In some ways I feel like there was progress here. But all the things that annoy me about Yubisaki to Renren were still present, and a whole bunch of new mines got laid down on top of them. And I continue to be bothered by what I can only call the Shigatsu Effect. Does the series think all the things I believe are disturbing actually are, or does it think they’re just fine and even desirable?
Itsuomi is as emblematic of that as anybody, but that he’s not even the series’ biggest problem is telling. I felt a little better about him for a while here, but then he went and manhandled Yuki’s face out of the blue. In what world is that an OK thing for a guy you barely know (if we’re honest) to do? But of course, all Yuki does is gush over it because she’s in love. The whole sign language guide thing was a cute development, and one affectation of his I’ve started to like is his whole “do you want to, or do you not?” routine. It’s one of those weird personal quirks that feels very real and not manufactured.
Then we have Oushi, who I somehow want to like because I tend to feel for characters in that position but just continues to make it impossible. He’s a very strong example of not knowing whether the writer realizes just how wrong the stuff he does is. Throwing the tissues is one thing – childish but relatively harmless. But that remark about any guy who wasn’t just looking to take advantage of Yuki only in it to feel good about how nice he was for giving her the time of day? If Yuki had any self-respect she’d be horribly offended by that, but that’s the problem – a lot of the time she acts like she doesn’t. And don’t get me started on the mom who never bothered to learn to sign and puts Yuki on a curfew even though she’s in college.
What about Emma, the new domino on the board? Well, there’s obviously something hinky going on between she and Itsuomi. Kyouya’s remark that the two of them would “never” go out before declining to say why could imply all sorts of things, but has drama all over it. Her showing up at Itsuomi’s apartment was a pretty edgy thing to do – I was glad he bailed rather than giving in to her and letting her stay alone with him, but you can’t help but wonder why she felt like she could do that (and had clearly done it before).
The dearth of college-age series makes me very reluctant to drop Yubisaki to Renren until I’m sure it’s as whack as I suspect it is – and right now I’m still not sure. If this turns out to be a story about Yuki finally realizing she’s selling herself short and being treated shabbily by many people close to her, that could turn out to be something quite rewarding. I don’t have much confidence that’s what it is, but I’m not ready to pull the plug either.