that, that feeling of “Is this me? Is this codependence?” because, yeah, I had a really hard time reflecting on that part of myself the first time I experienced it, the first time I was in love and was separated from my partner. And so, it is a very real thing that Yukino goes through. 

And I like that she is reflective about it, that she is figuring out her identity, that she is noticing that she has these feelings of emotional connection and emotional dependence and she’s not just accepting them as necessarily natural—that she is conscious of becoming codependent.

DEE: While also wanting to try to figure out who she is. Yeah, I like that balance a lot.

MERU: It’s really well done. Great episode. Well, great half of an episode.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Now, on the other hand… On the other hand, Maho did mention that her boyfriend is 28 years old and a dentist.

DEE: Okay, Caitlin, what she said was she likes a 28-year-old dentist—


DEE: —and as far as I’m concerned, that means that it’s unreciprocated and you can’t… [Chuckles] I’m sure in the manga it’s… But you know what? They didn’t say it was for sure in the anime. So…

CAITLIN: No, in the… [Sighs] I think in the subs they make it clear that he is her boyfriend. But yes.

MERU: Oh, no! What a bad adult.


MERU: Bad adult!

CAITLIN: So bad.

DEE: [crosstalk, deadpan] So Maho’s dating a sexual predator. Cool…


MERU: Y’all? Yeah, I gotta be real: I don’t understand what adults see in teenagers romantically! It’s weird. It’s not great. Japanese men, do better. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: I take a bus full of teenagers a lot of days of the week, because the bus is one of the only ones that goes into this particular residential area that has a lot of families. And I look at those teens and I’m just like, “You are such tiny children,” and I hear those teens talk and I’m just like, “You guys are having a great time and that’s awesome, and I have no interest in these conversations that you’re having,” other than one time it was funny when a kid said that you couldn’t make fun of him with American stereotypes because he was from Arizona and all of his friends laughed at him.

[Baffled chuckling]

DEE: Okay, dude!

CAITLIN: But that’s the level of discourse you get with teenagers! Listen, if there are any teenagers out there listening, be you! Be a teenager. Have a great time with it. I’m 34 years old: I don’t want to be your buddy.

DEE: Our brains have developed differently, right?


DEE: We’re in different life places, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be! So if a 28-year-old is macking on you, something’s wrong with that 28-year-old!


MERU: Teens, teens of the world, if a 28-year-old hits on you, you hit them back, physically.

DEE: Run! Yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah. Run!

MERU: And then you run. You run and get a responsible adult who understands being an adult. 

Ah, it’s just so weird. It’s a weird fetish that Japan unfortunately has only leaned into as we’ve gone through the past decades.

CAITLIN: Do you guys want—

DEE: Well, anime and manga at least. I don’t want to speak for the entire…

MERU: Oh, yeah, not in real life. It’s only in anime and manga.

DEE: [crosstalk] Pop culture.

CAITLIN and DEE: Yeah.

MERU: Most Japanese people are like, “That’s weird. That’s not great!” So sorry. Let me clarify. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Most are like, “Why are you mackin’ on children? Stop!”

DEE: Yeah. “Gross. Knock it off.” Yeah. But in the dub, they kind of skirted around it to make it just sound like Maho had a crush on this guy, and so I was like, “You know what? That’s fine. I can live with that. I don’t need to know anything more about your life, Maho. Just cut me off there, anime, because I know how ‘90s shoujo works.”

CAITLIN: Do you guys want a peek behind the curtain?

MERU: [crosstalk] No. [Chuckles] No. Yes.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] “No. Yes.” Okay, we can say this is not canonical to the anime. But they do go into how their relationship started, which was that she relentlessly hit on him when she was in middle school and he gave in.

MERU: No! That’s worse!

CAITLIN: He was literally twice her age when they started dating.

DEE: “But she came on to me, officer.” Fuck off.

MERU: God!

CAITLIN: “She was just so persistent!”

DEE: I hate everything about it. Okay, that’s all it— Yep, nope?

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Unfortunately, it does not end with him getting arrested.

MERU: [Groans sadly] There really is no justice in this world.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

MERU: Oh, no!

DEE: Speaking from a fiction perspective, it’s the fantasy of the mature older guy who gets you, you know? And he’s not like those immature boys around you. I get it from the fantasy angle but, God, that’s so many years! And it plays into so many really harmful real-world beliefs outside of fiction that teen girls are taught that allow for predators to prey on them. So, maybe be more thoughtful with your age gaps in your stories targeted at teen girls, please and thank you.

MERU: Yeah. Yeah…


DEE: It’s that fine line between playing in the fantasy and promoting it for actual behavior. Teach media literacy in schools!

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

MERU: This feels like the time that I found out that, I guess, an elementary school teacher falls in love with his student in Cardcaptor Sakura. It feels like that.

CAITLIN: [Groans]

MERU: It feels like that. I’ve never even seen Cardcaptor Sakura, but…

DEE: Once again, only in the manga, so if you watch the anime, you can get around it.

