episode 7 - Ground Zero
We open with Shuichi waking up, and realising that he's in Hiro's appartment. As he sits up, he remembers Aizawa's actions of the previous night, and finds a note from Hiro telling him to take the day off work. Shuichi begins to blame himself for what has happened - he's a guy, but he can't stop loving Eiri.
Over at NG Pro, Shuichi explains to Sakano and K that he's got over his cold (the excuse Hiro gave for him not going to work). K explains that hiro's already left, so Shuichi should take the day off. Shuichi apologises that they've missed the opportunity to bring their CD out, and says that he's brought them presents to make up for it - and he whips a sailor fuku out of his bag. Blank looks from K and Sakano. Shuichi realises what he's holding, panics with embarrassment, and puts it away again quickly, before producing a bewildering range of bric-a-brac instead - giant brushes, strange models, that sort of thing. Sakano asks Shuichi what's really going on, and Shuichi admits that he's quitting Bad Luck - not because of any creative differences, but all because of him. K, in his usual diplomatic fashion, demands that Shuichi explain himself. Shuichi says that he'll find out soon - he just doesn't want to be in Eiri's way. But Hiro, walking in at this point, says he doesn't need to leave, and what's more, he personally won't let him. He also says that Eiri doesn't blame Shuichi, and that he's gone alone to confront Aizawa. Shuichi, wide-eyed, considers this for a second, then breaks into his standard goofy Eiri grin, and dashes off after Eiri - commenting as he goes that Bad Luck will last forever.
Over in a darkened studio at NG Pro, and Ma-kun is looking distinctly beaten up, while Eiri stands over him with a scary smile. Aizawa, looking terrified, threatens to tell everyone about what Eiri's done. Eiri turns and backs him against the wall, asking if he enjoyed hurting Shuichi, and saying he wants to see the photos. Ken-chan tries to intervene, but Aizawa pushes him away, and hands over the film. Eiri thanks him for being helpful, and walks away. Aizawa asks him why he's just leaving - he has the eyes of a murderous animal, not of a novelist. He could kill without feeling any regret. Eiri, turning, says he's being mean - everyone says they can't resist his eyes. They stare at each other for a moment, before Shuichi is heard calling for Eiri outside.
When Eiri comes out, he finds Shuichi wearing the sailor fuku, with a sunflower in his hair, acting like a winsome shoujo heroine. Eiri leaves, rather quickly, with Shuichi in hot pursuit, shouting at him to stop. As they leave the building, Shuichi starts getting upset, asking if he doesn't care about him because he's a man, and then proceeds to faint on the sidewalk.
He wakes up in Yuki's bed, and as soon as he realises where he is starts insisting that he's fine, othing to worry about. Eiri shouts at him to stop, then gently touches his cheek. He promises that he won't say 'I don't like you' or 'go away' any more - he'll leave instead. Shuichi gets angry, saying he even wore a dress to make Eiri like him even though he's a man. Eiri calmly asks when he said that he didn't like him because he was male. Shuichi, suddenly serious, asks why he's leaving then.
Back at the studio, and Shuichi's recording the vocal track for 'Blind Game Again.' When he finishes, Sakano, K, Hiro and Fujisaki all start celebrating, and Sakano says this is just the start - so he shouldn't go quitting again. Shuichi says there's no chance of that - since he's given up of Eiri, he won't be distracted by him again, and he won't be a burden on him either. Remembering what Mika said about him not really knowing Eiri, he thinks about Eiri walking away from him after they last made love, and he realises that Eiri's coldness is only to protect himself. If he doesn't really know Eiri at all, can he love him?
Over to Tohma's office, and Tohma is speaking on the phone, presumably to a reporter, saying that he's had a good relationship with Koruko-san (another reporter?) for a long time, and hopes to continue that in future. He's looking at a (presumably derrogatory) article about Bad Luck in a pop magazine (don't ask me what it's about, I can't read that much Japanese ^_^), and when he finishes the call he throws it in the bin. He then makes another phone call, asking for a favour. Looking at a copy of ASK's album, he apologises for asking for such a difficult thing...
