I mean, it’s just not fair. Every time I want to dislike it, it does something so cute, it sucks me back in.
Note: Yes, I know episode 4 is out. I’ll cover that and episode 5 two weeks from now. This is just a catch-up review.
I swear, sometimes it’s like these two are competing to bring in the gold for the dumbass do-si-do, just to see which of them can make the most questionable decisions. Then they go and do something that’s so sweet it’ll make you need to brush your teeth after viewing. But I suppose there’s some credit to be found in that. At the very least, this isn’t one of those series where you question why one of the characters even bothers with the other. It’s not like either of them is any better or worse than the other. They both make some pretty stupid decisions. But, then, I suppose that’s kind of the point anyway. It’s young love. You’re gonna make bad calls. I just think some of these choices are especially poor.
I can kind of understand Tsutsui’s poor decision making. It’s a new situation to him and he’s already socially awkward and has no idea what in the world he’s doing. Since he’s a cerebral person, he has a tendency to overthink things and panics when the confusion and stress of it all mounts. But Iroha’s bad decisions seem to just come out of nowhere. Helped none by how little we know about her.
Episode 2 is actually a perfect example of this. The bulk of the episode’s first half sees the characters indulge in some high-level stupidity tango. Tsutsui not reading Iroha enough to know she wants to spend time together is understandable. He even points that one out, himself, later on. But they even indulge in that tired trope of his seeing her with someone else and irrationally mistaking the situation. Now, yes she has a reputation for being promiscuous (spoiler alert: she actually isn’t). And Tsutsui hasn’t been going out with her long enough to really know a great deal about her. Plus the situation that got her interested in him in the first place might not have done anything to dissuade him from believing that rumor, at least a little. That said, I can think of several ways he could’ve dealt with that situation far better.
He figures out that the guy she was with is a doctor and asks about his relation to her. Rather than just tell Tsutsui, like the blasted adult he is, he just lets Tsutsui beat himself up and ridicules him. And now you know what I mean in regards to the dumbass do-si-do. They aren’t competing with just one another. They’re competing with other characters, as well. We have to learn the truth from Iroha, herself, a whole scene later.
She’s understandably annoyed with Tsutsui for leaving her alone in an earlier scene. He tries to confront her on the matter, showing a rather unusual bit of assertiveness. But that backfires. I suppose it’s possible that she grew annoyed that he even slightly thought she was cheating on him (therefore buying the rumors that she was “easy”), but her decision to outright lie to his face several times made my eyes roll so hard, they could be heard. And they’re not cute little white lies, like a certain other anime, meant to just tease him.
She seems genuinely hurt that he believes her first couple of lies – specifically that she’s dating that doctor and that she isn’t a virgin. So she takes those lies back. And yet she lies to him again, anyway. She truthfully tells him the guy was her family doctor, then goes on to tell him that she has a serious illness. Which is false and gets the boy to worry himself half to death. That, however, was her objective. To see if he’d worry about her. Why she felt the need to test that, I don’t know. It should be fairly obvious he’s crazy about her. But whatever.
Yet despite all of that, the second half of the episode is the exact opposite. These really are good decisions. Tsutsui apologizes to the doctor and learns Iroha’s birthday is coming up. So as you can expect, he starts agonizing over how he can celebrate it with her, (un)subtlely trying to ask her what she likes and such. They spend a little time at his house, where she actually takes an interest in what he likes and asks to watch some of the anime he enjoys. And blast it all if that little moment wasn’t adorable. But, of course, his mom had to go and mess it up.
Later they go on a date to an amusement park which plays through every single beat you expect it to… minus the rollercoaster, actually. She gets him to go on a tower drop ride that just about makes him sick. He even assumes she wants to go on a rollercoaster next, which she lampshades by asking if he thinks she’s some kind of demon. She wouldn’t do that, seeing the condition she’s in. That bit honestly got a chuckle out of me. And then there was the obligatory Ferris Wheel scene. We, of course, know exactly how that’s going to go. He gives her his present, which is a handmade clay statuette that he spent days slaving over with his friend. The dialogue accompanying it is sweet and when she responds the way we absolutely knew she would, he laments the unfairness of their situation.