MERU: Okay! See, that’s why anime is superior, y’all.

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

DEE: Sometimes. Sometimes.

MERU: It hurts you less. It categorically hurts you less.

DEE: Hey, Meru: Promised Neverland Season 2. [Chuckles]

MERU: [Changing topic] So! Episode…

DEE: [Laughs]

MERU: [Chuckling] What episode are we on? 16?

CAITLIN: So, we are currently talking… Yeah, we are currently talking about episode 16. Er, no, we are currently talking about episode 17 because of Yukino and Maho’s conversation, which was a good conversation until she dropped the “28 years old” thing!

DEE: Yeah. [Groans]

MERU: Rough.

CAITLIN: Like, we’re gonna… [Groans]

DEE: Yeah. We can move past it. We’ve spent enough time on it. I don’t want to think about it anymore.

CAITLIN: Let’s step back for a second. Let’s step back for a second—we’ll get to the second half of episode 17 because that’s a whole other thing—and talk about Yukino’s parents!

MERU: Aw, they’re cute!

CAITLIN: That was a nice episode. That was a good, solid 25-minute love story. I cried.

DEE: Wow.

MERU: Misty’s voice actress gave a superb performance.

DEE: Rachael Lillis is so good and I’m sad she’s not in things anymore, not really. She’s terrific. Um, I—

MERU: It was a really good episode— Mm!

DEE: No, you go, you go.

MERU: Sorry. I was just gonna say it was a really good story about, also, the pain of having an older caretaker and growing up and understanding that they are not going to be in your life forever and that there is [an] invisible clock ticking and it is not ticking in your favor, and wanting to give back the love that they gave. It was just really good. It made me weep.

DEE: Yeah, I found the romance parts kind of just rote, like pretty typical “high school show.”

CAITLIN: Yeah, I mean…

MERU: Yeah.

DEE: Truthfully, it ran on Goof Troop time a little bit for me. But the second half with him and his grandpa and him feeling like he needed to materially give back and him having that really good conversation with Yukino’s mom about, like… [for] adult caretakers who truly love you, you loving them back is what they want; seeing you grow up and being happy is the important part. 

And I thought that was a really nice conversation, because I think you can get into these ideas—and this is cross-cultural—of “Well, I raised you, so you owe me.” And so I really like that the series pushed back against that and was like, “No, no, no, that’s not what these relationships are about.”

CAITLIN: And it’s sort of the filial piety thing, too, of: your parents take care of you, and then when you get older, you take care of your parents, and that is as much your duty as it was their duty to take care of you when you were a child. And he wanted to be able to fulfill that sort of obligation and he never got the chance. 

And there’s a line in this that I think about so much where he talks about how one day he just stopped sitting on his grandfather’s lap. His grandfather stopped holding him. And he doesn’t know when it happened, but it did happen at some point. There’s a Tumblr post that used to go around that was like, “One day your parents put you down and they never picked you up again.”

MERU: Yeah. And it was the last time.

CAITLIN: And neither of you knew that it was going to be the last time. And I think about that so much.

DEE: [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: I think about that because I work with children, and I have a baby niece now. I mean, my twin sister is a mother now. And so, I think about that sort of stuff all the time, the connection between caretaker and child and how you’ll do something for the last time and you don’t know it’s going to be the last time.

MERU: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s a really… When his grandfather says, “Oh, you can’t sit on Grandpa’s legs. They’re not feeling great,” and you kind of feel like, oh, it’s kind of coming to an end, this point in his life of that childhood closeness. And then, yeah, there just comes a point where that is the literal last time that this is ever gonna happen again. 

And I mean, we all experience those kinds of things, right? There’s lots of little moments in growing up that you don’t know you’re gonna do this thing for the last time. It’s just real deep, y’all. It’s real deep and real good.

DEE: It was very artfully put together. Yeah, I thought they did a really nice job with that, that little backstory.

CAITLIN: Mm-hm. And I thought… It was so wonderfully Anno in some points, like the sound design, the use of silence when it’s raining after the wake, and it’s just the sound of the rain. I really, really love that, too. That was really the episode that had me just be like, “Oh, this is what Hideaki Anno sounds like.” The use of environmental sounds over music, and then the music very quietly comes in or maybe it doesn’t, but every single noise has so much weight to it.

DEE: Yeah, good thought.

CAITLIN: So yeah, it was a good episode. I cried.

DEE: Aw.

MERU: It’s real good.

CAITLIN: I cried at the end of it.

DEE: Yeah. Yeah, it was good, which is good because I’m kind of up and down on Yukino’s dad, so giving a backstory for him was nice. They do that—

MERU: They redeemed him this episode because I’m not a fan of her dad at all.

DEE: It’s the overprotective dad trope, which I just hate.

MERU: He’s a very 1990s father who does not want his daughter to lose her chastity or ever consider another man—ever.

CAITLIN: He wants her to stay daddy’s little girl forever. If this were the U.S., he would be, like, cleaning out a gun when Arima came over.

DEE: Yep.

