Score: B+

This season has given Nagatoro a lot more depth and development. It’s been nice delving into her past and weaknesses a bit. It makes her more than just the teasing girl who is Naoto’s love interest. But it’s easier to see how her path led her to the person she is now. And I like getting to understand her a bit more as things continue to get more comfortable between her and Naoto. Last season gave him a good deal of focus which made sense. But I’m looking forward to what will probably be a one-episode tournament and seeing if Nagatoro can come out on top.

She’s still got some moves

It makes sense that Nagatoro ran into some kind of wall in the past. If she was still as into Judo or other martial arts as she was in the past, then she wouldn’t have all this free time. This girl spends a lot of her after school time on the couch in the art club and flirting with Naoto. That just reflects how she doesn’t have a specific hobby or sport that she can fully dedicate herself to. The girl is still active and that can be seen with her working out at that gym. But it’s clear that she’s pulled away from serious competition.

The obvious conclusion is that her height ended up holding her back. Gamo showed that her reach is seriously lacking compared to taller girls. And while she can score a good hit by slipping past their guard…that isn’t always enough. In some ways it is surprising a girl as gutsy as Nagatoro would throw in the towel, but in some ways, it makes sense. Hitting a wall can be agonizing even if you have a lot of things going for you.

He should be able to cheer her to some wins

If this next episode is about Naoto getting to cheer Nagatoro to victory in that tournament that will be sweet. I do wonder if that’ll spark her to dive more seriously into judo again? I can’t imagine anything will happen that will push her away from their constant flirting. But if he’s chasing his goals in art I’d like to think that Nagatoro will start chasing things that she wants for herself. That leads back to the question Naoto was asking himself in the previous episode. What are Hayase’s dreams and goals? We’re starting to find out more about her past and this should naturally lead to learning about her potential future.

It will be interesting to see if Naoto himself can win a round or two. He is putting in the effort to not embarrass himself. Being around Nagatoro has just resulted in him setting higher standards for himself. I don’t think it’s just about wanting to look good in front of her, but that’s probably part of it.

Caught her by surprise as well this week

The sweet moments between the leads continue. Even just a short scene with Naoto asking Nagatoro to pose for him led to some nice reactions from both sides. Hayase leans into tsundere territory when she goes from visibly elated by how he drew her to teasing him over it. She’s currently struggling with just taking her happiness with open honesty, but at least she takes advantage of her chances to be with Naoto. When he sets her up with the chance to teach him she basically jumps on it right away.

Speaking of jumping onto things…Naoto really sunk himself when Nagatoro had him pinned. Under no circumstances would calling her heavy ever be a good idea! I’m sure she’s right that the key was technique and not weight. I can’t blame her in this case for really tightening the hold and being very specific about why her pin was so strong. Some comments just can’t be said without there being a price to pay.

Gamo really helped quite a bit

This was just a solid episode. “The friends” remain a huge supportive element for this couple. Naoto may have stepped up to ask them about Nagatoro, but they were the ones that helped. Thanks to their interference Hayase is going to keep helping Naoto practice and that should get her competing in the school tournament without bowing out as quickly as she can. I’m curious if the art club President will play a further role in all this. But at least she served as good motivation for Nagatoro to keep a close eye on the guy she likes XD.

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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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