Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’d say we’re past due to check in on that most hapless of couples, the perpetually self-defeating Adachi and Shimamura. In spite of Adachi’s joy at the two of them once again sharing homeroom, the slight barrier of their desks’ distance proved to be almost insurmountable. And when a new group of students decided to make friends with Shimamura, it was all too easy for each of them to slip back into old habits.
Adachi and Shimamura has been refreshingly honest about the stop-and-start pacing of personal development. Its characters falter often, embracing the comfortable over the unknown, and frequently second-guessing their own emotional development. Nothing about Adachi and Shimamura’s relationship is “fated” – it would have been easy for the two to drift apart right here, and for Adachi to become another Tarumi-like figure of nostalgia and regret. The fragility of this relationship is nerve-wracking, but it’s also what makes the drama land; these characters feel imperfect in emphatically human ways, and my ability to relate to their frailty makes me want to see them happy all the more. With two episodes left, I’m guessing we’ve got time for maybe three-and-a-half more heart-stopping emotional revelations. Let’s see what’s next!
Adachi was likely even more nervous about breaking this silence than Shimamura, but also that much more determined to do it. Even when she doesn’t want it to, Shimamura’s emotional disassociation from the world around her acts as a kind of safety blanket, dulling the impact of any emotional blow, but also preventing her from reaching out and impressing her own will on the world. Before, that didn’t really matter much, because she didn’t actually want anything. Now, she is capable of seeing Adachi slip through her fingers, but is too accustomed to stasis to act and prevent it
We flash back to one day before, when Adachi is unhappily crouched in their usual gym spot. The extreme blue hues amplify her mood, and in fact, the production puts a scattering of rainfall in front of the scene, even though we’re actually indoors. Every visual element emphasizes Adachi’s sadness and entrapment, particularly when the camera jumps to trap her within the bars of the gym railing
“Does Shimamura even realize I’m up here?” They actually were each thinking of the other in that moment
“Things were going well for her, but not for me.” Adachi still doesn’t really understand Shimamura’s relationships with other people. She sees everyone else as a threat, as if they might immediately steal the closeness she treasures with Shimamura – but in truth, Shimamura has no investment in these relationships, and would likely rather be alone. Adachi cannot get outside of her own head to see relationships from a less emotionally invested perspective, and could likely never relate to Shimamura’s mindset when it comes to these emotionally sterile acquaintanceships
It’s good characterization! I appreciate when we can clearly see how a character’s mindset blinds them in some way, rather than everyone improbably existing on the exact same emotional/intellectual wavelength
“I couldn’t find a difference between that smile and the one she showed me.” Adachi is too stupid and Shimamura is too secretive. Adachi has been doing all the work in this relationship, but she’s losing confidence, and Shimamura really needs to tell her that she specifically is important to her. Shimamura is too good at hiding her feelings for Adachi to feel comfortable about their bond
The sound design all shifts in tune with Adachi’s heartbeat as she hears Shimamura approach
It’s actually some third year, and now Adachi is even kicked out of her gym spot
Oof, gorgeous compositions as Adachi bikes home. The production team always goes all-out for these profile shots of Adachi on the bike, creating a dreamland of colored lights all around her
“It’s so boring without Shimamura around.” Adachi doesn’t really intellectualize her feelings – instead, the production works to evoke the lived experience of her feelings, using color and sound design to paint the whole world in the hues of her melancholy
She bumps into Tarumi. Shimamura better be careful, or her harem’s gonna unionize
Apparently even dogs can have natural blue hair in this world. Of course, seeing a “blue-haired puppy” immediately reminds her of Shimamura’s words as well
Adachi does seem to have reached one epiphany, at least: she’s starting to recognize the puppy-like behavior she’s been exhibiting
Oh no, a fortune teller. As we well know, Adachi is weak to fortune-telling, and basically mysticism of all kinds – she’s too much of a romantic to dismiss these things
“You must be having romance troubles. That’ll be one thousand yen”
The fortune teller asks about her romantic partner’s hair, prompting Adachi’s disappearance into another horny reverie
“You’re lacking… enthusiasm! You were worried about what others would think, and you ran away.” The best fortune tellers are basically just therapists who know some card tricks. It was easy to tell Adachi had romantic troubles, and “have more confidence and go for it” is going to be pretty good advice most of the time
She tasks Adachi with screaming right there in the mall, and dispelling some of her stage anxiety
I would not have guessed “a fortune teller hypes Adachi into confessing her feelings” would be the key turn, but it is an extremely Adachi choice. Goes to show that the right solution to emotional problems always depends on the person involved
“I’m not going to run away!”