MERU: [Through chuckles] Plot twist, next episode: he has a gun!

DEE: He found one of the five guns in Japan, just to protect his little girls!

CAITLIN: [deadpan] Isn’t that fatherly devotion? Isn’t that so moving and touching?

DEE: Eugh.


DEE: Yeah. So, yeah, that idea… I mean, well, because it’s that idea of… I’m trying to even put it into words why I hate the overprotective dad trope, but it’s such a convolution of “Girls are infants who can’t be trusted to look after themselves” and “All boys are animals who must be defended against.” And it’s just a lot of gender role bullshit about capital-M Masculinity and Femininity. It just irks me every time.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles suddenly]

DEE: And fortunately it doesn’t come up a ton, but… What?

CAITLIN: “I Love My Daughter” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

DEE: “But Not in a Creepy Way.” Caitlin, I wrote that in my notes!


DEE: That is in my notes! In my notes is “I love my daughter (but not in a creepy way),” because, yes, that is exactly… Thank you for saying it so I didn’t have to start that. Yes, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend reference. Let’s take that checkbox off this podcast’s to-do list. Excellent.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Ah, that show’s so good.


CAITLIN: Oh, hey, guys. Watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

MERU: [Chuckles]

DEE: As long as we’re here. We haven’t mentioned it in a while, so…

CAITLIN: [Through laughter] Just while we’re talking about it, if you want a psychological musical drama…

DEE: Musical dramedy? Because it’s also quite funny.

CAITLIN: Dramedy? Yeah.

DEE: Go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s great! [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: If you like the psychological elements of Kare Kano… [Chuckles] There we go. I connected it.

DEE: And also singing.

CAITLIN: And also singing.

DEE: Yeah.

CAITLIN: So, let’s get back to episode 17.

DEE: Yeah, let’s talk about Arima.

CAITLIN: Yeah, let’s talk about this!

DEE: Let’s talk about the Red Flag Parade, shall we?


MERU: Oof.

CAITLIN: So, Arima comes back. At first, it’s a very cute thing where he is just standing there waiting for her to walk by and he’s like, “Hey,” and she’s like, [Gasps] “Oh, my God!” and freaks out. And that’s adorable.

DEE: [crosstalk] Yeah, doesn’t recognize him right away, which I didn’t either, so… No, it was great.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] That was pretty cute. And you know what? I give the animators credit. I do think he looks taller; his shoulders look broader.

DEE: No, he looks different. I thought noticeably he looked older.

CAITLIN: Yeah. He did that weird thing that teenagers do where they disappear for like six weeks and then they come back and they look older. [Chuckles] But then she gets a little freaked out by just how… well, she gets turned on for the first time, is my reading of the situation.

DEE: I think that’s definitely part of it, and she’s so happy to see him again, and then she also kind of talks about how she feels sort of self-conscious like, “Oh, he’s grown up and he’s done all this stuff and I haven’t done anything,” so there’s that sense of imbalance there, as well, that she’s sort of struggling with and doesn’t know how to put it into words.

CAITLIN: Yes, I was just being a little crude for the fun of it. There’s a lot going on.

DEE: There’s layers.

CAITLIN: I do think her attraction…

DEE: Oh, that’s definitely part of it.

CAITLIN: Rush of hormones is a big part of it.

DEE: Yes, yes. Yukino horny, Michael!


MERU: Oh my God.

CAITLIN: But, so, she kind of freaks out and puts a little distance, which is also something that I can relate to. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this: my first impulse when I start a relationship with someone historically has been to run away and never talk to them again.

DEE: Oh no!

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]


DEE: That makes it difficult to have a relationship!

CAITLIN: Yeah. So, I get it.

DEE: Yeah, it’s the nerves in your brain. You get nervous about it and then it’s like fight or flight and you’re like, “Well, time to run!” No, I get it, too.

CAITLIN: It’s a lot of big feelings! It’s a lot of big feelings! It’s easy to get freaked out by them.

DEE: Mm-hm. Yeah.

CAITLIN: Well, and his response…! His response…!

DEE: Is a Red Flag Parade, I say again. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: He slams her into a wall and yells at her that he does not care about how she feels; he is not letting her break up with him.

DEE: Yup!

MERU: It was very uncomfortable.

CAITLIN: And her response is not to get the fuck out of there.

MERU: She falls even more in love with him!

DEE: She’s not even scared.


DEE: It doesn’t even startle her. She takes it completely in stride. That scene is tonally all over the place. And I think my notes are just like “What? WHAT?” in bigger letters afterwards.

MERU: And she even says, like, “Oh, I’m even more in love with Arima.” And I’m like, “Girl, sweetie, sis!”

CAITLIN: No, no, no!

DEE: Y’all, y’all, she apologizes for scaring him by running away.

MERU: It’s not good. It’s not good.

DEE: And for me, because we then immediately go back to Arima being like… then they have a whole episode where they talk about consent—and we’ll get more into that later, I’m sure—and she talking about how gentle he is all the time… To me that’s a narrative flaw. I don’t think it was intentionally a red flag on his character.


