If you could ruin your love rival’s happiness, would you take that step? Our hero has literally such an occasion in his hands, and could get rid of his rival. But maybe his greatest opponent is himself. Or Fate.
Song of the Post:
miwa -「friend 〜君が笑えば〜」(When You Smile)
Episode 3: If I change seats, can we marry?
Ken becomes the laughing stock of his friends as the picture of Tada’s last training day appears. Embarrassed, he curses himself mentally, not remembering what made him cry so openly. Cue to: Hallelujah Chorus.
Hairy-Fairy notes that reality is quite ironic. Didn’t Ken see Tada’s good points before his future bride? Ha. The Fairy spells it out for our resident chicken: everything that happens has a reason. Closing his eyes and counting on accidental luck alone won’t change a thing, no matter how many times he travels back in time. Such wise words. Too bad Ken doesn’t seem to compute. Lucky for him, it’s time for some Hallelujah Chance!Opening his eyes, he finds himself bearing Tada’s weight in the「サボテン」- Saboten (Cactus) pose. Wincing in pain, Ken looks around him while Tada rants on about Saboten, and finds Rei and her girl friends, who have it much easier. He finally yields and falls flat, Tada landing on top of him (rawr). Tsuru plays referee and count to three, declaring thus Tada the winner. Poor Ken, reality is definitely biting you.At the fountain, Ken marvels at Rei’s cuteness and feels like he can confess when Mikio comes in, asking him if it’s okay not to confess. Ken. Not. Happy. The boys remind him that today is the last day for the intern teachers but Tsuru spots Intern Cameron and goes on fanboy mode. Who knew a simple pink tracksuit would help you feel like Cameron Diaz.
On their way back, Tsuru rats on Ken dreaming of her every night and Mikio adds that he even sports a matching tracksuit. See, that’s why it’s better to keep your secrets, well, secret. You don’t want your crush to shoot you a look of disgust, right?In their baseball club HQ, Eri writes down all the things she knows of Tada. Which is to say: nothing. It has already been two weeks since he began his internship but they don’t know much about him. Rei takes a dig at him, saying that he focuses more on his lessons than on interacting with them. Mikio calls him “expressionless”, to which Rei agrees, soon followed by a highly motivated (and totally biased) Ken. Tada’s dull expression, she won’t ever forget it, right? Haha, how petty.Eri tests the compatibility between her name and Tada’s and gloats over the result: 79%. She confesses that she’s interested in Tada, making Tsuru indignant, but his mood switches as soon as he hears that she’s now single.
Rei doesn’t get what Eri likes in Tada, saying that she can’t understand what he’s thinking. But that’s precisely what attracts Eri! Ah, dear, this is the first step to loooots of troubles. Ken panics and forcefully forbids Eri to change Rei’s impression. Hm, not quite sure of yourself, boy?On their way to classroom, Ken sees an opportunity to speak alone with Rei and tries to confess again….dragging the whole thing….which makes Rei wary of something aaaaaaaand she stops him. NO. WAY, she says. Huh? He’s trying to foist all of their duties to her alone, right? HUH? Two attempts, two losses. Hm, can we turn that into a drinking contest?During Tada’s (boring) math lesson, Ken calculates his compatibility with Rei and exults when he finds 94%. Fate is speaking here! Now able to concentrate on the lesson, he realizes that the Tada he’s seeing is quite different from the one in his memories. No one in the class is paying attention though everyone dearly missed him when he left. How come?
Tada finally faces his class, wondering if there are questions. Eri has one: if they were both to meet and fall in love, what would his answer be? In a true math otaku fashion, Tada answers with a formula: if Y=X then it’s the same as Y=logX. Okay, whatever. I hate math.Itou-sensei laughs and translates for us: Tada is speaking of asymptotic curves! Which means, he and Eri will never cross paths. She isn’t deterred though, and insists that they’ll do one day! Tada makes it a point to prove her wrong by writing down the whole damn formula. Did I say that I hate math? Add math otakus to that.
Totally vexed, Eri goes back on her opinion of him and a little comment of Tsuru has her temper rising. If she’s not good enough, then who is? Mikio names Cameron, which determines Eri to claim back her School Queen place.In the hallway, Cameron confronts Tada on his methods. He’s too difficult to understand, why doesn’t he take example on her curves instead? All the boys agree, Itou-sensei included. Pfft.
