Episode 4, “My Image?” is yet another Kei-centric show that is enjoyable yet makes me nervous. I was scared we’d get more juvenile cheesecake photos like in episode 3, but… spoiler alert: we don’t get any underage cheesecake photographs in this episode! Get your Xmas crackers ready, fellas: we’ve got a great episode for you! Reported by AnimeNewsNetwork.
Kei invites Komichi to pose for some shots, which is the core theme of this episode. It’s a nice suggestion, albeit it comes with the caveat that Komichi doesn’t have much of an image other than “That first-year guy wears a naval outfit.”
It’s also an excellent foundation because it corresponds to the kinds the macro ideas that teenagers begin to have when they become aware of things as a place with millions of contemporaneous interactions, rather than simply their neighborhood, city, or even their family and school. In this example, the universe expands to encompass the Mangetsu Dorm, which houses a lot of students.
And it was here that we meet Komichi, Kei, and our new acquaintance Touko, a Mangetsu resident and part of the baseball team. She also makes excellent sweets, which is where we spent the second half of the evening.
Episode 4 includes a lot of themes that feel authentic to becoming a tweenager: doubting who we are, whatever image we want to project, and who we want to be in the long run. When I keep thinking back on who I desired to be — and indeed, how I wanted to seem — in junior high, it was quite simple: I wanted to be ultra-feminine. Of course, it wasn’t who I wanted to be, owing to a lack of experience that had led me to tend toward becoming a soft butch lesbian. Still, those recollections of my ability were priceless; Komichi and Kei had similar memories.
All of these components come together to create an episode that has the same inconvenient, not-so-subtle fetishization at times, but it’s starting to fade away in favor of legitimate instants with Komichi and Kei as friends: memories that are signposted through Komichi being goofy, rather than Komichi being weirdly sexualized.
We could see that a portion of her character is built on Miki-chan, her favorite idol, which suggests that there is room for character development. It’s precisely what you’d expect from a show situated on the edge of adolescence: an examination of female friendship’s frequently platonically sapphic character, as well as how personal being friends with people can be.