DEE: So I have to just go like: that was bad storytelling, what happened there. Somebody fell into these weird romance tropes— The author did. “Somebody.” The author. We know who. [Chuckles]

MERU: How is it in the manga? Is it similar in the manga? Because…

CAITLIN: Yes. Yes.

MERU: Oh, God, no.

CAITLIN: And honestly, in the manga, that’s kind of the beginning of the end for Arima.

DEE: [crosstalk] Where the story sort of falls apart, you mean? Okay. We don’t have to get into the manga right now. We’ve still got anime to watch.

MERU: I didn’t like the scene. That’s all. [Chuckles] It’s bad!

DEE: Oh, it’s really bad. Well, and it’s one of those things where if this were to happen IRL and I’m not attributing it to bad narrative, I would be like, “You need to get away from him,” because these are… classic signs of an abuser is everything’s great until you do what they don’t want and then they get violent and they yell at you about how they don’t care how you feel. And I’m like this, “Hey, Yukino,” like I said, “Red flag, red flag, red flag! You need to get away from this guy!”

CAITLIN: Get the fuck out of there, Yukino. Get out of there. Run as fast as you can.

DEE: Listen, he’s a teenager with a lot of trauma. He could sort this out. He could be fine. I’m not saying that Arima’s like an irredeemable piece of shit. But hey, Yukino, these are unhealthy signs and you need to not be involved because this could be really bad for you.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] You are not his psychologist. You are not here to fix him. Call your dad! This would be a good time to get Overprotective Dad going!

DEE: Get one of those five guns in Japan.


MERU: Well, and it taints the next episode in this really weird light because it’s as if we are encountering two different versions of these characters, because there’s no discussion of what happened. There’s no discussion of… Arima put his hands on her and physically manhandled her into a brick wall and yelled at her.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] And then he talks about how he’ll never do anything she’s uncomfortable with. Which is great! Which is great!

DEE: That whole conversation they have—

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] It’s a good conversation to have!

DEE: Yeah! He’s like, “I want to be with you, but I understand if you don’t want to. We don’t have to. It’s okay.” All terrific. Love that. But yeah, like you said, but it comes right on the heels of this other thing, so I just had to be like, “Okay, I have to pretend that scene didn’t happen because the narrative is acting like it didn’t and that’s the only way I can move forward with these characters,” which is wild! Again, it was bad storytelling.

MERU: And it is a shame because episode 18 has a lot of really good things to say about consent for a series that is made in the late ‘90s, where consent wasn’t the conversation we’re having—[that] we even had in the late 2010s—that we have today. But yeah, you have to almost just alternate-universe what happened in episode 17 for it to narratively make sense. Otherwise, the implications are really quite ghoulish and horrific. Ooh! You know?

DEE: Well, and especially because after they bone down is when Arima has this post-traumatic reaction and has this thought about his shadow other half, which then immediately does not get explored, which was also jarring.


DEE: But you take that in context with the violence of the previous episode, and again I’m like, “Hey, Yukino, I think you need to get out of this.”

MERU: Yeah. Or at least involve an adult. Please!

DEE: Yeah. Convince him to go to therapy at least.

CAITLIN: Yeah, I get it— [deadpan] Oh, no, she is his therapist. [Resumes normal tone] No, and yeah, I get it that he has abandonment issues and that he got freaked out by her in that moment.

DEE: Oh, yeah. Listen, his emotions were valid; his reaction was not.

CAITLIN: Yeah, it’s totally fair for him to be like, “What the hell’s going on with that?”

MERU: Yeah. It’s that “two things exist at once” narrative of… He has a lot of trauma. And realistically, as a young, Japanese, cis male character growing up in the ‘90s… Therapy is really not still readily available in Japan at (A) a cost-effective way, (B) outside of grief and severe mental illness, which can (C) cause you to lose status, whether that’s job standing… whatever you want. 

I mean, as someone who pursued therapy in Japan, I went out of prefecture, like 80 minutes away from where I lived, to someone’s apartment office to get therapy because I didn’t want to do it inside the prefecture because I didn’t want it to get out. And also, I needed an English-speaking therapist, but that’s not an uncommon thing. 

So, I get it that he doesn’t have a lot of access, but also your trauma doesn’t mean you get to put your hands on people. So, like, bad Arima. Not good. Thumbs down from me.

CAITLIN: It is bad and weird and uncomfortable. And it really does put a nasty…

MERU: [crosstalk] Does he get therapy? Does that happen? [Chuckles]

DEE: [crosstalk] Oh, Meru, this is a shoujo anime. No.

MERU: [crosstalk] I know!

DEE: Of course nobody goes to— It’s an anime, period.

MERU: [rueful] I know!

DEE: Nobody goes to therapy in anime.

MERU: I know.

DEE: They should! They should!

CAITLIN: He needs it!

MERU: I live for the day where we get an isekai where it’s like “I Became a Therapist in Another World.” Please! My kingdom for mental health care! [Chuckles]

DEE: God, you should write that short story series. That would be really good!

