Kiss Him Not Me Episode 8 [Nana becomes a magical girl]
Until this episode of Watashi go Motete Dousunda I had considered Nana to largely be a non competitor for Serinuma. When this episode aired I had to knock a few people down just because of the sheer level of approval this episode induced from me. Ladies and Gentleman: Nana is good with kids. Rather than make Nanashima a jerk in everyway and completely unlikable they finally gave him something so cute, so adorable, he is higher on my list than Igarashi. There are things in this episode that are uncomfortable, however, that ruin an otherwise perfect story. Still, it is very much a salvageable episode as we open with Nanashima lamenting that he has nothing to relate to Serinuma on like everybody else, so they’re all getting ahead of him.
This makes him more humble because we do see he cares about Serinuma, then we see the most amazing thing I have ever seen: the proud, arrogant, jerkwad of a tsundere happily and readily dances to a magical girl routine and watches it regularly with his little sister. He doesn’t even lament doing it: he jumps right in to be one of the girls with her. It’s so refreshing to see him be like that! Serinuma reveals that in order to pay for her con habits and merchandise she got a part time job in a live performance of . . . the same show that Nana is familiar with. Everyone naturally tries out in attempt to work with her but everyone fails except Nana: I think the way they subverted allowing the only other otaku in the show on board was very clever when they had Nishina lose out on the position solely because she has no free time and is too rich and popular as an artist.
Then we get to the issue of this episode. There is a popular shoujo trope that a character will be sick or asleep and take advantage of the heroine totally on accident. This is not a realistic thing, if someone is sick or asleep they’re exhausted and don’t want to push their bodies physically even if they’re having a realistic day dream about their crush. This happens to Nana and Kae this episode, with Igarashi rushing in to punch Nana and Kae running off, afraid of Nana. If Nana was a real person who feels the way we all know he does, as in that he does not want to force himself on Serinuma, he would not have acted as he did in this episode. The only reason this happened is because this is a shoujo and that is a trope.
That being said, the way it is handled after that is completely admirable. The anime does not gloss over it and even has Kae address that her BL manga has scenarios and that she might find them attractive in fiction but that in real life it’s actually terrifying. Nana spends the entire episode trying to show her that he is sorry and never meant it, and she forgives him while he also understands she was scared and he does not blame her for it. I feel this episode did a good thing making Kae’s feelings the priority and making sure it was known that was not okay one bit. I also resent that Nana was the target of a trope that made him less likable, but this is a criticism of the writing. As a character he did do what he did and that is wrong, but at the same time Shinomiya fell into her boobs and basically groped her. Why was that trope not addressed but this one was? I think the show shines when it shows what is wrong with the genre and that was no exception.
After this episode my ranking is in a mess. I don’t forgive Nana for what he did completely because Kae was genuinely scared, but I also have some issues and praises for both him and everyone else. Igarashi embarrasses Kae with contact repeatedly until she’s ‘used to it’ and to me that is almost abuse in and of itself. Shouldn’t he be asking rather than suggesting she ‘get used to’ something she might not be ready for? I want to rinse the taste of assaulting Kae out of my mouth and I need to see next episode to gather my thoughts, but I will probably give another thoughtful analysis on who is ‘ahead’. I don’t know how Kae feels at this point because she seems to love everyone as friends. . . as more than that? Well, we’ve got a few more episodes to see if that pans out.
I hope Kiss Him Not Me continues to address really uncomfortable topics, but I also hope Nana gets a shot to prove he isn’t hopeless. Despite what he did, it is clear Kae still cares about him. Also he took a girls place and danced the routine so uh. . . . yeah I love him.