“People don’t need to see the future. They need to strongly desire the future.” A line that might be even more appropriate for Shimamura
She loses her nerve once more when school arrives, but manages to hype herself back up in her gym spot. Once again, committing to change and actually changing are two very different things!
“There’s no room in the place I want to go. Then I’ll just have to make room.”
“And that was the official start of my second year of high school.” A clever series of transitions here. The scene first fades away into cherry blossoms, drawing our two leads together – but then we fade back to the classroom, with Adachi having now secured a physical place in the second year. Then the shot essentially serves as a handoff in perspective, as we cut in from this fusion to Shimamura alone, and hear her thoughts for the first time this episode. An effective way to demonstrate Adachi feeling emotionally integrated into the class at large, and also a graceful transition for a half-and-half perspective episode
Adachi is doing her best to socially integrate into the group Shimamura’s already sitting with, but oh my god is she ever bad at it. Shimamura seems almost unable to believe how awkward she is for a moment, before saving her by accepting one of her bread offerings
Shimamura is still uncertain of her emotions, but frankly, it seems hard to believe Shimamura will ever possess the certainty of feeling that Adachi takes for granted. Shimamura is uncertain because self-doubt comes naturally to her; if she were certain, she wouldn’t be Shimamura
Adachi notices the strap, but doesn’t connect Shimamura to Tarumi, and instead mentions she might get a matching one as well. Shimamura at last receives her first flash of insight that she’s an irrepressible lady killer
“Why does everyone want to hold my hand so badly?” Goddamnit Shimamura
“I can’t actually go home until you let go of my hand.” Yes, I see the problem. Quite a dilemma
Adachi is attempting to be commanding and perhaps even sexy, but she can barely mutter this “you’re not going anywhere.” The girl is trying so hard, but dear lord
“I… I think you’re the best, Shimamura.” GOD DAMNIT ADACHI. EVERY GODDAMN TIME, she hypes herself up to some profound romantic declaration, and can only manage “I sure think you’re swell, Shimamura.” Adachi, you are useless
“Does Adachi not only want me to be her big sister, but also her mother?” Adachi’s absolute terror at the thought of offending Shimamura has created this awkward imbalance of desires in their relationship, where Adachi can only get the physical affection she craves by acting like a dependent, not an equal partner. Of course, Shimamura’s perpetual poker face doesn’t help, either – if she admitted some desire herself, it’d be easier for Adachi to feel like she’s actually wanted. But of course, Shimamura doesn’t entirely know what she wants, and so we’ve got this mess of a situation
“Where did you guys get money for that?” “I think Yachi pulled this cake out of her pocket.” Yachi having a normal one as usual
Yashiro is rebranding as Yashiemon, having apparently watched Doraemon at some point in the interim
Shimamura rushes through dinner to make sure she’s free for Adachi’s phone call. She generally won’t do anything if it’s inconvenient, but she makes exceptions for Adachi
“I’m not really interested in friends. Besides, I have you, Shimamura.” That catches Shimamura flat. Adachi actually is taking the fortune teller’s advice to heart, and being far more direct about her feelings. Can Shimamura maintain her safe distance with Adachi pursuing her this aggressively?
“When I’m on the phone with you, I get to have your time all to myself.” Damn, Adachi!
“It’s not a bad thing knowing someone cares about you.” CONDITION RED. SHIMAMURA JUST SAID OUR AFFECTION IS “not a bad thing.” VENT STEAM, THE TOP IS GONNA BLOW!
Agh, what a mess. Well, in typically AdaShima fashion, these two made an anxious ordeal of their reconciliation, but still managed to struggle through. Shimamura seems even more confused than usual, but fortunately, Adachi is taking charge and pursuing her desires with a determination we’ve never seen before. Of course, it was Adachi’s very passivity that made it easy for Shimamura to handle her in the first place – so with Adachi having changed her behavior so dramatically, will Shimamura be able to meet her feelings? We’ve only got one episode left, so I certainly hope somebody gets honest about their feelings. Either way, I’m eager to see how this thoughtfully executed drama comes to an end.
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