MERU: [crosstalk] It would be excellent.

DEE: Written right, it could be very healing and sweet, honestly!

MERU: Yeah…

DEE: Yeah. Yeah, it’s concerning. And [from] the scenes with his family, we know he has a lot of latent anger issues. And I feel like the anime’s probably not gonna have time to explore a lot of this. But it is concerning. 

Yeah, love did not fix him. Arima still has a lot he needs to work through. Which on the one hand, you know what, props for realism to the story, because, again, I had been saying my concern was that he was fine now that he had somebody who loved him, and most of the time that’s not how it works. So, I guess, props for the story for being like, “No, he still has a lot of stuff he has to work through.” But I’m concerned for him and the people around him right now.

CAITLIN: Arima is not and has never been okay. Not once in his life. 

But then, they go to the beach, and they hang out and they have fun summer vacation times.

DEE: [crosstalk] And they smooch a lot.

CAITLIN: By the way, Tsubaki is great in these episodes. I really enjoy her. I wrote down her saying, “Writing is a cursed profession.”

DEE: Yes, that was excellent.

MERU: It’s good!

CAITLIN: I figured we would all feel that deep in our bones.

DEE: Deep in my bones, yeah.

MERU: Down to the marrow.

CAITLIN: I love how when—

DEE: Ruka living the vampire life was great, too. It’s like, yeah, she just writes all night and then sleeps all day. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah! That was me in high school, too! I’m with you.” I also had the internet, so I was chatting with friends and downloading songs that took 30 minutes. I’m dating myself.


DEE: But that’s okay. Yeah, no, the stuff with Yukino’s—

CAITLIN: [crosstalk, through laughter] I mean, I did explicitly state my age earlier.

DEE: Yes. The stuff with Yukino’s friends is really fun, and I’m glad we still get— We didn’t get a lot of that this stretch. It was mostly her and Arima again, but I like the little bits with them. Tsubasa had like no lines, but she had my favorite clip, which is her as a snake stabbing ice cream out of a shake and eating it and her other friend looking at her like, “What the hell just happened?”

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MERU: It’s great. It’s great.

CAITLIN: I’m pretty sure Tsubasa’s just a cryptid. [Chuckles]

DEE: I believe it.

MERU: Yeah. Yeah.

CAITLIN: And Maho’s reaction was great. I did enjoy Tsubaki, even though she was not being, probably, the kindest friend, being like, “Oh, you just want to talk about your boyfriend? Oh, fuck this. I’m not interested in this. Peace out.”

DEE: Oh, yeah, when she was like, “Maybe I should join a club,” and she’s like, “Oh, yeah! What a great idea! We’d love to have you on the volleyball club,” and she’s like, “Well, no, it’s so I can see my boyfriend.” She’s like, “Oh, screw you. Never mind. I’m less interested now.”

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MERU: Great. There’s a lot of good little tidbits, and I love them all.

DEE: And they feel like friends just chatting at a cafe.

CAITLIN: Yeah, the dialogue was really strong.

MERU: It makes me think of in high school when after school I… So, I was in journalism in high school, and one of the perks was that you got to leave campus, which is 100% why I joined journalism.


MERU: I like writing, obviously, but… And I have memories of walking the mall selling ads for journalism, even though we knew we wouldn’t, and having these kinds of conversations. And so it feels very true to life. It feels like actual teenagers talking. So, kudos to that. It’s really, really solid. I felt like, oh, this is just Yukino with all her friends! And it’s really lovely, because she didn’t really have friends before but now she does!

DEE: Yeah, and it’s good to see scenes like that and her world expanding, because she herself is worried about “Am I making Arima my whole world?” And I think the narrative could have very easily fallen into that trap of it just being the two of them. So, I do really like her having these authentic, nice moments with her friends where we see that there is more to her world than this boy, who is admittedly a big part of her life, and that’s okay, but he’s not the only thing that is taking up her days.


MERU: Oh yeah, yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah. And like I have said before and I will say again, this arc is very much about Yukino’s world expanding, about her learning more about herself, about her developing interests, about experiencing the world without grades and developing her sense of self. 

Which I think is lovely, because I do think about Yuu Watase back in the day talking about how she doesn’t really like writing romance because it’s just two characters in their own world and that’s not super interesting to her. And I like that Kare Kano recognizes that it doesn’t have to be that—that a good romance, honestly, is more between two people who have lives outside of each other. So, yeah. No, I really enjoyed those scenes.

But then… [chuckles] the meat of the episode comes when the two of them are making out and he goes for the boob.

MERU: I mean, he cops a feel, just does not hesitate.

CAITLIN: He just goes right for it. And she’s like, “Um…!”

MERU: [Chuckles] It’s a lot!

CAITLIN: And then he says, “Some day, I might want to make love to you.”

MERU: Oh my God, I was dead!

CAITLIN: I was like, “You fucking dork! Oh my God.”

