Oh my god, he did it. Buuut…
Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san
Studio: Shin-Ei Animation
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance
EvilBob: Was… was this the final episode? This seemed like the final episode.
CVoyage: I don’t think so? The ending theme and whatnot were all different and seemed pretty final, but… this was supposed to be twelve episodes… right?
EvilBob: Pretty sure this was supposed to be twelve episodes… so what’s left?
CVoyage: A finale, I guess. But… this is still technically a Shonen. If he’s already beaten the final boss, then…
EvilBob: I guess he has to actually admit it to himself, now? I mean… what else could possibly be left, right?
CVoyage: This warrants closer examination…
EvilBob: And here he goes…
EvilBob: Prepare those reading glasses, people. Things are about to get literate.
EvilBob: …That… sounded better in my head.
CVoyage: Did it? Did it really?
CVoyage: All right, so from the top. The beginning of episode 10 focuses on them comparing heights after Nishikata bumps into a utility pole.
EvilBob: I swear that girl stalks him. She just conveniently shows up every single time he does something embarrassing.
CVoyage: I mean, think about it. She rides her bike to school. Meaning she has every capability of passing him. It wouldn’t surprise me if she rides until she sees him then slows down to observe until he does something compromising. Then she catches up to make her move. It’s a tactic that requires the patience of a sai-
EvilBob: That girl is not a saint and you know it.
CVoyage: Fine. The patience of a predatory animal.
EvilBob: That’s… kind of better. I think.
CVoyage: Point is, she catches up to the boy and makes a fool of him… or, rather, she allows him to make a fool of himself. This particular instance sees the two of them stop by a shrine to compare their height. But instead of measuring by standing against a wall or whatever and leaving a mark, they stand against one another, back-to-back at first, then face-to-face.
EvilBob: After he accuses her of cheating when they can’t see each other, that is. Which she was, by the way. Turns out, the character models don’t lie. Nishikata is slightly taller than her.
CVoyage: Honestly I liked this little exchange. Another objectively innocent scenario, made into a cute little moment of closeness (both literally and otherwise) for the two of them. It’s also kind of interesting how Takagi’s teasing just gradually evolved from the beginning of the show to this point. Initially, it was pretty much nothing but verbal jabs and matching wits. But her antics gradually get closer to outright flirting and overt touchy-feeliness. Like with the next skit about cold hands.
EvilBob: I swear, I love these girls. Their interactions never fail to amuse. They play off of each other really well.
CVoyage: Mina and Sanae are tormenting Yukari with their own cold hands, which is adorable in the context of harmless childhood fun, of course. Buuut the action can be given other contexts… and oh dear, is Takagi ever aware of this.
EvilBob: It’s a fact she uses well to her advantage, doing the same to Nishikata then telling him he could try to get her back. But seriously. She knew, good and well, that he couldn’t do it.
CVoyage: At this point, she’s really just testing him. It’s a win-win for her, after all. If he refuses, she gets to continue teasing him and is endlessly amused by his flustered reactions. If he obliges, she’s getting closer with the object of her affection. There’s really no scenario where this works out negatively for her. But, speaking of tests, this isn’t the only one she has in store for the boy.
EvilBob: Oh, he wishes. No, next she actually uses their closeness as ammunition. He was already bugged out by his friends seeming to think they were going out. And when he can talk to her again, oh she definitely knows. She uses this to try to get him to ask her to walk home together instead of the other way around.
CVoyage: Though I will admit, the logic was preeetty flimsy. “Ask me, so they don’t think I’m the one in love with you.” But… wouldn’t that just lead people to think, even more, that it was mutual? Wait…
EvilBob: And then came the ultimate test. Nishikata devises the ultimate plan to tease Takagi and win for once.
CVoyage: A glorified version of ‘Would You Rather’. And, of course, it goes about as well as you expect. He asks her what he thinks would be a tough question and what does she do? Makes it aaall about him. See, he asks if she’d prefer a tasty drink that makes her sick or a healthy drink that tastes awful.
EvilBob: Her response? “Would you come and visit me if I got a fever?” …Well played, Takagi. Well played indeed.
CVoyage: The answer is yes, by the way. Yes, he would. Undeterred by how not bothered she was by that question, he keeps trying. His next question she answers just as easily. Then she has one for him. Would he rather she disappear or he have to put up with her teasing forever?
EvilBob: Forever, huh? So, ’til death do them part?
CVoyage: Naturally, not wanting to wish her away forever because he’s not heartless-
EvilBob: Yes. That’s totally why he doesn’t want to wish her away. Definitely.
CVoyage: Yeah, he chooses the teasing. And then the last question is quite possibly the most meteoric hint she’s given the boy since the start of the show. Would he rather fail every single exam he ever takes for the rest of his school life… or kiss her? So. What do we think he chose?
EvilBob: Keep in mind, the boy looove his videogames.
