What an eventful last couple weeks it has been. My sincere apologies for the delay in reviewing these episodes. It seems to have been ordained by some higher power that I am not deserving of gaining access to a workable laptop computer. Nevertheless, I will spare you the details and simply get on to what you’re more likely here for.
Seeing as I have three episodes here to review, I will split these up into groups and review them individually (but won’t go into too much detail). As will become obvious when the reviews begin, the relevancy of these episodes will heavily depend on their recency.
Episodes 8-10 Synopses
Episode eight continues the trend of Aharen and Raidou doing things and people reacting to them. I don’t remember.
Episode nine is more family oriented. We are introduced to the entire Aharen family (except parents, of course), including newcomer Eru, Aharen (Reina)’s protective (and mildly yandere) little sister. The episode also plants the seeds for an inevitable next step in Raido and Aharen’s relationship.
Episode ten is primarily set in a camping site amongst Aharen, Raidou, and their friends (of whom I only remember one name). While the group tries to make the trip memorable after Aharen forgets to bring ingredients for meals, the biggest memories come in the still of night. Drama ensues.
All right, time for some context:
Here’s a cheeky fun fact: I actually watched this episode on the 21st of May. Indeed, I was set to review the eighth episode… and then everything happened. Now on a temporary PC, I re-downloaded episode eight because I literally forgot that I even viewed it. A few seconds into watching the episode unfold, my brain experienced an incredible burst of deja vu—”Wait… I’ve seen this.”
So I decided not to rewatch it, because then I realized that nothing of value was lost. Even now, I remember next to nothing, only that the teacher who gets nosebleeds watching Aharen and Raidou’s wholesome behavior gets some screentime. What does that tell me? That it’s not worth covering. That after only two weeks I’ve forgotten the content of the entire episode shows that it was likely an uneventful and boring twenty minutes.
That’s my review. Thanks for reading.
Now is the time for some actual dissection. Episode nine, at least compared to the majority of the series, was relatively good. The opening gag of Raidou randomly shifting his appearance to that of a dreamboat bishounen while sick was humorous enough. Seeing everyone naturally gravitate towards his sudden transformation had its moments… though even his sister was affected, which kind of made me squint.
Outside of that, the events of the episode revolved around Aharen’s family members sizing up Raidou’s worth to their big sister. Indeed, much of the content revolved around gambling on the charms of the new Aharen sister, Eru, and her casually dismissive nature. To disclose an open secret, I’m quite fond of tsunderes (blame Toradora!), so she ended up being cute enough for me to tolerate. More than anything, perhaps, I was simply glad she wasn’t too over the top among a cast of over the top characters.
Its entirety had a sort of cohesiveness to it that was not as prominent in prior episodes. As I (think I’ve) stated before, episodes of Aharen-san that have a sort of “theme” or “arc” to them end up being more interesting than those simply throwing random skits one after another. Episode nine was “The Aharen Family Power Hour,” and while it was not revolutionarily sweet or funny, it’s at the very least memorable. Probably not as good as episode four, it’s still among the series’ best.
When episode ten opened with a friend of the main duo asking them if they “Wanted to go camping,” my brain sparkled with recognition. “Here it is,” I thought to myself. The point of no return. My manga knowledge served me well to know the events that were soon to come, and I was immediately intrigued with how the anime would adapt it.
To get right to the thick of it, the camping trip ends up becoming the site of the jump between friends to lovers. Raidou and Aharen officially begin dating after the return from the trip (if the subtle insinuations at the end of the episode weren’t obvious enough). When this occurred in the manga, I was rather shocked—I was firmly entrenched in the mindset that the mangaka would keep them teetering on the edge of romance until the end of the manga. Instead, they threw us all a bone.
I will use this information to frame the analysis of the episode, as I’m sure it will be the highlight for most any watcher. It’s a stark departure from the generally goofy nature of the series and a somewhat unique perspective on the nature of relationships within anime. Generally speaking, anime end with a pairing, not with a couple episodes left afterwards. Plus, as the events afterwards have shown, their relationship hasn’t changed much even with the new title of “Couple” adorning them.
However, after knowing what was to come, my next thought became, “Huh… that felt kind of fast.” Granted, it has been some time since I’ve read the manga up to that point, but the camping trip arc isn’t until some 60 chapters into the manga. Did they really go through 60+ chapters of manga in nine episodes? It certainly doesn’t feel like it, especially with how overlong some of those skits were.
Plus, at least from where the anime is concerned, there was very little build-up to impending romance. Sure, there were some sweet moments of intimacy between the two on occasion, but who’s to say that they were fueled by romantic fascination? Could Aharen not simply be appreciative in a platonic sense? (Who am I kidding? This is anime.) Episode nine did have Ren (Reina’s little brother) ask Raidou outright if he were dating his sister, but that was the only blatant signal that the possibility was relevant.
That said, perhaps fueled by my fondness for the couple itself as a pair, episode ten is hands down the best episode in the series thus far (likely not being topped). The sheer surprise of the events that come are enough to be more memorable than anything prior, and it’s a nice change of pace from the general slice of life buddy comedy routine. Plus, it’s cute. Sometimes you need to appreciate the little things when all else lags (like the continuously underwhelming animation and humor).
Perhaps this is unfair given the mechanisms present with the genre, but the last three episodes ranged in quality based on the quantity of… things actually happening. Indeed, it’s all fun and goofiness most of the time, yet when episode ten implements a serious jump in the relationship between two prominent characters in a (mostly) serious light, it ends up benefitting in the long run.
It’s not nearly enough to save the series from being passable at best, yet it’s a nice focal point that gives those suffering on this overly long voyage a moment of respite. Aharen and Raidou are a true OTP.
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Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.