Shuichi has been out getting drunk with Hiro, and bitching quietly about Eiri, before going to hurl in a gutter. As they walk home, Hiro asks whether he's really given up on Eiri, disbelieving him - because he's automatically walked to Eiri's house. There they meet Ayaka-chan, who learns that Shuichi has given up on Eiri - and then thwacks him for giving up on the relationship, which she thought was stronger than that. She reveals that she accepted Eiri's proposal on the previous day, and Shuichi runs inside to confront him, only to find a completely empty apartment. He kicks and punches and spray-paints various walls, before collapsing in tears. He realises that it doesn't matter if he doesn't know Eiri - just so long as he's got him with him. At that moment Tatsuha arrives, saying that this is his final chance.
Cut to Eiri's house - a huge and beautiful Buddhist shrine. Eiri, Mika and their father are discussing Eiri's forthcoming marriage, Eiri making some less than agreeable comments about his future bride. Tatsuha arrives, late, saying he's brought Ayaka - and instead shows in Shuichi in a dress and lipstick. The family are, unsurprisingly, speechless.
While Eiri's father recovers from the shock, Eiri and Shuichi talk in the gardens. Shuichi tells Eiri he loves him, whoever he is and whatever happened in the past - but he doesn't like not knowing about him. So Eiri tells him that when he was sixteen, he killed a man. Then he asks Shuichi if he's satisfied, and if he can still say he loves him. Shuichi, after a pause, says he's an idiot - of course he does. He can't escape like that any more - and is he really brave enough to marry anyone else? Another pregnant pause - then Eiri thwacks him round the head, saying he's still not brave enough to marry him. He tells him to go home, and for the first time addresses him as simply 'Shuichi'. Shuichi fawns over him for this until Eiri elbows him into the pond.
In a park in Tokyo, Hiro asks Ayaka if she's really okay with this. Ayaka says she knows Eiri would never be happy if he married her, and all she wants is for Eiri to be happy. Hiro looks at her thoughtfully.
*pouts* Still not enough Tohma-san in this episode. Though I must admit, his single scene does give me chills. The way he can comment on a magazine article and almost put a hit out on a man in the same voice and almost the same breath - eeep. His pragmatism sometimes verges on the pathological...
Am I the only one vaguely concerned about how quickly Shuichi was meant to have got over his ordeal? I mean, I know that anime doesn't exactly have to comply with the normal rules of reality - very seldom does, really ^_^ - but nevertheless. They never come right out and say how serious the attack was, but I can't help but feel it should have taken longer than quarter of an episode (or a night in show continuity) for him to have recovered from this one. But then, we can't have anything interfering with his happy-go-lucky genki outlook, now can we? It's the same reason Omi can't have more than half an ep of depression after his entire family get slaughtered. >_< This is one of the many reasons I hate uke-characterisation.
And another reason I hate uke-characterisation is the alarming number of mangaka who seem to think that dressing in drag is cute. Something about fan culture in general, and Japanese fan culture in particular, that goes completely over my head. At least this ep has the common-sense to use the cliche for laughs. Shuichi shocking Eiri's father into nervous collapse by turning up in drag when they were expecting Ayaka still provokes the occasional chuckle from me. (Though of course, that doesn't quite explain why he felt the need to dress in drag on this occasion in the first place, but let it pass...)
I do like Eiri in scary mode far more than I ought. The scene where he beats up Ma-kun - okay, I don't like him for that, that was *totally* unnecessary, I like Ma-kun, he's vaguely cute and stupid and inoffensive - but the bit where he menaces Aizawa, and the 'you have the eyes of a beast' line - *shivers* Once again, Eiri is a bastard, but a damn cool bastard.
Oddly enough, I don't hate Ayaka-chan in this ep - probably because she's not fawning over Eiri and Hiro hasn't quite started falling over his feet every time she appears yet. Her back-handed (literally) encouragement of Shuichi and decision to give up on Eiri because she knows he wouldn't be happy with her are both kinda laudable, as is her brave face on things at the end. In a way she reminds me strangely of Tohma here - yet another character willing to sacrifice their own happiness for Eiri's. I don't get it - does he emit pheramones or something?
favourite lines and scenes
(After Shuichi has apparently quit Bad Luck)
K-SAN: *with gun at Shuichi's head* Explain this to me in a way I can understand. Parenthesis, five minutes, close parenthesis.
K-san once again displays his stunning diplomatic skills ^_^
TATSUHA: Ayaka-chan, come on out.
VOICE OFF: Yes, please excuse me. I am happy to greet you -
SHUICHI IN DRAG: Eiri-san.
EIRI: The sailor dress was better than this...
*snickers* That's not saying much though really, is it? Anything's better than that lipstick...