CVoyage: Yeah. Probably almost as much as he loves-
EvilBob: Now, now. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
CVoyage: Fine. Anyway, he goes for option B. Big shock. And then she messes with him a bit by getting into his personal space to “compare their height” again…
EvilBob: I know we’ve said it before…
CVoyage: But it warrants repeating.
C/E: This. Girl. Is. The. DEVIL.
CVoyage: But eventually even the devil’s luck runs out. And the next episode sees it finally happen.
EvilBob: It starts out pretty slanted against Nishikata still, though. There’s an adorable skit with a cat, where she tricks him into admitting he wants to pet one. But the first skit that really matters is their art class, where they have to draw portraits of each other.
CVoyage: As cute as the scene is, I’ve gotta address how it sets things up. It was honestly the first scene that really made me notice exactly how Nishikata’s come along since episode 1. Oh, he’s still dense as a brick about most of this, but he’s far more conscious of all the implications and whatnot now than he was initially. And his thoughts are starting to reflect the progression of their dynamic. In a vacuum, it’s extremely blatant as Nishikata’s just beginning to realize Takagi is “pretty,” as he puts it. But looking back, getting to this point isn’t at all sudden. And in the earliest episodes, his mind didn’t really go there of his own volition at all. It only ever went there when he was on the defensive.
EvilBob: It’s a middle school romantic comedy. You’re reading too much into it.
CVoyage: A story is a story is a story. No matter how simple, they all have elements that can be broken down for better understanding. Sort of like a how-to guide.
EvilBob: Well, save it for the audiobook.
CVoyage: So very uncultured… fine. Aaand then there’s the last bit. The fortune telling. Actually, this bit seemed a little longer than usual. But it was set up extremely well. First off we see Takagi (and friends) getting their fortunes told by a girl with tarot cards. Then she bumps into Nishikata and challenges him to rock-paper-scissors.
EvilBob: And of course he doesn’t wanna do that. Remember last time? He sure does. But he gets her to promise not to use any weird mind games and… he won!
CVoyage: He won?
EvilBob: He won!
CVoyage: Yes! Haha! He finally wins! Right?
CVoyage: No. The bet was that if he won, she’d help him clean the schoolroom. See where this is going yet?
EvilBob: So after making him good and embarrassed, she reveals that, yes, she knew what he’d play in their game because the tarot cards said so. In other words…
CVoyage: She let him win. Curses.
EvilBob: Convinced of the power of fortune telling, he returns to school the next day, confident because he’s seen his horoscope and things are looking good.
CVoyage: Until the day continues and he gets teased so much, he calculates having to do over 150 push-ups when he gets home. But it’s okay because he still intends to get Takagi back with… a plan he hasn’t thought of yet. But he’s sure he’ll come up with one because the horoscope said so! He even turned down playing videogames at a friend’s house to walk home with her so he’d get his chance.
EvilBob: And then… it happens.
CVoyage: He flat out tells her that he wanted to walk home with her. And she just broke.
EvilBob: Completely unresponsive. Total Blue-Screen. The lights were on, but nobody was home. She. Checked. Out.
CVoyage: And he didn’t even mean to do it. Nor does he seem aware that he did it. Immediately after recognizing what he’d just said, he gets all flustered and starts falling into his usual schtick of trying to explain himself, even going as far as to admit his actual intentions.
EvilBob: Gotta love how she tried to play it off, too. Saying she’d pretend she didn’t hear it if he’d say it again. But there was something different about her this time. Usually, when she pulls something like that, she keeps her composure completely. But this time? Oh, this time her eyes were a-sparklin’.
CVoyage: If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s completely obvious now. She’s got it bad. But, of course, he’s too dense to notice. And, to be fair, he’s completely mortified at the moment, so he’s even less rational than usual. Rather than go along with it, he runs away, leaving Takagi there to regain her composure…
EvilBob: I have no idea how this isn’t the last episode, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how they could possibly wrap this up.
CVoyage: There’s one more episode to go, but I’ll say, right now, that this pair is Super Effective, from start to finish. These two are just too cute for words and it’s accented with a lot of other charming pieces, like the antics of Mina, Sanae, and Yukari. I’ll actually save my full thoughts for later, but the short version is that I just love how they’ve progressed this dynamic.
EvilBob: I’d say both episodes are about as Evil as a Super Villain (10). Neither one was boring in the slightest. They were funny, charming, cute, and everything I want from a show like this. It’s still amazing to me that the humor actually hasn’t gotten old. Like we’ve been saying from the beginning, it’s the same joke, over and over, yet somehow fresh every time. If you wanna see another relationship that’s just as cute but a bit further along, check out Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. Sakura and Syaoran are just adorable.
CVoyage: It’s all winding down with one more episode to go, but if you wanna catch up and see how it ends with us, then Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Mondays at 11:30am EST.
EvilBob: And that’s basically all we’ve got for you today, folks. Thanks for letting us waste your time, people.
CVoyage: As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome…
EvilBob: And Keep it classy.
CVoyage: Take care.
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