Okay, I’m sort of wavering on my impulse to let Yubisaki to Renren go. I did think last week’s episode was a small step up, but not enough in its own right to change my feelings. I still got annoyed by a bunch of stuff here, but this was the most involved I’ve felt since the series kicked off. And my conviction that the series’ outlook was totally messed up is not quite as strong as it was. It’s progress of a sort, I suppose.
With Itsuomi inviting (well, that’s a nice way of putting it) Yuki back to his place, things were bound to get more intimate between them one way or the other. He still basically steamrolls her, which doesn’t thrill me. And he still has no regard for her personal space, likewise. But at least we got an acknowledgement (from Kyouya, but still) that he has a problem with that. Basically it seems like that’s just how Itsuomi is – too familiar, pushy, but not malicious in any substantive way. That doesn’t excuse it, but it does make their interactions a little less squicky. Also, I confess I really like his “do you or do you not?” tic, because it’s very representative of his personality and at the same time, it’s incredibly un-Japanese to just ask outright rather than dance around a subject endlessly.
I think it’s also a point in Itsuoimi’s favor that he learned to sign for her after knowing her for two weeks and her family couldn’t be bothered (which should piss her off, but doesn’t seem to). And that he seems genuinely interested in learning more about her. He doesn’t condescend her over her hearing impairment the way the rest of the story seems to – if anything he’s too direct about it, but I think that’s better. He gets out of her that she does occasionally speak, though she’s not ready to do so in front of him. And he gets a laugh out of her too, which was the most genuinely romantic moment of the series so far (though he went and spoiled it with that tickling thing, which was totally out of bounds).
Yuki learns a bit more about Itsuomi too – he’s 22 and skipped a year for a working holiday. His family lives in Germany and he used to as well, and he has a little sister. What seems clear here – to me, whether or not to the author I don’t know – is that Yuki is letting her euphoria over this new experience get the better of her and putting herself in a dangerous position. “Everything”, was really not the right answer there. I don’t think Itsuomi is the sort of guy to take advantage of that, but others might be. It seems as if Yuki’s sheltered upbringing hasn’t prepared her for the realities of independent living, and that’s a real concern whether it’d acknowledged as one or not.
Emma showing at at the perfect moment was an annoying, cliche twist I could have lived without. She’s a total ass about the whole thing too, doing her best to sow dissent between Itsuomi and Yuki (not realizing Yuki couldn’t hear her taunts). Itsuomi hasn’t respected Yuki’s boundaries, it’s true, but he certainly deserved an opportunity to explain himself to her where Emma was concerned, and Rin was right to engineer that. Yuki doesn’t want to speak in front of Itsuomi yet, he doesn’t want to explain some things about his past – that’s fair dos, I guess, but if they’re going to be intimate beyond his usual smothering physicality those are the sort of steps they’re going to have to take eventually.