A big episode for Aoba this time. Up till now we have really seen both her and Kou acting as directed Wakaba’s dreams, rather than for their own. And while that indeed is important for both of them to deal with her sudden death, it also really gets in their way at times. Especially in the case of Aoba, who despite being technically superior to Kou is doomed to stay in his shadow because he just happens to be able to throw faster.
In this episode, she finally did what I’ve been hoping for for a while now: participate in an actual game. In the past few episodes, you could really tell that she was pissed off being seen as inferior to Kou. She kept teasing him about how he was a year higher than she was, and was very sarcastic whenever she talked to him. There is such a thing as a lovers’ quarrel, like you often see in anime, but in Aoba’s case it’s much more than her simply being a tsundere. Especially the new batters, who kept comparing her to Kou hit hard.
But yeah, in this episode, Senda(what happened to the guy, by the way? We haven’t seen him in a while, have we?)’s friend pops up again, with a proposal for her to join the baseball team of her school. Obviously, she did this without the consent of the rest of her team, but in the end Aoba gets a part of a stand-in. Which of course is logical: the teamwork would have been completely disrupted if the pitcher were to change to some girl nobody heard of.
And you know, it’s still pretty obvious that Kou and Aoba are into each other, but after having seen a genuine smile from Aoba a couple of times now, I’m starting to think that the two of them really should spend some time away from each other. Something tells me that when they’re together, they only remind each other of Wakaba: I suspect that Kou keeps seeing Wakaba in Aoba, and he continues to put up a strong image in front of her. Aoba on the other hand is constantly reminded of the guy Wakaba was in love with when she was still alive, and therefore still feels hurt when remembering her. In fact, have Kou and Aoba actually talked about Wakaba when they were together? This may be my memory, but it seems to me that the topic of Wakaba has become some sort of a taboo between the two of them.
Rating: ** (Excellent)