It’s all incredibly cute and endearing and everything. Episode 3 is a lot more open-and-shut. There are certainly some dumb decisions being made, but unlike the ones from the previous two episodes, none of them seem so catastrophically poor that they’d be unbelievable and unhinge the entire story. They’re a lot more in-tune with the stupid choices made by a typical teenager, going through what they are. It’s otherwise largely centered around introducing another character to the fold.
The episode otherwise tackles that situation of trying to weigh the time you spend with your friends versus your significant other, and balance them to the best of your ability. This leads to Tsutsui avoiding Iroha, which obviously makes her upset. From there he asks advice from one of their classmates – Ishino – who’d previously treated him rather harshly. But she helps him, if a bit reluctantly, out of pity. Later, when she tries to cheer him up after Iroha deflects him, Iroha shows up, having gotten jealous of seeing them together and so-on and so-forth.
The good thing is that, in this particular instance, the both of them actually do that thing that a lot of fictional couples never do. They talk to one another. They work out the problem by sitting there and speaking up about what’s on their minds. Have you any idea how rare that is in fiction? So yeah. They work through that one pretty quickly and move on to other narratives after comforting one another for a bit.
Tsutsui picks up that Iroha likes men who cook, so he takes it upon himself to pick up cooking. It surprisingly comes pretty easily to him. He even winds up making cookies that he brings to class to share with Ito and Iroha. Also, Ishino shows up. Her manner of speaking is… coarse, but she’s good people. She picks up that Iroha isn’t actually anything like her reputation suggests. But Iroha just hand-waves this by stating that she doesn’t need friends since she’ll be leaving in half a year.
Now, this was pretty much the only eye-roll episode 3 got out of me. First of all, bullcrap. Everyone needs friends. If she really believed she didn’t she wouldn’t have bothered with Tsutsui and she wouldn’t hang out with Ito around. Secondly, do cell phones and social media just not exist, all of a sudden? Obviously, they do, because we see the characters using them. Constantly. If she’d said something cynical about high school friendships not lasting, that much I’d understand. But that wouldn’t be in-character for her, so really there isn’t any excuse. It’s just a perspective that seems extremely dated. But it was a little thing.
The narrative more or less becomes Ishino’s for a bit as we see her conversing with her crush. He’s… pretty blatantly manipulating her. Iroha seems content to just let it be. Seems. It’s none of their business to interfere with someone else’s love life and all that. Later they’re all in the hall (Tsutsui has an admittedly funny moment where he says something out loud without being aware of it). That’s where they hear Ishino’s “boyfriend” talking about her with one of his sleazy little friends. But she shows up and overhears as well. Iroha tries to comfort her (with yet another amusing, if questionable line). But when it becomes apparent Ishino is getting upset, her tune changes quick. Tsutsui suggests they leave, but Iroha just walks over to the brat and wallops him with her bag. And apparently she hit him so hard that Tsutsui is knocked back by just the sound effect. Anyway, she leaves and then Tsutsui conveys his opinion of the situation the only way he knows – comparing it to a video game. And yet it works and is surprisingly sweet, in its own way.
And right after that, the boy basically makes the hero play. Ishino starts crying after telling the others she and her boyfriend broke up. Tsutsui responds by inviting everyone to the roof where he shares his latest baked goods with them all. It was a nice little way to wrap things up, if I’m honest.
Once again this show manages to be a fairly mixed bag with episode 2’s just plain silly decision-making. But episode 3 is a lot more solid in that regard. Characters still fumble, but it isn’t the same sort of immersion-breaking, groan-inducing stuff. It was a really sweet little episode that I think hit a nice balance for the show, thus far. This show’s strongest quality is its ability to generate really sweet, even adorable moments, and not even just between the leads (though they obviously get most of them). I enjoyed myself watching it, more often than not. Though I do think the marketing is taking from Black Clover’s book with an outright lie about it being “the comedy event of the season.” This show barely qualifies as a comedy. It doesn’t even go out of its way to be that funny. Either way, both episodes qualify as Easy Viewing, as far as I’m concerned. I’d probably say episode 3 is better overall, but the bit at the amusement park was perhaps my favorite moment in the series so far. Speaking of Black Clover, that’s still a thing we’re covering if you’re interested.
Meanwhile, 3D Kanojo: Real Girl streams on HiDive. That’s all I’ve got for ya here. As always, thanks for reading, folks. Keep up the awesome.