I was half asleep during Japanese class today, mostly because I was so tired from coming home so late last night, and also because I was up doing Japanese homework, which kind of defeated the purpose of me going to class when I was completely not paying attention to the teacher I suppose. In any case, thought I’d quickly post my thoughts on Otomen 4 before I forget (and before the next episode comes out! Otherwise I’ll be scrambling to keep up as usual).
If you thought the 4th episode would be filled with more potential lovey-dovey scenes between Ryo and Asuka, you’d be wrong. The script actually decides to progress on a different front, which made it both more interesting (plot-wise) and yet, of course, less interesting (romance-wise).
The beginning of the episode is filled with easy throwaway moments (thank goodness they’ve stopped with the mother and father introduction! I thought I was going to have to kill the scriptwriters, but no, thankfully they got the hint!) where we see Asuka helping Juta mend his uniform (and Juta once again teases him about being an Otomen), and Hajime officially arriving in the school uniform and walking around with Asuka’s mother (who, did I mention, was the chairman of the school? No? Nevermind, must have been one of the unimportant things that slipped my mind, like anything to do with the mother.) as she tries to figure out what drew Hajime to transfer to this school.
Everything officially kicks off when Yamato (the puppy-dog junior that keeps following Asuka around) runs into class desperately and begs Asuka and Juta for help. Turns out his uncle operates a shop by the sea, and needs him to find some young strapping men to help out in the store. Both Asuka and Juta hesitate, but Ryo, who is standing nearby, of course flashes her usual brilliant grin and is all like, “Anything I can do to help!” and with Ryo as an incentive, Asuka of course jumps in the fray as well, and brings along the rest of the kendo club, including Hajime (who originally thought the trip was meant to be a training camp! lols, Hajime is just as fail as Asuka).
They are then greeted enthusiastically by Yamato’s uncle, and given a rousing welcome. He tells them, “I’m really glad Yamato managed to find so many strapping young men! Now, if you don’t mind, would you like to get to work?” …and just when you think they are about to be put to menial tasks such as serving customers and running around the shop like mad dogs…
The most embarrassing thing wasn’t that they all had to dress up in these pseudo-Power Rangers-cum-Captain Planet outfits (the outfits are Power Rangers like, but the script has something to do with protecting the planet, so… there you go…) but who was going to be directing them. The Uncle-From-Whereonearthdidtheyfindhim?? then pats someone on the back and introduces…
In the midst of all this drama, Asuka worries about Hajime. He wants Hajime to stop treating him as a rival; instead he hopes to be friends with Hajime, and one night, while he sees Hajime practising, he can’t help but go up and tell him, “There’s a loophole in your kendo.” (Unfortunately he is overhead by Juta’s sister, who mistook what he said as, “I like you.” since in Japanese, “loophole” and “like” sound very similar! This leads to many hilarious moments with Juta as you will see). Asuka and Hajime have several alone bonding scenes in this episode (some of you may find that boring, but it does help character development, so live with it s’okay?)
So, to make it all worse (or better, depending on your POV), apparently there’s going to be a fashion show held at the beach, with 2 celebrities in the design world helming the show: a fashion designer and a make-up designer respectively! (Asuka wanted to go the minute he heard they were performing but obviously can’t because he has his image to protect lols). However, in the next scene we see the assistants reporting to the producer telling him the models and the designers were going to be late and might not make it to the show after all! In desperation, the producer sends out someone to find a replacement model, and who else would he pick but…
Naturally, here, both Asuka and Hajime are present (they do not explain this and I think to myself, Ah the beauty of the suspension of disbelief we are meant to practise in dramas!) and as usual, Asuka is unable to stop himself from stepping out to help Ryo. He starts to do a complete makeover for the dress, and when he finishes, he looks at Hajime and tells him, “There are things I give up for Kendo too. No one is ever perfect.” and then Hajime seems to finish an internal struggle with himself and looks at the horrible makeup Ryo is still wearing and goes, “Summer accent? Cake, foundation, concealer…Come, let me transform you into a beautiful butterfly with these hands.” (Upon hearing that, Juta and his sister who also happen to be at all the important scenes it seems, are relieved. Juta nudges his sister and goes, “Asuka’s not gay…he and Hajime just have an understanding of what it’s like to be in a similar position!” referring to how Hajime, too, appears to be an Otomen)
Although this episode had less Juta moments, it was still funny, especially during the Power Ranger moments (the Kid Director From Hell was probably the best bit in the entire episode; man, do I want to grow up to be like that!) It looks like the show is taking a more serious slant – they’re showing an awful lot of boys liking feminine things already (like that boy in school in the flower club! and Asuka! and now Hajime! …and Juta, as much as I love him, has gotta be a girly boy because he draws shoujo manga. Really.) so I suppose they’re trying to live up to the name of “Otomen”. I do hope they don’t end up trying too hard and killing the show. I really like it just the way it is right now; it’s great comic relief if nothing else.