She walks away, followed by half the school’s male population as the Kill Bill theme plays. Eri appears, and it’s face-off time! Confidently walking, Eri glares at Cameron and passes the group, while Tsuru is stuck in a dilemma. Wavering between the two, he finally decides to run after Eri. Aw. She has caught one at least.Entering their classroom, they find Tada still possessed by his otakuness. Read: still writing the formula. Spotting Eri, he offers to explain more while she hastily hides from his view. Rei reminds Ken that it’s his time to erase the blackboard but seeing him hypnotized by the scene, she goes instead.
Tada’s jaw drops at this blasphemy and Rei counters by saying that no one is interested in his explanation. Doesn’t he realize that he’s letting the gap between the students and him widen? She strikes the final blow: “So far, you and us are more like parallel lines.” Well, she sure knows how to pick her words.Coming to help her, Ken thinks that such a development is in his favor when he accidentally knocks the table, making a sheet of paper fall. Picking it up, he recognizes his classroom seating arrangement and remembers that it was him who, in the past, showed it to his classmates, thus creating an opportunity for Tada to fit in the group. But now, Ken hides the sheet, deliberately keeping Tada out of the loop. That’s lame, boy.The class is divided in half during Cameron’s English lesson. Boys repeats Cameron’s self-centered sentences (My body is great! Your body is great!) while the girls are passing around a piece of paper, listing the votes of those who want (or not) to offer flowers to Tada for his last day. When Ken’s turn comes, he notices that almost everyone chose not to. Feeling conflicted, he nonetheless votes “No”.He ponders about this later, but is interrupted by Tsuru and Mikio who brought Cameron. Seems like the Past Ken had a crush on her, and wanted to confess. But the Present Ken doesn’t want to, though Cameron cuts him by pointing out that he’s 100 years too young to confess. She leaves and Tsuru tries his luck but she swiftly turns him down: “You’re a million years too early!” Ha.
Rei comes and jokes that Ken is now used to being turned down. She pokes and teases him for fun, but already feeling tensed, he suddenly shouts at her to shut up. Miffed, she promises she won’t say anything again and leaves in a huff, letting him stew in his own frustration.Trying to gain the class’ favor, Tada allow them do whatever they want and Tsuru offers to change the seating arrangement. Those who want to have to raise their hands, and Ken wonders what to do when he sees Rei slowly raising her hand, so he does the same. This time they can choose where they want to sit, and the boys go out to let the girls decide first.
Once out of the classroom, Ken spots Tada keeping away from them, brooding. He cogitates on whether or not approaching him when Tsuru calls him out. He wants him to help spying on the girls, and is about to see Eri’s seat but his plan is thwarted by Itou-sensei. Mikio declares he’s seen it and tells Tsuru. Eri opens the door and suspects them while Rei looks at Ken, rolling on the floor in pain. She quickly avoids his eyes, giving him the cold shoulder.It’s the boys turn to choose and Tsuru hurries to take the seat recommended by Mikio. Ken notices that Rei hasn’t changed her seat and sighs, going to the place Mikio saved for him. Outside, Eri asks Rei is she’s relieved that Cameron turned Ken down, but Rei pretends she knew from the beginning and that it doesn’t concern her anyway.
Itou-sensei comes to get them and Tsuru cackles in glee. He grows serious and turns his head to find……that Eri sure changed a lot.Ken watches Rei as she sits, bitterly regretting not to have sat next to her. He knew she was going to sit there but doesn’t understand why he couldn’t join her. Even if he returned back in time, he’s still not honest with himself. *grits teeth*
Going to the incinerator, he meets Tada. He quickly puts the vote paper in his pocket, and engages the conversation, speaking about Tada’s last day at school. Tada muses that it’s also his last day with them to which Ken dryly counters in his mind: “No, the problem is that it’s not the last time.” Hee.Opening his heart, Tada confesses that he would like to go back to when he began his training, and fix things. But it’s impossible right? Ha, if only you knew who you’re saying that to. The truth is that he’s extremely nervous when facing a group of people and is still not used to it, even after two weeks. Teaching may not be his vocation, and it was Rei’s words that helped him realize it. He wanted to tell and teach them lots of things, but wasn’t able to properly reach them.
