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There's something pretty great about this series but there is a little confusion as to what's in store for us next.
This episode was all about Mei for me. She really stepped up as the heroine of this shojo romance series and left a lasting impression with me. It's pretty impressive when I think about it, because all the heroines in this season's shojo series have been strong, but Mei is emerging as the winner.
I still keeping getting Kimi ni Todoke vibes from this series for many reasons, but it doesn't overpower Sukitte Ii na yo's own plot. With Yamato being the popular guy with a heart of gold and Mei being the shy girl, it could have easily turned out to be another case of Kimi ni Todoke but Mei's actions just stopped that. Her awareness and her power really made an impact with me, and made her into a truly strong heroine. She showed us that strength in the first episode when she delivered a stellar roundhouse kick into Yamato, and here we see it again. Truly a great moment for her.
The new character Hayakawa doesn't feel like a recurring character and being the anti-Yamato he's just an antagonist. My lack of knowledge when it comes to the source material does mean I'm guessing about his role in the series and I don't mind if he doesn't show up again. His role in this episode ended up bringing Yamato and Mei together and since he doesn't look like a viable boyfriend for Aiko, he appears more like a one time appearance.
Speaking of Aiko, that was a pretty short rivalry! I wrote in the previous episode review that she doesn't give the feel of a love rival - more of a victim vibe here - and as glad as I am that she isn't a "rival" any more, it felt too soon for her to throw in the towel. Her dieting issues were brought up again, and this is something I'm not ecstatic about as a long-term plot point but at least it's being downplayed.
Aiko's short-lived rivalry wasn't the only thing that felt rushed. The end of the episode when Mei confronted Yamato about what happened with Aiko was unexpected. I'm personally liking how these issues won't be coming back in the future and have been resolved, although when you consider the ending it gave the series a sense of finality. Mei's monologue that followed the moment of pure love between herself and Yamato, made it seem like this could have been a 4 episode OVA. A great 4 episode OVA, but that doesn't really give me as much comfort when I consider the future.
It's a double-edged sword. The first four episodes have been good and with no dwelling on the issues so far has made it really enjoyable to watch, but what comes next I don't know. Pacing issues also come to mind when you think about how unusually short the focus on these issues are. When all is said and done, so far Sukitte Ii na yo has been enjoyable and hopefully it'll continue to do so.