Usagi is jealous of a perceived threat to his relationship with Misaki. Misaki doesn’t know how to do the whole “talk about your feelings” thing. The sky is blue. Water is wet. These are facts that are true every day from this day until the end of time. Thankfully this week’s episode of Junjou Romantica brought back in some characters from seasons past to mix up the monotony of constantly-jealous-Usagi and emotionally-constipated-Misaki. Ijuuin is back! But instead of the horribly disheveled, gross, emotionally-struggling mangaka from so many years ago, we have a cleaned up, sparkling, gorgeous Sensei who brings all the fangirls (and Misaki and Todo) to the yard. It also forced Usagi and Misaki to work through some of their shit and for that I am grateful.
The Usami family has become a comedic side show at this point. Why oh why do all the Usami cousins love Usagi? And why are they constantly bickering? And why do they like to take their frustration out on poor Misaki? At least Kaoruko has grown to like Misaki, but still… it’s a troubling familial pattern. In the words of Todo, “you have my confused sympathies.” I’m half enjoying them at least breaking up the gloomy atmosphere that surrounds jealous-Usagi all the time. But at the same time, the tension they bring to the plot is also extremely repetitive. This family is confusing as hell, mostly annoying, and strangely incestual. Usami family, why are you the way that you are?
The re-introduction of Ijuuin has forced Misaki and Usagi to finally talk about their feelings. I have to give Usagi a small bit of credit where credit is due: he admits he’s jealous. Doesn’t mean his “I don’t want you to interact with anyone ever” approach is good, but at least he’s talking about it. It’s an improvement. It’s also forced Misaki to admit that he loves Usagi, even though he still has trouble saying the exact words. He says that he loves both Usagi and Ijuuin, but it’s a “different type” of love. That’s about as forthcoming as we can get with Misaki, it seems. The closing internal monologue, however, proves that Misaki at least knows that he’s in love, even if he can’t quite get those words past his lips. It’s moments like that closing segment that make me want to root for them as a couple, despite their problems. When you get past the emotional constipation and jealousy, these are just two people who inexplicably fell in love with each other and I hope they make it.
The closing titles revealed that next week we’ll get some Miyagi and Shinobu, which is my favorite pairing on this show (though far from my favorite pairing in the extended universe). Despite the drastic age difference between them, I feel like these two characters are genuinely good for each other and I’m excited to see what next week brings. Has Shinobu matured at all? Has Miyagi stowed some of his crap? Probably… not. But hey, I’m excited anyway. Bring on Junjou Terrorist!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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