Sasaki and Miyano Episode 7 – Crossing Boundaries

Hi Irina, how has your past week been? Mine has been a little more energetic than usual. The weather warming up has helped this, but its mostly thanks to the Olympics which is sadly coming to an end today, the day we are writing this. I’m sad that I didn’t get to watch as many events as I wanted to due to being only able to watch about 2-3 hours of this special event everyday, but it’s been just a good distraction. Especially with some of the work that I am putting into Mecha March this year. It’s good to just watch some cool sports.

I really love curling and bobsled runs. There is just something about the mechanics behind those two events that just stand out from the speed skiing downhill and then the speed skating. Though, watching some people pull off some huge jumps with both snowboards and skis has been fun, but I digress. 

I really love curling too and I never met anyone else who does. I admit, I have not been watching the olympics this year but whenever pandemics allow, I use to go to local curling tournaments. It’s a lot more fun than people think. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

My week has been decent but busy. My sleep schedule is a bit out of whack lately so I’m trying to fix that. It’s a work in progress.

Maybe that is a little too off topic. We have some cute stuff to talk about again this week.

I like our little off topic conversations. You’re one of my oldest blogging friends and it’s really nice to have a chance to just catch up. I’m looking forward to MechaMarch again. There’s something just joyful about the way you celebrate your favourite genre of anime that makes me rediscover my love for the medium every time.

How interesting was it to see high school girls in direct time in this anime after spending time with mostly the guys? Not just Miyano’s former(?) crush Makimura, but two of her classmates and then the older lady. I know we say Sasaki’s family for a short bit in a previous episode during an after credits scene, but it wasn’t exactly the same kind of feeling there. It does make the world feel a bit larger than usual shows that focus on one gender. 

You know what, now that you mention ity, that was great. I didn’t quite register it at the time because, of course girls exist in the world but Sasaki and Miyano has been largely all boys. What’s more, although we didn’t get to know her very well, Miyano’s fiend (ex-crush) seems to be a lovely girl with a personality and interest. And she thinks Sasaki’s hot which was cute.

And seeing more of Makimura puts more of her character in context a bit. I had a feeling that we only saw her from Miyano’s point of view earlier and in this portion, we saw more about her in the limelight so we can make our own conclusion. She seemed kind of fun and more into her art than anything else. Especially with her painting of trying to capture the moment of Miyano still growing up and now where he has matured a bit. Makimura seems like a person who just loves art and that’s all she focuses on which is ok with me.

I jumped the gun!

For you readers out there, sometimes Scott and I open a shared document and just write the post out together in real time. But sometimes, like today, our schedules don’t quite coincide so it’s easier for one of us to get our thoughts down and have the other respond afterwards. This week Scott took the first pass, cause he’s awesome, and I’m answering. Except I’m still reading this post as if it’s in real time and when I saw that first paragraph I ended up answering right away not knowing that Scott was going to elaborate. Basically I cut him off, I’m sorry Scott.

I do think it’s cool we noticed the same thing. The fact that Makimura was given the opportunity to exist as her own person was pretty cool. It also adds a bit of depth to the story that I’m glad we got. And it was a pretty nice way to give us a deeper insight into Miyano’s character.

Speaking more about the female cast of this world, I kind of want to see a series where the girlfriends and sisters of Sasaki and Miyano’s characters just join together and talk maybe? Especially since we are mostly given hints about them and each one of them seems like an otaku or fujoshi and that would be interesting to see how they discuss their different interests and types. Maybe that is just a me thing or maybe it just exists, but even for just a one off thing it would be pretty fun.

Honestly, that would be great! I would watch that in a heartbeat!

With that comes the main point of Sasaki and Miyano to me, the crossing of barriers as characters grow up. It is interesting to see that Miyano will actually crossdress soon even though he didn’t want to at first. Maybe it’s peer pressure or maybe it’s Miyano fully accepting who he is and just becoming more comfortable with himself and who he is becoming. Maybe it helps that Makimura mentioned how Miyano is no longer as androgonous as he used to be and is maturing that caps that off. I like it though.

That was also my big note about this episode, I had another one but I’ll talk about that later.

