Raise your hand if you instantly crumbled to dust when Isana referred to that book of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumia as old. We literally spent the whole of this episode playing dress-up, so I feel like it reverted a little bit to the slower rhythm of the early episodes. Even though it was enjoyable and pleasant, it lasted a little longer than anticipated. It felt that the consequences of Isana’s rejection by Mizuto weren’t going to be addressed, but the episode’s path didn’t seem any less plausible. This was especially unsettling in light of last week’s shocking revelation.
Having said that, this episode included a number of scenes that, although being drawn out, I felt to be fairly powerful. The main theme of this episode is the idea of preconceived expectations about relationships and how even friends may be a little bit possessive in each other’s life. We all desire a sense of significance and a sense that we are held in high regard by others, especially when they are held in high regard by us. Isana’s confrontation with Mizuto at the end, in which she said that while she still wanted to date him, she was more afraid and concerned about losing his friendship, really touched home for me since it’s a hard thing that a lot of people have to sort of accept. Yume’s response to that was also interesting; I wonder if she’s realising that this is probably the issue she is now facing. The episode’s standout character is Isana, who is while being among the group’s most naive and direct-answering when questioned, is the episode’s clear-cut protagonist. In fact, I’d contend that she is the only cast member who seems to know exactly who she is—even when she isn’t in the circumstances that she may consider perfect. Love triangles are normally bad in romances, but it’s intriguing to watch how one individual could get insight from their romantic competitor. It demonstrates unequivocally that Stepmom’s Daughter’s character arcs are more significant than the romance. If anything, the relationship is treated more as a comedy in this episode, and my favourite line was when Yume accused Isana and Mizuto of having been dating for so long despite their proximity.
We receive additional flashbacks concerning the nature of our two ex-partners’ relationship, which is good. But because it seemed to have a hint of sorrow, I thought Mizuto’s insight and closing speech were particularly good. It’s difficult to tell if he’s bemoaning the fact that he can’t move on from a past relationship or whether he’s simply accepting it, but he manages to stop himself before he spirals with “what if” scenarios. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it almost seems like he’s suggesting that if he hadn’t dated Yume in the past, he would have been happier and more willing to fall in love with Isana. It firmly establishes the notion that, despite the possibility of developing intimate relationships with several individuals, each friend or partner in your life serves a certain purpose and is, thus, deserving of being treasured. To avoid being overly emotional, I’m going to stop myself right now.