As usual, the post title is really making things sound more extreme than they actually are (
because I'm an atention whore). I’ve mentioned before how bland S.A. is turning out, and even Impz the shoujo advocate has denounced S.A. to be a pile of (GONZO produced) rage inducing crud. Personally my reaction towards S.A. so far is little in the way of anger (since I have no previous attachment to the manga source which is apparently ‘just okay’ anyways), and more of “Err... That's it?”
But even if S.A. turned out to be a decent enough adaptation, what would be the actual draw? I think the
specialty draw in Special A was meant to be one or both of the following: the development of Kei and Hikari’s ‘unusual’ competitive relationship into something more romantic (for those who’ve not seen KareKano anyways), and the possibility of a lol-worthy comedy driven setting with a dash of possible romance involved (for those who’ve not watched Ouran – seriously, WHY THE HELL HAVEN'T YOU??? :P). So far, as some besides myself have probably realized, S.A. has not been doing too good in both respects.
But why exactly is Kei masking his feelings for Hikari again, and by putting her down in dumb challenges that defy their character designs? One may say, obviously there’s SOME reason which they’ll reveal later that’ll make his actions make all the sense in the world (Like he’s really waiting for the day Hikari finally beats him at something to confess – WOW, how impressively ROMANTIC!). But whatever the reason, it's bound to be one of those gimmicky gimmicks *gasps, not a gimick!*. A gimmick to make the relationship aspect of the story more ‘special’ than it really should be. A gimmick to make Kei’s own character circumstances seem more ‘special’ than he really is (“Oh, I’m like rich, smart and complex!”). A gimmick to make Kei seem so ‘specially’ distant from Hikari at one point in the episode, only in the next moment he’s forced to drop it all in order to save/protect Hikari, in a process designed to make the fan
girls swoon at this transition - “!!!! See?? See how much he REALLY cares for her???”
For me the whole “Let me take these BONE-CRUSHING blows to PROTECT you, Hikari!!! When really I could just break these damned handcuffs and we can beat the crap out of these losers TOGETHER WITH THE POWER OF LOVE!!!” scenario in ep 2 was excruciating to watch (and not only from a feminist’s standpoint, it was lame to begin with), while his whole running through the woods searching for Hikari recently was again pointless and exaggerated. Seriously Hikari, what are you reading these actions as, expressions of masochistic tendencies?
Yes, Irie is a jerk and a snob, that’s his true character, but not only can this be changed, it is being changed for the better. In additional support to the jerk (I can’t believe I just typed that) Irie at least knows how to be blunt and when to be subtle when he's teasing Kotoko :P The way he lulled Kotoko (and this naïve viewer) into thinking he’s showing signs of thawing during the picture taking - only to strike at her once again was pretty hilarious and totally made up for his eerie Itou Makoto-esque risque stunt he pulled with her an episode ago. Kei’s "#2" jab at Hikari on the other hand, grew too old too fast.
As for Kei, he isn’t actually a jerk or a snob, as everyone (even the supposedly blur Hikari) knows well enough, but the fact that he keeps acting like one in front of her by continuously putting her down as second-fiddle to him, thus masking his affections for her (and just from her, again everyone else knows) just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know for sure if they actually get together within the scope of the show (a half-assed confession at the final minutes of the show hardly counts), but somewhere along the way, Hikari herself will have to come to the RELIZATION that ZOMG, he’s in love with me, whatever shall I do??? But whatever she does, it won’t actually change Kei for the better in the way Kotoko is doing for Irie, all it’ll do is merely get Kei to finally give up on his needless façade so that he and Hikari can FINALLY live happily ever after, blah blah blah… who cares. I don’t.
Thus we have Irie “I’m so cold and distant because my mom cross-dressed me as a child!” (This method of child-raising may have the opposite result though – see Kyou Kara Maou) while Kei is all “I ACT all cold and distant because… err… It’s cool! …And my dad’s voiced by Ogata Megumi!” Hence, Irie (genuine jerk) > Kei (fake prince)
· S. A. – Still blah. Needs less Hikari and Kei, more Tadashi and Akira; if there’s a Ryu arc make it decent; and give poor Yonaga Tsubasa some more exposure (in the hopes for another season of Ookiku Furikabutte!).
· Itazura na Kiss – Still Awesome (Now that’s what S.A. should stand for, instead of ‘Still Awful’). Watch more. :D