Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Hello everyone, and welcome on back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’m eager to dive back into Adachi and Shimamura, as our beleaguered heroines continue to inch closer to each other. Valentine’s Day turned out to be an unmitigated success, with Shimamura’s feelings for Adachi coming across even more clearly in contrast. After a day of nostalgia and melancholy spent with her old friend Tarumi, retracing the same steps with Adachi fostered some very different feelings. Rather than introducing the prospect of a love rival, Tarumi ultimately ended up reaffirming how Adachi is genuinely special to Shimamura.

Of course, that was just one of last episode’s many rewards. The Tarumi meetup also offered an opportunity for Shimamura to reflect on her shifting identity, as she lamented the pain of reaching out to her prior, “incomplete” self. The person Tarumi sought was a stranger even to Shimamura – but ultimately, Shimamura decided that the friction of attempting to restore these once-sundered bonds was worth it. Where Shimamura would have once discarded both Tarumi and Adachi when they became an emotional burden, she is now making a genuine effort, and working to maintain the relationships that are important to her. That in turn reflects the fact that she cares now – these bonds providing genuine comfort, partially dispelling the grey malaise that has characterized her unchanging days. Shimamura has made tremendous progress, and I’m eager to see how her dynamic with Adachi changes now that she actually wants things again. Let’s find out!

Episode 10

We open on a flashback to a year ago, with the bright cherry blossoms signaling the start of the year before Adachi even mentions it. The fact that Japan’s school year starts in early spring is regularly put to thematic use in anime, with signs of the season like the cherry blossoms bolstering the sense that this is a time of new beginnings, with a whole year of school drama ahead of you

The letterbox formatting signals that this is perhaps an embellished memory, and the use of color supports that. The huddled crowds are all painted in an indistinct, uninviting grey – only Adachi and the other outsider Shimamura are painted in lush colors

Adachi’s reaction at the time was “I hope that girl stops looking at me.” Oh Adachi

Back in the present time, the whole scene is fully colored. Adachi and Shimamura have brought color into each other’s worlds

“If we ended up in separate classrooms, I don’t think Shimamura would come see me. Because I don’t think Shimamura actually needs me that badly.” Adachi is painfully aware of the unbalanced nature of their relationship, but at this point, her impressions may not be fully accurate. As the Valentine’s Day test revealed, Shimamura is no longer just spending time with Adachi because Adachi happens to be there

“I’m definitely not a decent person who deserves any praise.” Adachi’s total lack of self-regard is part of what makes it so hard for her to take steps forward. She doesn’t believe she deserves anything good, and thus every act of “selfishness” (i.e., simply expressing her desires) must come with an immediate apology. I assume her mother played a pretty serious part in making her feel like her every action is an imposition, given her mother genuinely does see her as just an inconvenience

“Does God actually exist?” Adachi is definitely the dreamer of the two, prone to fantasies that inform her view of both romance and fate. That’s why she was so susceptible to the fortune teller from a few episodes back

Shimamura arrives just in time to see Adachi celebrating their joint homeroom. And her hair is brown! I… assume that’s her natural hair color? Again, kinda tough to say in a production with blue and purple hair

Yep, this is her natural color

“My seat had changed, but Adachi remained right in front of me.” She’s actually pretty much diagonally across the room from her – but in Shimamura’s mind, the classmates between them are essentially meaningless

Shimamura learns Adachi’s first name is Sakura. Only Shimamura could casually ask this after knowing someone for so long

Shimamura’s shift towards her natural hair seems to indicate a larger overall shift towards being more earnestly expressive. She’s actively smiling at things Adachi says now, instead of just maintaining that vaguely surprised expression

“You look so much like a puppy sometimes.” Still true

“I actually like dogs quite a bit, though.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell when Shimamura is being intentionally obtuse from when she’s just Like That

Meanwhile, Hino and Nagafuji are being outrageously lovey-dovey, as they do

Hino is roped into helping greet some guests. Are we actually getting some drama out of these two?

Oh no, other classmates have discovered Shimamura exists, and are asking her to lunch! Adachi could never have predicted this!

