His and Her Circumstances – 9/10 [Atonement for Postponed Debts/Everything Starts Now] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome back everyone, to another week of His and Her Circumstances! This week covers some of the fallout from the teacher incident, as well as takes a look how the rest of the school is reacting to their relationship. A lot happens, so lets dive right into it!

First I want to give credit where its due, Circumstances looked good this week. Not just in it’s usual way of expressive but still models, though that was also true. I more mean that it moved really well this week. The 2nd half of episode 10 especially, with Miyazawa running around the school, looked fantastic. Circumstances has spent it’s entire runtime establishing this highly expressive and loose visual style, the way it says “fuck models” and just does what it wants. So when it starts doing that in even wilder ways, with Miyazawa turning into an Oni, her face going purple and growing fangs or the myriad of other ways she changes, it doesn’t feel out of place at all. Instead it just comes off like a special treat. A part of me wishes the rest of the show looked like this to, but I’ll take what I can get.

Moving on to the episodes themselves, lets start with episode 9, “Atonement for Postponed Debts”. Or as I like to put it, “Game of Bitches”. This episode is all about how the rest of the school is dealing with Miyazawa and Arima’s relationship, as well as the changes it has caused in them. It also introduces 2 new “Rivals”, one romantically for Arima and the other for class popularity. Of these, the 1st is much easier to understand and get on board with. Tsubasa’s small, cute, and her antics are rather amusing. Most importantly though, her motives are strictly competitive rather than personal and she keeps things to a one-on-one. Of course, had Arima not immediately figured her out and Circumstances had played this as pointless relationship drama, I would be a lot less positive about it. But since he did, this comes off more cute than dramatic bullshit.

As for the other, Maho, she is much less likable. She really just comes off as a bully who wants to be popular, and does so by lying and setting the entire class against Miyazawa out of spite. Circumstances tries to give her reasons later on, sure. But they really just boil down to jealousy and a feelings of inadequacy. Personal vanity, really. There’s a world where I see this as some kind of reflection on Miyazawa. As Circumstances trying to show us where that kind of mindset leads, such as when she was messing with Arima early on. But even then, Miyazawa never got the class involved or sought to ruin him publicly. She just wanted to battle it out in class scores and accomplishments. Because of this, I find it really difficult to care about her in any way when Circumstances tries to make us sympathize with her.


One thing I did like though was how Miyazawa handled everything. Early on in Circumstances, we see her deal with problems by buckling down and just going at them. We see this most clearly with Arima, and how she doesn’t wallow in misery after screwing up his confession. She just isn’t the kind of person to let a roadblock stop her. I was really happy to see that character trait make a return! I expected her to do the standard rom-com response of wallowing in it until the class figures it out themselves. Instead however, Miyazawa actively tells Arima to stay out of it and that she would deal with it herself. Going so far as to befriend the friends of her enemy, Tsubasa, and earn her respect a bit as well. I just really like when a female lead is allowed to be strong and stand up for herself.

Speaking of the rest of the class, I’m very mixed on them. On one hand, I understand why they went along with Maho’s bullshit. Miyazawa has changed, and she did lie about who she was. But on the other hand, it all really came down to their own jealousy and discontent around her relationship with Arima. It all just felt so very… petty. Which makes sense, this is a highschool. Part of me wonders if I’m simply to old to really “get” or appreciate this sort of highschool drama. Having graduated university, it all seems to silly to me. Regardless of my personal feelings on highschool drama though, their bullshit did cause something good to happen: Miyazawa is now being pushed to find her own friends. Real friends, like Arima and Asaba, who like her for her rather than her mask. That’s something I really enjoyed watching.

This brings us to episode 10, “Everything Starts Now”. This one was all about overcoming the issues Circumstances presented in episode 9, Tsubasa and Maho. I think that the way Miyazawa handled both of these was really good, even if their final outcomes left something to be desired. Lets start with Tsubasa first! Here, I really liked how Miyazawa didn’t get angry at first. She knew it was a crush, she understood her feelings and didn’t hold the pranks against her. Especially because she confronted Miyazawa as an equal. But once she messed with Arima, once she involved someone else and hurt her own crush, that was what set her off. And while anger isn’t the best response, it was cool to find where Miyazawa’s line was. Mess with her all you want, she can take it, but don’t involve anyone else.

As for Maho though… I really like that Miyazawa not only confronted her, but went out and made her own friends, showing the real difference between them as people. It was really satisfying to see her get one-upped, showing that she didn’t fall behind for no reason. My issues however is that I don’t like how Circumstances seemed to try and… redeem her by the end? That’s probably the wrong word, but they tried to make us sympathize with her as Miyazawa came to approach her. Had Maho been the one to reach out and try and change herself, maybe I would feel differently. Circumstances is all about being your true self and this would have been a great moment for that. But by having Miyazawa be the one to initiate it, you really just continue to show Miyazawa is the better person while Maho is… a cunt.

That said, my distaste for Maho aside, the way Circumstances handled the rest of the class as well as Miyazawa’s new friends was nice to see. They way they came to see who Miyazawa really was and made up their own minds rather than letting Maho control their thoughts. Their dismissal of Maho while refusing to do to her what she did to Miyazawa. And especially how Tsubasa’s friends saw how patient Miyazawa was with her, and how the one time she was mad they assumed there was a legitimate reason for it. It all felt way more genuine than Asaba’s sudden closeness with Arima, to the point where he has baby photos and is staying over at his house. I get that they might be friends, but the last time they interacted before becoming so close was Arima threatening him. How did this transition happen so fast?

So yeah, all in all I think these were two fine episodes. I like Tsubasa a lot more than I do Maho, both as a character and a narrative device. I find the exploration of the ones who didn’t get a romantic confession to be really interesting. Meanwhile for Maho, this could have been good but we sped through it so much, and it split its attention with Tsubasa, that I never really engaged much here. I felt like Tsubasa’s friends added more to Maho’s conflict than the rest of the class did. Especially when, even after becoming friends, Maho focused in on how popular Miyazawa’s new friends were like it was some kind of badge. I don’t know, it just felt off to me. Not enough to ruin the episode of course, but its certainly not my favorite plotline I’ve seen so far.