DEE: There are some very dorky teens-in-love lines in that episode that I kind of rolled my eyes at, but at the same time I vibed with as someone who was once a teen in love. I think Yukino’s the one who says something like “Even when our bodies aren’t touching, our souls are touching,” and I was like, “Ah, gross! But also, yeah, I know that feel.”

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

MERU: Yukino straight-up says, like, “Our love is spiritual,” and I was like, “You nerd! You nerd!” [Sighs fondly]

DEE: It’s good, though!

MERU: It’s absolutely the stuff that I thought about as a high schooler who read a lot of fan fiction on

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

DEE: Mm-hm! Preach!

CAITLIN: A lot of shoujo manga! [Chuckles]

DEE: Preach!

MERU: Look, whether I was talking about my own love or Naruto and Sasuke, it was all spiritual. It’s great. It’s great.


MERU: It’s great.

CAITLIN: Yeah, that was definitely all of the fanfic I wrote in my head about me and whatever anime boy I was into at the time.

DEE: All the self-inserts.

MERU: Love it. Love it.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Cough, cough, Quatre from Gundam Wing, cough, cough. It’s like, “Oh, no, no, no. It’s not driven by lust and desire.”

MERU: It’s spiritual.

CAITLIN: “It’s spiritual.”

MERU: It’s love of the mind and the soul.


MERU: It’s great. I like that she says that and then it starts raining, and that’s like the table-setting for what happens. I will say, the actual scene is done in a montage that reminded me of the episode of Fresh Prince where Carlton also gets a montage the first time he has sex. And I was just like, “This is a weird parallel.”


DEE: That’s an amazing parallel, is what it is.

MERU: I don’t know what to think about it, but I was like, “Oh. Okay, it’s just some glowy lights and…”

DEE: I was briefly confused because it shows the two of them as children running in a field and I was like, “What’s happening?”

CAITLIN: That’s a little weird.

DEE: And then we flash to them in bed naked, and I’m like, “Oh, okay, they banged. Got you.” [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: You do hear her moan.

MERU: You really do and it’s very… it’s a lot.


MERU: It came out of nowhere, and I had to go back because I was like, “Did my computer make a weird noise just now?” And I was like, “Oh, no, that wasn’t my computer!” [Chuckles]

DEE: I always find it… I feel like this happens a lot in shoujo. It feels like characters go from relatively chaste kissing to sex, and there’s very little of the…

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Yeah! There’s not a lot of…

DEE: Because usually… I mean, just speaking from experience with my friend group, usually there’s a lot of making out before you get to the sex part. It’s a step-by-step process. It feels like in shoujo manga they skip all the bases and go straight to the home run.


MERU: I think that’s quite true, though, to… And I can only speak as a high school teacher in the countryside, but that’s actually kinda true to how it is for a lot of Japanese kids.

DEE: [crosstalk] Really?

MERU: There’s no sex ed, so we should preface…

DEE: Oh, sure.

MERU: There’s no sex ed, so a lot of them, the way that they’re learning is they’re doing the one thing that they know, which is sex. You can access sex now, freely through a variety of sites. I don’t know why I avoided saying the word “porn.”


MERU: But I think a lot of them are accessing… They see this and this is the act; this is what it is. So, you might make out, but [smacks hands together] you’re just gonna… I mean, you’re just gonna swing it out the park and just wham-bam-shabam.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Kids, you could have a much better time if there are steps in between.

MERU: I mean, yeah.

CAITLIN: Just in general.


MERU: But yeah, I think it’s just kind of going off of what you know the big ta-da is. [Chuckles] I’m using that phrase a little too hard.

CAITLIN: I love “big ta-da”!

DEE: “The big ta-da” is perfect!

MERU: It’s great.

DEE: That’s terrific.

CAITLIN: No, that’s great. [Chuckles]

DEE: So what you’re saying is we need more creative erotica in manga and light novels.

CAITLIN: [I] don’t disagree with that.

DEE: We also need sex ed. Obviously we need more sex ed. That one’s a given. But also more creative erotica.

MERU: Maybe that one over the… Yeah, definitely creative erotica, definitely some sex ed because… I mean, you know, when you’re only taught one thing exists, that’s just the thing, of course, everyone’s gonna jump to.

DEE: That’s what you’ll default to, sure.

MERU: You’re missing out on, like, the tapestry of everything between.

DEE: [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: And it’s interesting because… You know what pink palaces are, right?

MERU: What?

CAITLIN: You can just… If you’re a guy walking around in, like, a bar area (this is something that has literally happened to my friends), there’s a decent chance someone will walk up to you and ask if you want to buy a blowjob.

MERU: [Gasps] People buy those? [Chuckles]


DEE: Oh, yes, Meru. People buy those.

MERU: Oh, no! I didn’t know!

CAITLIN: And it’s not illegal. It’s not illegal because it’s not considered prostitution unless there’s penetration.

MERU: [whispering in wonder] Oh.

DEE: Interesting. I’m learning about the laws. Is this… I mean… Huh. Okay.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

MERU: Wow!

CAITLIN: Sorry! This took a weird turn!