Moved by his confession (and, I hope, feeling guilty), Ken predicts that he’ll become a great professor. Looking straight at him, he enjoins him to become someone others will look up to. Breaking into a smile, Tada thanks him for his concern, and prods him to work hard and enjoy his high school life without regret, unlike what he did.Walking away, he stops and asks if the class gave him a nickname, like they did for Cameron. Sadly, they didn’t, and that reflects his position. He laughs it off, but admits that he sometimes envies Cameron. Aw, poor math otaku.
Practicing her swing, Rei vents out her anger, cursing Ken in the process while pretending not to care. Mikio notes that she has known Ken for half her lifetime, but she calls that a jinx. Repressed feelings, much?On their way back, Tada tells Ken that for all his life, he was always called Tada-kun or Tada-san. Only his childhood friend gave him a nickname, but no one else used it. He has noted that only Rei calls Ken “Kenzo” and Ken explains that she calls him that since the day they met. He has never think much about it, though. Tada says that he thought “Kenzo” was Ken’s real name, guessing that Rei must have believed the same thing back then.Perplexed, Ken heads towards his shoe box but the sight of his name written on his indoor shoes triggers a memory of the first time Rei called him “Kenzo”. His child self was puzzled but let it slide as Rei smiled at him. Now looking at her in class, Tada’s words ring in his mind. Raising his hand, he asks to change seats, feigning not to see see the blackboard.
Ken: From here, you look like Tom Cruise
Itou-sensei: You’re seeing perfectly right, there’s no mistake!
Wallowing in his misery, Tsuru spots some boys running in the hallway and stands up. He shouts: “Everyone, Cameron is taking her clothes off!” The magical sentence has all the boys rushing, led by Itou-sensei. HAHAHA
The girls gather at the classroom’s door while Ken casually sits next to Rei. She tells him in a passive–aggressive way that he can go too, if he’s interested. She won’t take his “I can’t see from afar” crap, since she knows his eyes score 2.0. That’s even the only thing he can boast about. Heh. Rummaging through her pencil case, she stops short when Ken purposely puts his eraser on her table. As she takes it, she remembers when she transferred in his class. At that time, she didn’t have an eraser and Ken cut a part of his own to give it to her. Deciphering the kanjis partially cut, she thanked him, calling him “Kenzo”.Rei remembers this moment with a smile, now reading Ken’s full name on his new eraser. She cuts it, for memory’s sake, saying that back then he was really cool. She even thought that she could be his bride.
Moving to a new town, she didn’t have friends and Ken jokes that after that she kept on calling him “Kenzo”. Embarrassed at this youthful burst of excitation, she shoves the class log on him, along the now ripped eraser. Note that she kept the part with his name on it.She fondly looks at it, grinning from ear to ear, and Ken thinks that he can finally see the smile he didn’t see six years ago. Looking at the copy of their seating arrangement, he concedes that ironically, this smile appeared thanks to Tada.
Deciding not to ignore this throbbing feeling (called guilt), he passes the document around, asking for a new vote. Will they send Tada off with flowers or not? Everyone reads the message and smiles, now given a concrete proof of Tada’s efforts. We get to see it too when Rei turns the page and reveals the notes and drawings penned by Tada, detailing the key personality points of each member of the class. Aw, that’s such a geek thing to do! So cute. Rei scoffs that it doesn’t look like her at all, though she’s pleased, and adds her vote to the general “Yes”.
Tada exists the school building alone, and is stunned to see the students running to him. Representing the class, Tsuru and Eri step to hand him two huge cards, full of farewell messages. Visibly moved, Tada bashfully smiles and thanks them. Rei smiles as well, but Ken looks at her as if afraid he has let history repeat itself, and she’ll soon fall for Tada again.Tamo-chan, their Burger Shogun friend, arrives with the flowers. Eri prods Rei to be the one giving them to Tada, to make up for her harsh words. Ken gapes at this Fate move, bringing her and Tada closer. He tries to volunteer but everyone agrees that Rei has to do it.
