Last episode on Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, the Rinjinbu planned a visit to Sena’s private beach. I presume that this episode we’ll actually see them there. I’m not sure how helpful it is to go to a private beach if your goal is to make more friends, but I guess they have to start somewhere. They can use this excursion as a chance to get familiar with the physical characteristics of beaches, like sand and tides and stuff, so that when they end up visiting a public beach, they can focus entirely on the social aspect. Let’s smash open the boundary between land and sea in episode 10 of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai!
…thirty minutes pass…
I can't look at Yozora here without thinking of an escapee from Alcatraz.
The best part of this episode was hands-down Rika getting excited over the train-car interlocks. Rika’s kind of a gimmick character, but as gimmicks go, interpreting strange things erotically is a good one.
Not that the rest of the episode wasn’t good too. For a beach episode it was actually surprisingly lacking in pointless fanservice. They got it out of their system early with the sunscreen application scene, I guess. Watching that scene I was resigned to another dumb episode about Sena’s large breasts, but there was actually some solid characterization – they delved deeper into the reasons behind Sena and Yozora’s friendlessness.
So, Sena was being teased by Yozora, being stepped on and treated as a lowly being, the same way she treats others. Yozora claimed she secretly was enjoying it, but in any case, she broke free to take revenge, and various things happened, and she ended up showing her naked breasts to the Rinjinbu, at which point she shrieked in embarrassment and fled. All of this is perfectly reasonable, so far. But then afterwards she came to Kodoka to ask if he’d seen her breasts. He had, but claimed he hadn’t to save her the embarrassment. Something very similar happened last episode too, Kodaka saw her naked but pretended to have forgotten about it, and she was very insistent on making sure he had. An uncharitable viewer might call that a repeated plot point and laziness, but my feeling is that it intentionally represents a pattern.
Consider – Sena’s breasts are large and aesthetically appealing. Sena is romantically interested in Kodaka. Why, then, is Sena so concerned that Kodaka not see her breasts? Yes, modesty is a virtue, and in the heat of the moment when you unexpectedly expose yourself it’s perfectly reasonable to shriek and run away. I’m not suggesting that Sena intentionally flash Kodaka her breasts (although it might not be a bad idea). But modesty doesn’t demand that she bring the incident up after the fact, that she harp on it and obsess over it. The truly modest thing to do would be to put it out of her mind as much as possible and demand everyone else do the same.
Sena is prideful. She has an image she tries to project as a perfect goddess underneath whose feet commoners should be grateful to be crushed. This image isn’t consistent with a Sena who flashes her breasts at the beach or goes streaking through the house after a bath. While a truly modest person could shake these incidents off as accidents and forget about them, for Sena the fact that they’re accidents makes them worse. She might have a goddess-like reason for flashing her breasts on purpose, but goddesses don’t make immodest mistakes. What she’s worried about is not showing her breasts, but rather her humanity.
Yozora’s problem is a little different. She doesn’t suffer from an excess of pride. She can go word-for-word with Sena in terms of haughty language, but she has no problem admitting the things that bother her most about herself. She was pretty free with information about her friend made of air, for example. She didn’t hold back at all talking about how isolated she was in home ec class. Yozora’s problem is that she learned the wrong lesson from being abandoned by Kodaka all those years ago. She has decided that friends will betray you, and that’s horrible, so you have to strike first. Get them before they get you. She’s playing the iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, and doing backwards induction that leads her to defect on the first move. After all, if they’re going to defect on the last move, she has to defect on the second to last, but they’ll see through that and defect on the third to last, so really she has to defect on the fourth to last, and so on.
And so she just is shitty to everyone all the time, which is widely considered a suboptimal friend-making strategy. But what’s the point in having friends anyway, if they’re just going to move overseas and abandon you? There’s only one kind of friend that Yozora can accept – one that she can control, one she has dominated, one she can hold onto and not let move overseas. (Her friend made of air is a perfect example of this – she has total control, since she is imagining her) That’s why her relationships with Sena and Maria are the way they are. The only friendship she can accept is surrender, so she has to torment them into surrendering.