DEE: Well, most high schoolers probably aren’t walking around red-light districts at night, so…

CAITLIN: No, that’s true.

MERU: Right, I was gonna say, their sexual exposure… And I mean, I assume it’s the same… At least in Japan, their sexual exposure would have been through, like, the gravure idol, the photo book or something. It would have been porn. So, yeah. Which, I guess… That’s not that unusual globally. A lot of people [obscured by crosstalk].

DEE: I mean, there’s definitely places in the U.S. where sex ed is basically nonexistent. I mean, I fortunately didn’t live in one, but I am aware that they exist! So…

MERU: I mean, as soon as someone from Texas… Need I say more?

DEE: Well, yeah.

CAITLIN: Yeah. No, I grew up in California. I got the whole comprehensive thing, but… Hey, guys, sex ed is important!

MERU: It’s very important.

DEE: It super is. Yes. I sure hoped Arima and Yukino used protection.

MERU: They probably did not! I’m gonna assume, because realistically in Japan you have to go to very specific places to get protection. But we hope.

CAITLIN: You can go to Condomania in Harajuku.

MERU: Yeah. I was gonna say, you can’t just go to, like, your local Japanese CVS. You gotta, like…

DEE: They don’t just give those at convenience…

MERU: No… Yeah, yeah.

DEE: [crosstalk] I mean, it’s called a convenience store. One would assume.

MERU: You can’t find them in the convenience store, but you go to the drugstore. But you can’t just go to, like, 7/11 and be like, “One condom desu.” You don’t… Nope.


DEE: No, no, Meru. Obviously, you wouldn’t say it like that. You would say, “One condom, kudasai!” Come on!


MERU: [deadpan] Oh, I’m sorry. Sorry!

DEE: You have to be polite, obviously!

MERU: Lest I forget my manners… Minna-san is DTF. So sorry.


MERU: Yeah, we hope that they did.

CAITLIN: Yeah, we can only hope.

MERU: [alarmed] Did she hear him throw up after his trauma kicked in? [Obscured by crosstalk]

DEE: [crosstalk] It’s not addressed, is it? We didn’t address that at all.

MERU: [crosstalk] No.

DEE: She gets up out of bed, and then he has the flashback because she’s not in bed with him at the time. So I’m not sure…

MERU: Yeah, because she’s excited. She’s like, “Ooh, food!”

DEE: That’s right. Well, I get that.

CAITLIN: Well, yeah. No, that makes sense.


DEE: Hey, she just burned a lot of calories, so…


MERU: And that goes into episode 19, which I don’t have anything to say about other than “They broke the budget.”

DEE: It was distractingly bad, the animation situation in that one. And I’m not a person where animation is necessarily a deal breaker. It can look a little ugly or a little wonky, and I’m like, “It’s fine. As long as the story is good, I can push past it. Whatever.” 

That was so rough that I was having trouble paying attention to what was happening, because I kept looking at the sketchy designs and being like, “What is going on? Oh, now this class rep has an actual photographic face”—which was hilarious, mind you. [Chuckles] But they’ve become large and are fighting through the school like kaiju. Again, very funny, but a surreal twist that the story hasn’t… I mean, I guess it’s kind of had up to this point, but it was hard to pay attention because of the sketchy designs.

CAITLIN: I think that was not supposed to be literal.

DEE: No, I know, I know.

CAITLIN: There’s one more joke I need to make about episode 18. Disclaimer: you never know what is going to trigger PTSD. Obviously, what Arima was going through was really, really difficult. However, the fact that he had sex and it awakened this negative part of him made me go, “Oh, like Angelus in Buffy.”

DEE: [Chuckles] I actually did write down, “And the moral, kids, is never have sex.” It was such an abrupt turn from this very sweet moment between these two kids who’ve been falling in love to this really intense flashback that Arima has. It’s very violent. And kudos to the anime staff: they don’t necessarily show anything. But it’s visceral via sound and monologue. 

And yeah, it was so jarring that I was like, “Shit!” And then I thought, “Oh, okay, so this is telling the kids at home that they shouldn’t have sex. Got you.”

MERU: And it did feel a bit like that scene from Mean Girls where the coach is like, “If you have sex you will die.” [Chuckles] And I was just like, I don’t know what to do with this. His trauma is real, but the table-setting on this, that was not it. Yukino gets up and is like, “Ooh, snacks!” and then it goes to him, and you’re like, “Oh, not snacks!”

CAITLIN: And I do think what that shows is the emotional disconnect that still exists between them.

MERU and DEE: Yeah.

DEE: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Because Yukino—


DEE: Go ahead, go ahead.

CAITLIN: That while Yukino is opening up, Arima is still very closed off.

MERU: Very much so.

DEE: Yes, yes. And to himself.

CAITLIN: Yes. He is not able to recognize before going in that this is a potential trigger for him, and it goes real bad!

MERU: It’s quite realistic because sometimes you don’t know what’s going to trigger you. I mean, as someone who lives with PTSD, for sure, there are times where I’m having a perfectly fine day and something very innocuous can be the thing that turns a nice day bad. So, that felt quite realistic. But I suppose it also does signal like, yeah, he’s got a lot more to do. He’s got a lot of unpacking left to do.

