Surprisingly, this wasn’t as depressing as the first ep. Ok, it’s still very awkward, but I didn’t feel the pain that I felt when i first watched this. Some of it is for a good reason, while in other ways it’s not. But it’s still got the potential to be amazing.
The main focus for this ep involves Kuroki’s old friend in middle school, Yuu. Both were unsocial during their middle school years, and she finally calls her back in years to hang out. With only a few days away, Kuroki wants to do anything that could be worth bragging about in highschool. With that comes fantasizing, self-proclaimed popularity, and shocking revelations.
The big issue with the comedy this time is that it’s alot more otaku centric. It’s more perverted(staring up a girls skirt; wtf?) and centered on Otaku knowledge(route fantasies, character archetypes) than the more depressing side of a loner. This does make it more light-hearted and relateable to anime viewers, but the problem with this is that the jokes become less original, being in favor of niche pandering.
The anti-social lifestyle is also somewhat pandering, as it touches upon my loner-style nostalgia. But that has widespread appeal because non-otakus suffer the exact same problems. Making friends is hard, and we don’t know how old friends will turn out in the end. And if you’re at the level of lacking social skills as Kuroki, you would cling to any hints of recognition and companionship as her(the rushed portrait, sleeping in the same room with the opposite, etc).
But that brings us to the highlight, which is the other reason why this ep was less depressing. Despite how Yuu has gone through an extreme makeover in both looks and personality, she genuinely enjoys her time with Kuroki, sharing specific interests that only they can have. Sure it builds up to a cruel joke involving popularity. But the friendship between the two feels genuine, to the point where Kuroki gives some last minute advice to not give up(which ironically lead to said cruel joke).
That cruel joke DOES however lead to one big problem. Simply put, Kuroki has WAY too much pride, to the point when she actually hears about Yu’s better situation, she shuts her off with her headphones just to make it seem like it’s not her fault for suffering in Highschool. It’s understandable why she would do this, since she was desperately looking for someone she could relate too only to find she’s much more successful than her. But it’s a missed opprtunity, since Yu could actually help Kuroki with her problems.
Overall, I wasn’t wowed as much as the first ep, but i’m fascinated about Kuroki’s downward spiral. Her fantasies may get cliched and her personlaity isn’t quite likeable , but her attempts at being popular feel anything but. I empathize with her problems, jealousy and constant will to not give in. Go Kuroki!