It’s amazing what one episode can do.
In a single episode, Shakugan no Shana II has managed to undo nearly all the good will it’s generated in my mind by building up the tension, drama, and yes, even the angst. You see, for characters to remain sympathetic to the viewer, they have to be believable. Some leeway is permissible, in that shows are rarely about “average” people in “average” situations (slice-of-life often being the exception). Sometimes they’re about heroes, sometimes they’re about goats, sometimes they’re about people who are normal except for that one little superpower/affinity/ability/thing that sets them apart.
But even then, the character has to be believable, or the show is just not any good. Yuuiji’s inability to let Yoshida down nicely has been stretching belief for some time now. In Episode 4 of SnS, he stepped over the line into unreality, thanks to the addition of Konoe/Hecate.
I’ve given Yuuiji every possible break.
“He’s waiting on Shana to admit she likes him.”
“He’s just not able to say no to a pretty face.”
“He’s genuinely conflicted, because of how supportive Yoshida was when she found out he’s dead.”
I said all those things.
I was an idiot.
Starting in ep. 3, Konoe’s odd attachment to Yuuiji became evident. Throughout ep. 4, his obvious empathy for the shy, withdrawn girl has gone into overdrive. Whether it’s trading lunches, escorting her to and from school, or searching for her when she wanders off, his actions seem designed to piss off Shana and even Yoshida. And then he wonders why they’re both angry with him? Excuse me? If Japanese men were all this clueless about women, the race would have died off thousands of years ago.
Then there’s the whole Hecate/Konoe issue, about which everyone (but especially him) seems to have gone brain-dead. No one has as much as asked her a question about her odd background, where she’s from, why she’s so clueless about everyday life, where she lives (other than it’s in the same direction as Yuuiji), who her parents are, etc. Now as it happens, I have a theory about who she is (see spoiler below), but you’d think the alarm bells would start ringing again when Konoe displays unusual abilities. Things like being able to understand and talk to wild birds, and having them come and land in her hand — and extend that power to others, since one came and landed on Yuuiji while they were standing so close. And that’s another thing, what the hell was Yuuiji doing? She actually does remind him of Hecate for a moment, and his reaction was to “get in her personal space,” so close to her, I thought they were about to kiss. Of course Yoshida just happens to show up and see them right then.
Please, give me a break.
I can only see three possibilities here. One is that Konoe is using some sort of magic on Yuuiji that nobody can detect, not even Yuuiji, despite Alastor and Shana saying how great his senses are. The other is that his senses are assuring him that she’s benign, and he unconsciously trusts that “feel” over common sense. In that case, he’s still an idiot where the other two girls are concerned. Come on, even at nine years old, I may have been stupid and weak enough to let an older sister of a girl I liked jerk me around, but I DID understand that I’d screwed up and that there was significant jealousy going on there. (Although, come to think of it, I didn’t display any more sense in later in high school….)
But Yuuiji seems to be totally clueless — he really wonders why Yoshida and Shana are angry to the point that neither will eat lunch with him (leaving him to Konoe) and Shana is now sending Wilhelmina to train him.
Dude, that’s denser than neutronium. And I don’t buy it — so the third possibility, the one I believe, is that the writers are seriously screwing up.
Edit: and I’m off to Jason’s to see if something else is worth it. This season is turning into crap, fast.