A thoughtful response to current anime.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 2 – Episode 9

Last week on BakaTest we got Minami’s backstory, finally explaining what she sees in Akihisa.  He’s a nice guy, and that’s great for him.  It explains why he’s been able to take the constant abuse from all sides, from his classmates, teachers, family members, and romantic interests (yes there is some overlap among the categories.)  If I were in his position I would have either started fighting back or started running away.  But Akihisa just takes it and keeps smiling.  We’ll see if that strategy is finally going to work out for him in episode 9 of season 2 of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu when, hopefully, the kiss of two episodes ago is resolved.

…thirty minutes pass…

It's a rough life. The moment the girls stop beating up on him, the boys start in.

A disappointment.  It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, that they reset things back to their original state of romantic tension, but last episode being entirely focused on Minami and her relationship with Akihisa made me think that maybe, just maybe, they would be going somewhere with this.  It’s just too sad, the way things ended up. I guess Akihisa really is an idiot, if he can’t infer that Minami likes him from her kissing him and telling people she’s going out with him.  Or maybe the evidence he’s working from is a little skewed.  He’s had the misfortune of living in a school life comedy for so long that he’s had more chances to observe wacky misunderstandings than he has had chances to observe sensible understandings.  He’s making a rational inference based on the data he has available to him.  The fault is more Minami’s, for lying about her feelings.  How is poor Aki supposed to draw true inferences from false data?  Well has it been said, “garbage in, garbage out”.

They shouldn’t have been able to go back to the way things were so easily.  I know that resetting is just what this sort of show does, but… consider an analogy from physics, of a potential energy well.  In this case, “potential energy” is romantic tension.  The BakaTest status quo is a shallow romantic tension well, surrounded on two sides by deep wells corresponding to a relationship with Minami and a relationship with Himeji.  To climb out of the status quo well requires activation energy, because as he moves toward one of the girls, tension increases as the girl he moves towards tries to discern his intentions and the other girl makes a last desperate effort to keep him from falling into the other girl’s well.  And so despite his hopes of minimizing romantic tension, he stays in a love triangle.  But the mistaken text message provided the activation energy he needed!  We can see this clearly when Minami kisses him – once he has achieved the lips of one of the girls, surely by that point he has cleared the lip of the well.  He should have, by that point, been plunging into Minami’s depths, to continue the analogy, and it should have required vastly more energy to return things to the original shallow status quo.  A mere suggestion that maybe D class was thinking of attacking shouldn’t have done the trick.  It’s not like F class even has much to lose.


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