I’m really liking Miyano’s character arc. Miyano had a few hangups, essentially about not living up to his idea of masculinity. What I think is interesting is that a lot of his insecurities are self-imposed. The girl didn’t reject him, he never actually confessed. No one bullies him or even teased him. Miyano says himself that all the girls telling him he had a feminine face or was androgenous did not mean any harm. We don’t know anything about Miyano’s family but it’s never implied that he grew up with any strict standards he feels he needs to live up to. But still it bothered him. The implication was that people were sort of choosing an identity for him that he wasn’t comfortable with mostly because he didn’t have a strong sense of who he was outside that imposed identity.

But now he’s coming into his own land it bothers him less. 

 I really like that message in general. And I appreciate that Sasaki and Miyano is an unapologetically sugary romance and one of the two main characters’ story arc doesn’t have anything to do with that central relationship. It’s about him independently of Sasaki. And certainly this new relationship does have a bearing on his life and Sasaki is helping him along with patience and support but the show also makes it a point that his friends are helping him as well. Everything’s coming together for Miyano to take the next step. It’s nice when a romance series acknowledges that romance isn’t the only thing in life.

I’m glad that characters are sharing a bit more of their interests or just generally talking to each other more too. Kuresawa and Sasaki’s quick conversation was a very simple thing, but it helped to ground the characters more in this world a bit? I mean, Kuresawa is nice and very girlfriend-obsessed, but it shows how much he isn’t just a only 1D character when he isn’t calm all the time and causes some fights. A very good sort of drink and thought exchange there.

I’m also glad that Sasaki started sharing some of his music with Miyano because it’s been mainly a one sided kind of trading of media one person likes until now. Especially since some of it is drama music that Miyano knows but hasn’t dived into as much. So that sharing of interests is pretty cool since they link together. To me it shows how much the two are interconnecting their worlds together in some cool ways.

It’s a bit before the bus scene but I’ll mention it here. The other thing that jumped out at me was the return of Saski’s jealousy. I think that the show does some things right with this. The romanticized jealousy trope is very common in fiction (he’s jealous cause he cares and I’m not a big fan. But I did like that Sasaki apologized and there was some acknowledgement that he was just wrong for reacting that way. I also appreciated that the show just came out and said that gender is completely irrelevant when it comes to overstepping bounds in a relationship.

However, the cinematic language and everything did still make it seem like Sasaki was basically getting rewarded for acting like a possessive jerk and that was not a high point for me. I like the characters and the show so I’m happy to just pretend it didn’t happen, but I do think it’s worth mentioning in a review. 

Especially since, as you say, the characters are otherwise connecting in such cool ways! The boy just needs to work on that one aspect.

I do think that this show is stalling a bit on Miyano answering Sasaki and I think that reminding of that happening is causing the gears to grind a bit. At the same time though, it does feel very genuine to that experience of finding a way to answer someone who said they like them first. Especially since their reactions are so romantic and even more now that Miyano knows about Sasaki’s feelings. He can’t just assume it’s not anymore and I feel like that would realistically put some tension into that making it feel larger than it is.

All in all, I had a good time with this episode because it felt more expansive and pushed Miyano’s growth a bit. I like the continued shoujo sparkles and focusing on characters’ hands and eyes to make it feel more personal than it is. I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this show because I’m just really enjoying it. Maybe we can get Miyano’s answer soon and they can live that couple life. Either way, I just have a lot of good things to say about this show.

See, I didn’t get the feeling that the show was stalling this week as much as I did last week. Not sure why. Maybe it was because I actually thought that Miyano made a lot of progress on his character this week. Agreeing to the crossdressing without any major anxiety, not only talking to his crush but realizing his feelings had changed and through everything actively trying to figure out the core reason behind his reaction. He just did so much already I figured I couldn’t ask for anything else. 

One little aside, There was a scene where Sasaki talked about buying the next volume of the manga Miyano had lent him and Miyano is oddly affected by that. I don’t know if I’m the only one but I felt that. You have a connection to someone that started as something superficial, like you’re lending them manga and they start buying their own all the sudden. And like you’re happy that they are getting into it as much as you are but on the other hand, it’s like they don’t need you anymore.. Maybe that’s just me. But to me, the scene hit home. 

I also enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to next week!

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