Adachi handles this development with characteristic grace, and runs flailing out of the room

“They all introduced themselves, but they talked too fast and I couldn’t understand them. I think it was something like Pancho, Sancho, and Delos.” Every time Shimamura is forced to socialize with random people, I feel personally called out by her thoughts. My mind basically tunes out small talk by default, and so I end up spending a disproportionate amount of the conversation trying to fake the sense that I know what we’re talking about, while the rest of my mind just daydreams about whatever I was already thinking about

“I tried to remember what they were talking about, but just couldn’t.” Don’t worry Shimamura. At a certain point in life, you no longer have to devote so much of your mental energy to these meet-and-greets with strangers. The world is built for extroverts, but introverts can carve out their own niches within it

When they ask to hang out again after school, she at last gathers the courage to say she’s busy. Shimamura’s general indifference to the world means she’s used to being pulled by the natural currents, and just doing whatever is asked of her – but now that she has this relationship with Adachi, there are things she desires badly enough to push against the flow

“Now that Hino and Nagafuji are gone, I’ve made new artificial friends.” Her old friends essentially acted as a sort of social shield

“Now that I think about it, I don’t really keep up with people.” This used to be just the natural way of things in her mind, but now it’s a choice that she’s actively considering. She’s changed, even if the outcome is the same

“The longer you stay in this river of fate, the more bonds weaken, and eventually break.” Like with the Christmas to Valentine’s break, I appreciate how this show emphasizes the scale of dramatic motion in high school. You don’t experience your adolescence over a weekend – days and weeks can slip by between moments of disruption, especially if you’re as uncertain as these two

With Shimamura having found a new social group, Adachi stops going to school

“Adachi’s rejection wasn’t even that strong, but I’m stubborn.” Both of them are so naturally inclined towards solitude, each for their own reasons. With just a slight degree of resistance, their bond can be disrupted

Tarumi calls Shimamura to hang out

“Would you prefer to hang out with someone calmer?” Jeez, Tarumi is so desperate to rekindle this. The ladies just keep falling for Shimamura’s distant attitude

“It’s not like anything would change here even if I was gone.” Our next stop-in with Hino and Nagafuji offers more hints as to Hino’s feelings. It seems her family don’t really value her as an individual, just as an inheritor of the family’s duties

Nagafuji consoles her with boobs. These two seem less like they’re dating and more like they’re already married

“I guess Adachi’s the only person who’d rush over in a china dress.” Shimamura seriously misses Adachi, but seems unfamiliar with that emotion as a general concept, and thus will instead spend this entire date comparing Tarumi to Adachi. Oh boy

Yeeep. As soon as Tarumi grabs her hand, she reflects on how when Adachi grabs her hand, it feels like magic

“Shima, you’ve gotten sexier.” Damn, Tarumi!

As they make okonomiyaki, Shimamura mostly daydreams about how Adachi would behave in this situation, and then condemns herself for being a coldhearted person. All of this rings painfully true – Shimamura is emotionally intelligent enough to understand precisely what is desired of her here, and thus sees her inability to play that role as a kind of moral failing. She lacks the life experience to forgive herself for not being the ideal social contributor; with time she’ll learn it’s okay to desire different kinds of spaces and relationships, but in high school, if you deviate from the norm, you frequently internalize that as a personal failing

“Which one do you like? I’ll match mine with whichever one you pick.” Poor Tarumi. She’s done nothing wrong, it’s just a tragic situation for her by default

“You don’t really get attached to people or things. So I’m worried that you might not take care of it.” POOR TARUMI

“Then I’ll take good care of this.” Caught off guard by Tarumi’s unexpectedly accurate appraisal, Shimamura seems to genuinely mean this. She wants to change

Tarumi is simultaneously entranced and terrified by the vagueness of Shimamura’s expressions

“Would it be possible to hang out again?” It’s painful just watching Tarumi make these hesitant steps, trying to see exactly how much she can ask of Shimamura without scaring her off

And then that friggin’ alien appears, prompting Tarumi’s exit

“Taru has always been like that, and in the past, I was able to keep up with her. I think I’m the odd one out.” This show is very good at providing some welcome validation for folks who find socializing exhausting. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one!

“What am I?” “You’re just you, Shimamura.” Of all people, it’s Yashiro who provides her emotional support

“For the third time this spring, someone called me. This time, it was finally Adachi.” Oh thank god

And Done

What an awful mess that was! And right after it seemed like things were going well! All it took was the disruption of a new seating arrangement to threaten the fragile bond between our leads, as Shimamura sunk back into her old habits of going with the flow, prompting Adachi to regress into truancy as well. It was painful to watch the two of them drift apart, but fortunately, this process at least seemed to help Shimamura realize just how much she cares about this relationship.

This episode also offered a glimpse into how Shimamura might originally have fallen into her depressive loops. As someone who lacks her classmates’ interest in socializing, she would naturally find herself emotionally isolated, and over time begin to assume there was something fundamentally wrong with her. To someone like Shimamura, the usual school drama really doesn’t offer any sense of excitement or satisfaction, the “color” that would bring meaning to her world. But Adachi has shown her that it doesn’t have to be this way, and that even she might be able to find happiness. Now she just needs the strength to forgive herself, and the will to pursue what she truly wants – both things that this episode proved are easier said than done!

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By admin