Ah, the valentine episode. Thankfully, the creators use it well with a pretty romantic episode with quite a few new developments. It’s episodes like this that really show the chemistry of the entire cast of characters of this series, and not just the main ones.
This episode shed quite a bit of light of how Kou and Aoba genuinely feel about each other. Aoba is clearly into Kou, but lacks confidence because of the arrival of Akane. Kou on the other hand is just clueless. Unfortunately, he falls into a staple that many other anime leads fall into, but his relationship with Akane makes up for it. You can see that she finally makes him think about his own love-life.
But yeah, the great thing about Akane isn’t just that she sparks up tensions between Kou and Aoba, but because everyone in the series aside from Azuma knew Wakaba well, she also has this effect on just about everyone in the series, and even Azuma is indirectly influenced by her. Speaking of which, he was surprisingly direct when he claimed that that the only girl he’d want to date is Aoba. For a usually subtle series, this really came out of nowhere, but I think that the reason he was able to say it was because he believes that he doesn’t stand a chance against Kou. Give this a few episodes, and let’s see how this affects Aoba.
Also, Aoba finally tried out for the girls’ team. Again, this brings us back to the baseball. I really wonder what the final quarter of this series is going to be like (assuming that there are going to be 52 episodes). The baseball is obviously going to return there, but I really hope that the creators will put away enough time for the slice of life.
Rating: ** (Excellent)