I can’t believe someone finally punched Ami in the face…
The class is having a fun enough time kicking about in the snow, and even though Taiga can’t ski (what did you expect? She can’t even swim, why would her parents have taught her to ski?) she’s surprisingly mellow. When Kihara flirts with Kitamura, Taiga doesn’t even bat an eyelid, and Ryuji points out how weird this is. Someone else gets mad at her in Taiga’s place—Glasses Guy, whose name still escapes me, tells Kihara to stand down since she’s interrupting his grand plan to set Taiga and Kitamura up. Several people tell them to stop fighting, including Kitamura himself, but it ends in a kerfuffle with Kihara crying. It’s not exactly an optimistic start to a romance-filled holiday.
Ryuji basically gives up on the idea that he’s going to confess his feelings to Minorin. She comes over especially to talk to him, but his hopes are dashed when the conversation is all just about patching up the fight between Glasses Guy and Kihara. She’s wearing the bejewelled hair clip he bought her for Christmas, but only because Taiga gave it to her. Distraught and hopeless, Ryuji bundles up in bed in a mope-cocoon, but the rest of the lads aren’t having it, and prise him out with the good old “pretend you’ll fart on his head if he stays in there” ploy. They’re shocked to hear his reasoning, and drag him to the girls’ cabin to get a straight answer out of Minorin.
The girls aren’t in their room, but have left it in the kind of state of chaos only a sleepover can leave behind, and Ryuji’s Mega Tidying Instincts kick into overdrive. Kitamura’s trying to stop him from aggressively re-sorting everyone’s socks and keeping Glasses Guy and Funny Guy out of the girls’ metaphorical underwear, but the whole mission gets hilariously derailed when Taiga enters the room and the guys all have to hide in the wardrobe. A comedic kerfuffle ensues, and Taiga gets dragged in there with them, just as the rest of the ladies arrive.
So, now five people are crammed into the cupboard as Ami, Minorin, Kihara and Nanako sit down for some good old classroom gossip that, naturally, they would die if the boys overheard. It’s a finely tuned recipe for chaos, but mercifully no one needs to sneeze and Ryuji, Kitamura and co. get to stay to hear the full conversation, which opens a whole new can of worms. Ami’s friends are still bitter about Kihara’s advances being shut down, and appeal to Minorin, Taiga’s best friend and holder of all knowledge, to know whether Taiga really likes Kitamura… or if she likes Ryuji. Minorin declines to comment, until Ami gives her one of the most dagger-point stink-eyes in the series and in history, and accuses her of keeping secrets and playing dumb.
Ami is back in Destroyer of Worlds mode, and scoffs that Minorin obviously likes Ryuji but felt guilty about it because of “a certain someone” (interestingly, coming to the same conclusion as Taiga did in the previous episode), so that’s why she turned him down. Minorin continues to refuse to admit to anything, Ami gets pissed, and they end up legitimately yelling at each other until the other girls get them to back down and apologise. Ami masks her ire behind Sweet Adorable Amin mode, and Minorin puts on a sage expression and promises to forget it ever happened.
They all head out to try and find Taiga, who as far as they know has just vanished into thin air on the way back from the bathroom, leaving the guys the perfect opportunity to clown car it out of the wardrobe and end up in a pile on the floor. “No one is allowed to repeat any of that,” Kitamura declares. “We never mention this, and pretend we didn’t hear a thing.” Wonder how long that good-natured sentiment is going to last? In any case, if Kitamura has any personal feelings about this whole entanglement, he’s not voicing them. Ryuji just looks bewildered.
The peace basically holds out until the next day, when Taiga and Minorin interrupt an intriguing little conversation between Ami and Ryuji by straight up sledding into them. We get a dainty shot of Ami’s ass in the air before she turns around and unleashes Hell, accusing them of running into her deliberately. The argument from the night before reignites, but this time with physical violence, kicking off the show’s second legitimate girl vs girl schoolyard fisticuffs. Ami accuses Minorin of being fake, Minorin shouts that she hated Ami since the moment they met, and oh my God, it’s unexpected and shocking and ridiculous.
Because of the lack of focus on non-romantic relationships, we don’t actually know what’s been going on between these two except for little glimpses. Ami’s confession that she might have said something to Minorin that made her turn Ryuji down is new and intriguing, as is her apparent deep and petty loathing of Minorin herself. What does this stem from, kiddo? Is it possible, as Ami herself was musing before she got run over by a sled, that she hates Minorin for being fake because she hates herself for being fake? She admitted to hating Ryuji for being an idiot because she hated herself for being an idiot, so it would certainly make sense. We don’t get closure on this issue yet though, because Minorin’s precious hair pin flies off, and Taiga somehow completely disappears in an effort to find it.
So suddenly Taiga is lost, a blizzard has rolled in, and everything is in chaos. Because the ski lodge employees are apparently useless, Ryuji, Kitamura and Minorin go out into the storm to look for Taiga, and find her in a relatively obvious spot within not much time at all. Ryuji scoops Taiga up from where she’s tripped, hit her head on a rock, been covered with snow, and somehow not died tragically of bleeding or hypothermia, and carries her home. On the way, though, she starts to ramble, mistaking her saviour for Kitamura. And… confessing to him that she’s in love with Ryuji.
Aaaand that’s where we leave it. Holy heck, that was a Drama-riffic episode. In-fighting, secrets, girls literally smacking each other in the face and having to be restrained (and again, not even in a sexy pillow fighty way! I thank this show for embracing the terrifying brutality that teen girls are capable of), and Taiga nearly goddamn dying. Though the real danger of Taiga’s disappearance could have been tension enough for half an episode, it’s just kind of thrown in clunkily at the end, and really only serves as a device to add even more trouble to this convoluted drama hot pot. And we still don’t know how Minorin feels! My wishful theory that she’s crushing on Taiga (which of course she wouldn’t want to admit to those prying classmates) still hasn’t officially been debunked, so I’m clinging to it for at least another episode even if I know nothing’s really going to come from it.
I can’t believe someone finally punched Ami in the face.