She awkwardly complies, and apologizes for what she said, as Tada apologizes as well, saying that he has been a clumsy intern. They both laugh, Rei’s gaze lingering a bit on him, while Ken moans inwardly. He jumps at Tsuru’s throat when he enjoins them to kiss: “She’s really gonna kiss him at the church if you say that!” Pfft, yeah, so why don’t YOU do something?Pointing at the card, Tada asks Ken to explain his message: “I’ll never give up because I can’t lose!” Rei wonders if he’s competing with Tada, to what the latter says that he doesn’t think he can stand a chance against him. Ah, don’t beat a dead horse, Tada! The class decides to go to Tamo-chan’s place, while Ken plays Mopeypants on his own.
Rei interferes with his plan, showing him the seating arrangement paper. She knows he was the one behind this operation, as she recognized his writing. It’s no use lying to her, she knows him for too long already. That mention of their special bond has him grinning like a fool but he soon drops the smile when Rei grabs Tada’s arms to go take a picture with the class.The boys do Jan-ken-pon and Ken is in the loser team, forced to kneel so that they form a human pyramid. Itou-sensei presses the shutter and we’re back in the present.
Looking at the picture, Tsuru points out that he didn’t know Tada and Rei got along so well while Mikio says that it looks like it was predestined. Eri suggests that Ken may have helped them, and he sighs, mentally calling himself their Cupid. Ha.The Fairy makes his presence known (though we would have guessed…yunno, lights and Hallelujah), and Ken sits next to him. Surprisingly, the Fairy tells him that he has done well time, though Ken worries that he’s the one who brought the couple together.
Channeling Yoda, the Fairy says that the road which looks the longest can sometimes turns out to be the shortest so let’s forget what happened this time, and persevere. He praises Ken for not crushing his opponent to win Rei, but Ken confesses that he wanted to, but didn’t have the courage. No, says the Fairy: “You had the courage to keep being a coward.” Haha, just the right thing to tell Ken.Pointing at Rei, the Fairy says that in her heart, Ken’s place keeps growing. But being able to be her groom is an other story.
Time resumes and Ken looks at the new picture. They were supposed to celebrate their graduation, but only Eri is smiling. Ken shows off, his uniform missing its second button (in Japan, boys often give this particular button to the girl they like) and the Present Ken recalls: he didn’t give it to Rei.Impressions:
Hmm, all in all, nothing really happened in this episode. While I was watching, it didn’t particularly bother me, but it was kinda boring to recap it. It’s in such moments that I’m glad the story doesn’t revolve only around the main couple. Itou-sensei, Mikio, Tsuru, Eri and even Cameron helped making the whole thing more enjoyable.
I couldn’t help feeling that this may have been much more interesting if played with…erm…well, actors. Yamashita Tomohisa shows his acting limits more often than not, and though I always love me some stupid faces and physical gags, you can’t rely on them all the time when the role calls for some subtlety. Unfortunately, nuance isn’t one of Yamapi’s best traits. The same thing could be said at some extent for Nagasawa Masami, who often looks way too camera-conscious and eager to turn on the cute. So, Ken had the opportunity to twist the past for good, but decided not to. Out of cowardice, as our dear Hairy-Fairy noted, but still. That’s all. Woot, woot! I just summed up the whole episode here. And yet, I wrote 3100 words about it! Oh, the life of a recapper. *sigh*
Well, well, I admit it was kinda interesting to see the exchange between Tada and Ken, as they both have issues with regrets. But one seems like he has understood the lesson while the other looks still like a wuss. Even though he was given the golden chance to fix things. Yeah, you know who I mean. There’s a limit to how much you can MULL over regrets without actually DO something about it.
But (unfortunately) this is necessary in Ken’s journey, to feel this frustration. Adult Ken knows what will happen next, and supposedly uses this knowledge to change the pictures, though he’s still adjusting to the situation. Compared to his previous time-slips, dealing most with frown faces turning to smiles, this time he established the base of his rivalry with Tada. But he’ll soon need to understand that he has to change his methods. For the moment, Tada isn’t an active threat and Rei is still “free”, so go for it, shōnen!