DEE: Yeah. Well, and Yukino… She is fortunate enough to have a very happy family that has drawn her friend group to her. And so, she has what I would describe as your average… She’s not without problems, but they’re all low-key just growing…

MERU: They’re quite mundane.

DEE: It’s growing up: figuring out who you are and what you want to be and what your relationships with other people are. And that’s not to say that those aren’t real and valid, but, you know, you’re gonna have sex with the boy you love and you’re gonna be like, “Oh, that was wonderful! I’m hungry.” She’s not going to have… Their backgrounds are so different that what happens after is naturally going to be very different. That really…

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Right. She doesn’t have triggers.

DEE: No. She wouldn’t, so…

CAITLIN: Yeah, no. Sorry, I wanted to get a little bit, slightly more serious discussion of that in.

DEE: No, no, that was good, that was good.

CAITLIN: Yeah. So, then, yes, episode 19, which is the first episode of the arc that will carry us all the way through to the end of the series. So, I honestly… I kind of love the popsicle sticks. I thought that they were a lot of fun. I thought they were a creative way to do it. And they were visually more interesting than other episodes we’ve had that were basically slideshows like, I think, episode 6, the one where they were in the school.

MERU: I’ll give you that.

DEE: Oh, visually more interesting, definitely, but because it’s such a turn into abstract surrealism, it doesn’t gel with what’s come before it, so it feels like we’re suddenly watching a different show. 

And what happened was the production collapsed, is my understanding. This was not an intentional artistic choice. So, if they had built some kind of in-story reason for the animation to look like this, I think I could have rolled with it, but I just spent the whole time going, “Oh, God, things are going real bad for the animators. Oh, boy. Ah, geez. Ah, beans.”

MERU: And it is that dissonance that really changes things because you come off of that really heavy moment, and all of a sudden it’s very slapsticky, there’s a new transfer student… It’s fun times in high school. Asaba’s gonna have a sexy dinner show! [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: So, I should have mentioned this before, but, yay, getting ready for the holidays: this is the stretch where things start to go really sour between Anno and Tsuda—Masami Tsuda, the creator. This is the episode where Anno theoretically leaves. That’s a little bit more contentious. I’ll talk about this probably next episode since I haven’t done the full research. Episode 17, I think, is the first episode where Anno’s name is off the credits. I think there was a recent episode where he said, “No, I didn’t leave permanently. I was going to leave and then everyone was like, ‘No, no, no, come back. We’re gonna ride this out together.’” 

But yeah, Tsuda was really angry. I feel a little bit like the kaiju battle was a big fuck-you to her, because that is something that is bizarre and wild and definitely would not be in the manga. The guy whose photographed face… who just shows up in the classroom is… I can’t remember his name. He was a staff member. He was a Gainax guy.

DEE: I assumed he was someone on staff, yeah.


DEE: I found that hysterical, but again, it was just such a weird swerve with the sketchy art style from everything that had come before that it was hard to gel with it and be like, “I’m watching the same show.” It felt like I was suddenly watching a very strange arthouse project! [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: Yeah. No, it is bizarre. It is a very, very strange shift. [Chuckles] And I do kind of wonder if it was a deliberate choice.

DEE: We— Guys, sorry—

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] But even divorced from the last episode, it is a fun episode. Just the tonal shift does make it kind of strange.

DEE: And the art shift, yeah. Hey, guys, I meant to warn us earlier: we’re past the hour here, so we probably need to be wrapping up. Peter, you can cut me saying that. But we’ve covered the majority of stuff and we can talk a little bit more about the school arc next time when we actually get into it.

CAITLIN: Yeah. Just before we go, real quick: any predictions?

MERU: [Chuckles] They’re gonna have sex again, and it’s gonna break the budget further.


MERU: No, I guess a serious prediction is that, because we’re entering the endgame, I’m imagining we’re gonna get some sort of flash-forward: they’re gonna be married. That’s kind of where it seems like… It seems like this is a forever couple.


DEE: I mean, I do agree with that. My unserious prediction is the budget collapses so much that we have an episode that is sock puppets.


DEE: And if that happens, you know what, I will have looped back around to no longer being angry about the production and I will then be deliriously happy about it.


DEE: My serious prediction is… I mean, if this was an original anime or I knew they were adapting the entirety of the manga, I would assume that we would deal with Arima’s stuff, but it sounds like that’s not going to be the case. 

So, my hope/prediction is that Yukino gets out of this arc kind of figuring out what she wants to do, like they have this whole school festival thing and she gets a better feel for who she is and what she wants to be going forward. And she and Arima can renew their devotion to each other, but it’s also that sense of “We are two individuals walking this path together.” So, that’s my hope/prediction for her.

CAITLIN: All right. Well, thank you for listening to Chatty AF. I hope you enjoyed our discussion. I feel like we got some good stuff in there this time.

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