Score: A-

It may not be the perfect time for a Christmas episode, but the timing isn’t bad. This season has been consistent when it comes to pushing Hayase and Naoto together. The first season had good moments between them, but this season feels like the franchise has turned a corner. The show had a lot of teasing in the first season with building a foundation of a relationship between the leads. This season is just taking that foundation and really building up their ship. It’s reaching a point where the only issue is for one of them to openly admit their feelings without backing off. They are almost there anyways with hypothetical confessions being talked about and Hayase joking (maybe) about wishing at the shrine to become Naoto’s bride. Their friends know what is going on and frankly so should both main characters.

Can’t hide anything from her sister

The Christmas portion was nice. Things really have reached a sweet point for both at this stage. You have both characters wanting to give the other a present and having put some thought into what they were going to get. We see more from Hayase in asking for advice, but I’m sure Naoto was thinking about what a safe and helpful present would be. It says a lot that Hayase asked her sister for advice. She knows her sister is going to mess with her over this. But it meant more to her to get some advice since she obviously likes the person, she’s giving the gift too. And even Anetoro was being considerate in only teasing so much while giving good advice.

Scarves are a perfectly solid and safe gift. It won’t be as useful a gift after Winter, but it’s a gift they can recognize on the other person for the rest of the cold season. No intention on getting a matching set of presents. But it works to simply establish them as being on the same wavelength. They are thinking the same way so much now that it will be amazing if they can keep stretching out the series with no confessions at all.

Just too obvious

Everyone around these two knows what is going on here. Anetoro obviously knows how her little sister feels. I’ll trust Naoto’s mother that she can read the room. A cute girl is visiting her sick son and scampers off while looking embarrassed? No need to be a master detective there. And naturally her friends aren’t exactly lost here. Some of them that weren’t as close to her are only starting to clue in. But at this point…there’s nothing to figure out. After a lame excuse Hayase and Naoto run off and avoid hanging out with the group for karaoke. The only thing that some might be confused over is whether there’s been a confession. Everything else is crystal clear.

Rocking the shrine maiden look

And things aren’t slowing down either as the cast moved quickly towards New Years. No mystery in this one. Nagatoro called up Naoto because she wanted to lure him into visiting the shrine. The impact of showing off while wearing a shrine maiden outfit was powerful. In that sense she got everything she wanted. The only challenge was just spending as much time with Naoto as she wanted. If not for that fortune, he probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to head back and basically ask Hayase out. There’s just no way for him to be as smooth as he wants to be. But he did manage to get her attention and the date that both wanted. It’s only when Hayase is truly comfortable that she can get into her teasing mode.

What gives me hope is that both sides are already obvious towards each other. You have Naoto “hypothetically” talking about confessing to Nagatoro. Naturally he had to be responsible with how he’d only ask her out directly and not ask gods to help him with it. But you also get Nagatoro bluntly teasing him about her wish to be his bride. Now she says it was a lie but…that honestly doesn’t sound out of character. Even more so with how hard it is for Naoto to make any moves at all. These two are almost desperate to start dating and are just waiting for one side to make a sustained and serious move.

Just a matter of time

The only question for the characters at this point is how long this will be dragged out. Naoto is actively having dreams about romantic dates with Hayase. Hayase herself is asking her sister for dating tips and it just seems clear that they can only fall further in love. I’m enjoying watching these awkward goofballs. Their feelings are clear as day and I look forward to seeing those feelings deepen. This season has gotten comfortable for me to watch. The show doesn’t seem eager to take things too far again like season 1. And that’s a good thing. All I really want is to see these characters keep having fun and maybe just get around to a confession. They don’t have to move as fast as Sakura (wow that girl wastes no time). What they do need is just to keep making progress.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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