In this week’s Sakurasou, Nanami and Mashiro turn the dial up to eleven. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating; but they’re both trying pretty hard to catch Sorata’s attention. And at the moment, it looks like they’re both just about evenly matched. Nanami has the advantage of knowing that her feelings for Sorata are those of love. The problem is, she hesitates to pursue him aggressively, even though I’m sure he couldn’t turn her down if she ever did try to take Torajirou’s advice (or something less drastic). On the other hand, Mashiro has no qualms about doing or saying rather provocative things when Sorata is involved. Accordingly, her problem is that she doesn’t realize the reason why she’s doing all this is because she loves him. This characterization of the two rivals really seems to push that the two are opposites of each other in a sense; we’ve previously seen hints with Nanami being ordinary as opposed to talented like Mashiro (which I would think tips the balance in Nanami’s favor). And of course, this all comes back to the age-old question of which girl you prefer. I’ve made it no secret that I personally root for Nanami, but I’ve also openly acknowledged that Mashiro will likely be the one to win. This is just personal preference though, and pursuing the matter any further in such a fashion will only invite flaming and wars. Instead, let’s take an objective look at the state of affairs.
Each of the two heroines lacks something that the other possesses. It stands to reason, then, that the one who manages to obtain her missing “piece” first will likely gain ground over the other. So, who is closer to achieving this? The way things look right now, it would be Mashiro. While Nanami having Sorata practice some ironically accurate lines with her in preparation of her upcoming audition is unusually bold for her, she’s pretty much made it clear that she will not pursue him until she gets the all-clear from passing the audition. In essence, Nanami has put a limit on herself, temporarily freezing her relationship with Sorata. And unfortunately for her, while she’s standing still, Mashiro is continuing to progress at a slow but steady rate; her editor has been giving her subtle nudges by having her read shoujo manga to introduce her to the concept of love. Things aren’t completely hopeless for Nanami just yet though, with her audition approaching next episode and Mashiro still not understanding her feelings. But really, this shouldn’t be all too surprising. If one of the two were to gain an advantage over the other so easily, the show wouldn’t be half as engaging as it is. By instead pushing the romantic developments of both rivals to occur at as close a pace as possible, Sakurasou is really upping the anticipation of the inevitable decision. Call it shrewd, calculating, or whatever you like; but you can’t deny that it works.
In this light, Mashiro seeming to hold an advantage this episode doesn’t really mean too much after all. The show is really just passing the baton between both heroines periodically, what with Nanami appearing to have the advantage during the Christmas Eve episode. This cycle has gone on for several iterations now though, and with the number of episodes left dwindling, surely the big decision is coming to a head. Perhaps I would be pushing my luck by saying that something big might happen next time? That’s when Nanami’s audition is set to take place, and I can’t picture her failing. Or at least, she won’t be leaving Sorata whether or not she passes. The point is, taking Nanami out of the picture now would completely dispel all of the tension the show has worked to build all this time, so there’s no way that’s going to happen. It should be relatively safe to assume, then, that whatever happens, Nanami will make good on her word and confess to Sorata next episode. The question is, will this just turn into more baton passing, but with higher stakes? I can see Sorata being indecisive and not giving Nanami a response immediately. And while Nanami is waiting, Mashiro will have figured out her feelings and made them clear to Sorata as well.1 This would be a rather cliche development, though, and I personally wouldn’t be too thrilled if it were the case. It would be refreshing if Sorata were to actually pick Nanami at the moment, even if he were to leave her for Mashiro by the end of the show. But unfortunately, it is precisely because the aforementioned development is cliche that it will most likely be what happens.
I really don’t have much to complain about the show at this moment. However, one thing that’s always irked me is the amount of hostility I’ve seen between the two “heroine factions”. This is the internet though (sad that this should excuse poor behavior), and undoubtedly the offenders of both sides will claim they weren’t being serious (an oft-used excuse for making inflammatory remarks), so I’ll just voice my futile complaint here and not mention it again.
1It would be ultimate irony if Mashiro’s realization were triggered by something like her witnessing Nanami’s confession.