Takuya is even more of an asshole than usual.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
When Mio’s father, the mayor, decides to send her overseas for a foreign exchange program in order to get her out of the way, she suspects something is up. Determined to get to the bottom of his potential corruption, she enlists Takuya to help her investigate what the mayor’s connection is to Mount Senkaku.
There are some, er, activities that happen when Takuya visits Mio’s room to assist with the research that involves her dad and a shotgun. Regardless, their research leads them to Mount Senkaku, where Mio sprains her ankle when trying to dig for evidence. Takuya piggybacks Mio to the nurse’s office, where Mitsuku finds them and drops a bombshell: Mio has (inexplicable) feelings for Takuya.
From the moment I saw the thumbnail preview for this week’s episode, I was nervous. With Mio in her underclothes and Takuya looking on with surprise, I was steeling myself for weird anime shenanigans. And guess what? YU-NO did not disappoint with its disappointment.
This is certainly one of the grossest and most explicitly crass episodes yet of the series. Takuya has always been a misogynistic idiot, but usually, he’s limited to two or three off-color jokes per episode. Not this time! Takuya’s terrible words and deeds permeate the entirety of the eighth episode, The Sparrows and Swallows Know Not. He never passes up a chance to demean a woman by dismissing what they’re saying in order to ogle their physical features. At least in the previous arc, most of his comments were focused on older women like his stepmother or the double-sided journalist. (The flirty teacher is still around, this time offering Takuya a ‘special massage to ease his stress.) Now, however, Mio is in the spotlight, and I don’t like it one bit. From joking about her gaining weight while piggybacking her while she’s injured, to ignoring her research and making a joke about being distracted by her boobs, Mio’s character really is done dirty. And then there’s the entire scene where he walks in on her changing and has to escape out of the house while her dad tries to break in with a shotgun. Yikes! The camera is no help, framing Mio’s chest and thighs rather than her face in multiple scenes. To be clear, it’s fine to depict mature content like this in cases where it relates to the storyline or is necessary for some other way. But this just felt like excessive fanservice and distracts from everything else going on.
And there is quite a lot going on. A conflict between Mio and her father, the mayor, is being set up. He may be involved in some kind of cover-up, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s sending Mio overseas without even consulting her first. Mitsuki also plays a larger part in this week’s episode than in the previous arc, finding Mio and Takuya alone in the school and betraying Mio’s trust as she tells Takuya that Mio harbors secret feelings for him. (Poor Mio… she could do so much better. Like Yuki! What a sweet, simple soul.)
The English dub is a mixed bag. A lot of the lines just felt wooden this time around, maybe because a good portion of the dialogue is just Takuya insulting people. And when he isn’t doing that, he’s making suggestive come-ons like: “I can almost hear the bed in the nurse’s office calling our name!” Ugh. I did like Mio’s response to one of his remarks: “Yeah, thanks, I’ll pass.” Upon seeing Mitski, Takuya quips: “Not to be gross, but one part of me is feeling better.” Anime was a mistake. I’m still hoping Mio can see Takuya for what he truly is, though: “After that thing that happened, she started calling me a walking libido.”
The eighth episode of YU-NO was pretty awful. Even without counting Takuya’s sexist and immature comments, there wasn’t much actual action happening. If you took away the sex jokes, the dad with the shotgun, and Takuya barging in on Mio changing, I bet this episode could be half the length. Please, YU-NO staff, try that next time. Or better yet, replace all this stuff with some content that’s actually engaging, interesting, and makes me want to keep watching.