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Patron Pick Winter 2024: Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi – 05

The returns are in, and Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi won the Patron Pick poll for this season.  That surprised me, but even more so that the vote wasn’t particularly close.  There were a few “I expect you to cover ***** anyway so”, and “I think ***** will win so I’ll vote for Dosanko” votes in there, but hey – a vote is a vote.  I can’t say I’m disappointed – I really like this show, and that’s surprising me less and less with each episode.  I think it’s just good at what it does, and you don’t really have to dig any deeper than that.  I think I have to stop saying it’s surprisingly good, and just say it’s good.

It’s hardly surprising that a romcom airing in winter would have a Valentine’s episode (a week early, but that’s fine).  BokuYaba pretty much set a benchmark that nobody is going to touch, but I must say this was a really good iteration of the old trope.  It starts off with karaoke – Thriller Karaoke to be precise.  And Thriller Karaoke is a real place (Dosanko Gal is full of Hokkaido realia), a small chain that appears to be Hokkaido-only.  Minami sings a song (“Midnight Sunflower”, not actually real as far as I can tell) and unsurprisingly, she’s a natural at karaoke.  Tsubasa says he’s been a few times (that did surprise me, though less so by the end of the episode) and Sayuri is – again unsurprisingly – a veteran of solo karaoke (which either is or isn’t pathetic depending on who you ask).

Minami is a natural social animal, that’s for sure.  She gives out handmade but still giri choco “like school lunch” (she made 60 the year before).  Sayuri is… not.  She wants to give some to Tsubasa, even though she seems quite convinced that he’s into Minami (and vice-versa).  She has no soaring ambition to do honmei – she sneaks to the Aeon to search for store-bought – but after running into Minami there she winds up helping her on her chocolate supply shopping and asking for help in making some herself.

This is now a love triangle of sorts, undeniably.  But it doesn’t bother or even annoy me because of the way it’s being handled.  Both Minami and Sayuri are leery of stepping on the other’s toes, convinced they like Tsubasa.  But they’re also becoming friends, and don’t want to hurt the other.  It’s a potentially ugly situation but all three of them are just nice, decent kids, and it’s not any of their fault.  I personally think this is a lost cause for Sayuri but that’s beside the point, which is the impossible balancing act this dynamic has the two girls trying to maintain.

This comes to a rather tragic head when the two of them wind up talking on the phone (Minami initiates, naturally), and Minami talks Sayuri through making a simple ganache.  She’s already prepared a massive spread of choco for the next day (70 this time), with one very special choco clearly intended for Tsubasa.  She works up the nerve to start to ask Sayuri that question (which Sayuri has already started to ask her and chickened out), but the panicked reaction causes her to have a disastrous kitchen nightmare and ruin all her chocolates.  Which is, you know, really sad even if they’re just chocolates and this is just an anime.

It’s kind of heartbreaking seeing Minami fake her way through it the next day, being the smiling presence everyone expects her to be as she passes out store-bought candy (some are rather rude about this).  Eventually, when she and Tsubasa are cleaning the music room (no clubs during finals week) Minami finally breaks down and admits the truth (well, most of it).  Tsubasa surprises her (and me, though it was foreshadowed) by sitting down at the piano and playing the song from karaoke, which he’s learned by ear (apparently having considerable piano training – and talent).  This is quite a hero boyfriend moment for humble Tsubasa, and Minami (and Sayuri too) is suitably gobsmacked.

This puts poor Sayuri in the worst position of all, having brought honmei choco to give to Tsubasa.  She eventually passes is off as tomo choco (“buddy chocolate”), a nebulous third class of Valentine’s choco in-between the two main ones.  It’s homemade but normally given by girls to girl friends non-romantically, and she does give some to Minami too.  But this is clearly a very real problem for Sayuri – she likes Minami, she’s fallen for Tsubasa, and Minami hasn’t made any official moves yet.  In a different show I’d be very worried about that, but Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi is so good-hearted and restrained in its approach that I (perhaps time will prove foolishly, but I doubt it) feel like I don’t need to be here.

The post Patron Pick Winter 2024: Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi – 05 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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