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Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu (The Dangers in My Heart) Season 2 – 10

Before I get into yet another sublime episode of Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu, I just want to share a theory of mine, which has been nagging at me of late.  This will make even more sense if you read the manga, but I have a suspicion Ichi is going to decide to become a chef.  The connection with Anna’s father is obvious, but it goes deeper.  Seems to be the profession suits him generally, and Kyou really seems to like the idea of creating something in the kitchen that makes people feel loved.  I won’t go into much detail here but remember where you heard it first if it does come to pass.

Now then, this episode.  If you happen to follow the English weekly anime sites (Anime Trending and Anime Corner) – which surprisingly, the official BokuYaba accounts in Japan seem to – the series has pulled off something amazing this season.  It’s swept every week as the #1 series in both polls, and over the last month has accomplished a complete sweep including male character-female character-ship.  This episode strikes me as one which might see that streak end, because there were no huge “events” here – and So So no Frieren had a big splashy moment with lots of sakuga.  But this ep, for me, shows as well as any why BokuYaba may just be the best romance series we’ve ever seen.

Everything that makes BokuYaba great was on display here.  The small moments that make up a relationship, the incredible track record with supporting characters, the intensity of emotion and hilarious gags, the awkwardness.  We’re really damn lucky to have Akagi and Shin-Ei in charge – I picked them as potential partners immediately after the anime leaked for a reason.  And in terms of the question I posed last week, this ep suggests we may just end at chapter 113 as a result of the pacing simply slowing down.  This episode was three chapters, and it included 99.5 (the “Adachi chapter”) – which is probably the least “extra” extra chapter in the series.  It’s almost as long as a full chapter and connects very directly to the main story (as we saw here).

We start with the start of the new school year, and our heroes are third-years – 100% sempai territory.  I loved how both Anna and Kyou were too scared to look for the others’ name on the class list, because that’s exactly what I would have done too.  As it turns out they did get grouped together again (in class 3-1), and Anna can’t resist a squee and a clasp of hands when Kyoutarou walks in.  So much for that “keep your distance in crowded spaces” mantra  – and her attempts to cover are hilariously weak considering she is a professional actress.

The first order of business is Kobayashi, and it’s the one tiny niggle I have with the episode (though to be fair, the subs contribute to this).  Chii is freaking out because her name wasn’t on any class list, and she thinks she may have been held back.  She goes to the teacher’s room with her posse (including Ichi, in hiding) in tow, and gets to the truth.  What the manga makes clear that I’m not sure the anime does is that Maeda-sensei did this on purpose as a “joke” in response to her little play trying to influence him not to split up the group.  It also makes clear that Ichi is reproaching him for this, and in fact that’s why Maeda says to the principal “Didn’t I tell you he’d be OK?”.  He’s happy Kyou has become assertive enough to scold a teacher.

Then, to the new faces.  Again, BokuYaba gets a legend of a seiyuu for a small role – Nazuka Kaori as Moriya-sensei, one of those uber-genki teachers that drive you nuts.  Two girls feature prominently.  We have Andou Kanna (Iguchi Yuka), an old pal of Moeko (she calls her “Kankan”) who wore masks before it was cool.  And the glamourous Hanzawa Yurine (Ueda Reina), Kankan’s much quieter best friend.  Andou is a hard-core shipper who boasts about how she organized a flash mob to get two kids from their second-year class to confess (they’ve since broken up), which immediately and with good reason puts Ichi in panic mode, as he and Anna have let their guard down a good bit already.

Anna slips Kyou a note telling him to stay after class, and uses the opportunity to give him a belated (not her fault) birthday present.  His derpy smile at this is truly adorable, and he mistakes the wallet chain for a necklace before a too-thrilling moment when she affixes it for him.  Panic sets in again when Moe, Hanzawa, and Andou return, causing the lovebirds to hide under the teacher’s lectern.  Indeed, Andou is suspicious, and Moeko is not as definitive as Kyou would like in throwing her off the scent.  What follows is possibly the funniest sight gag in the entire manga, and I was relieved that it didn’t get the Yamama panties treatment in the adaptation.

Meanwhile, the Adachi chapter.  Poor Adachi has been exiled to Class 2, but it’s clear he and Kyou are still friends (which is quite a realization for Kyou).  The boys in the band reconnect after school, and Kenta almost lets the truth about Ichi and Anna slip (well, in truth he does but Adachi lets them wriggle off the hook).  Ichi knows Adachi likes Yamada, which makes this even harder.  He settles on “she’s the one I’m closest with” and that seems to satisfy his friend for the moment.

Yamada and Andou are hitting it off.  Anna tries to call her “Kanna” but Hanzawa – with uncharacteristic assertiveness – insists that name is her exclusive.  So Anna settles on “Panda” and Kanna on “Yamada A”.  Serina is in this class too, as is Kenta (though he’s been dashing off to Class 3 to ogle Hara-san at every opportunity).  Another new school year ritual is the physical exams, and while kids zealously guard their results here, Kyou is genuinely pleased to have found that he grew 6 cm (Anna indelicately informs him that she grew 15 cm one year in elementary).  Bayashiko is using all her Ki to be taller (not with much success) but Yamada is focusing hers on something other than height.

The library is, as ever, the holy altar of Ichi and Anna’s intimacy.  Anna is absolutely thrilled that he’s grown so much (he’s revelling in being able to reach the next higher shelf), and insists that they mark their heights on the library wall (Ichi does at least stop her from using permanent marker).  Kyou deciding to use “Anna” to mark her height (whether in direct response to her using “Kyou” for his or not) is a truly electric moment.  She’s utterly over the moon at this, overcome by romantic love – and he’s so swept up in the moment that he’s on the verge of baring his soul entire to her. Hanzawa walks in at that moment, however.

Hanzawa and Andou are both great characters, but then all the supporting cast in Norio’s hands are.  But Hanzawa’s role here is just a thing of narrative beauty.  She’s an observer, and also an innocent (the gaps between kids this age in terms of relationships are truly staggering).  Hanzawa knows Anna and Kyou are covering (she switches seats so they can be together), but she doesn’t understand what it means to be in love (and isn’t interested in flash mobs or public declarations, it’s the feelings Hanzawa longs to understand).  She confronts Anna over this, and the latter is a bit taken aback at first.  But Anna’s eventual response is possibly her MVP moment of the series so far.

That letter is just so perfect.  She’s considerate of Hanzawa’s feelings,  but her feelings for Kyoutarou are so deep and so profound.  “Like a cat” indeed (many manga readers had made this connection before the letter ever happened).  Ichi should not have been reading that of course, but he at least stopped himself before getting to the climax (which isn’t hard to guess at).   Hanzawa is Chii’s physical opposite but they’re both still children (as  witness her elementary school sea creatures book) as some of their classmates are climbing the steps of adulthood.  Anna finessed this perfectly, with  a delicacy and insight she doesn’t always reveal.

There’s so much else I could talk about here, but as usual this has gotten way too verbose.  This is a big moment for kids, the start of the new year, and while Norio and Akagi captures the little moments beautifully they also use this stage to show us just how far Yamada and Ichi have come.  He is indeed in the “main character seat” now, but the notable thing is that he’s able to step back and realize it.  Truly this is as close to romcom perfection as animanga has ever come for me, and it’s because BokuYaba is every bit as great a story of personal growth as it as a romance.

The post Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu (The Dangers in My Heart) Season 2 – 10 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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