Now, be honest: How many of you were thinking that Recruit’s date plan was pretty good? Nice ride in a fancy car (though I’m pretty sure a Lamborghini Countach isn’t made for off-roading) to a fancy dinner in a fancy hotel. Sipping champagne while hovering above the city in a helicopter as fireworks explode in the distance: Just. For. You. …And how many of you asked yourselves: Hasn’t Recruit learned anything since moving Under the Bridge?
The short answer is no. And yes.
No, obviously because he does things like compose detailed plans for a date that Nino for sure wouldn’t enjoy. Personally, however, I’m willing to overlook this as a habit Recruit still needs to work on overcoming. Everything he knows about life comes from a society that he no longer belongs to, and for the most part, doesn’t apply to the current society in which he lives in. It’s harder than you think to rid yourself of something that’s habitual. Try, for example, going an entire day without using profanity. Or Google. Just think how hard it would be for you to not use Google to look something up, like checking out whether or not Recruit’s car really is a Lambo Countach? These things take time, and slowly but surely YES: Recruit is learning.
He’s already learned to understand the “language” in which Nino speaks. And no I don’t mean Venusian; I mean “girl”. Not that all girls are complicated, but I do so happen to know one girl (ahem) who insists that people ask her THREE TIMES if something’s wrong. Why? Because upon being asked once, she will undoubtedly deny that anything is wrong (even if something is wrong). A second time will also be denied. Only when she’s asked a third time will she actually reveal that something is wrong. If you ask her three times and she says nothing’s wrong all three times – and there is something wrong, then it’s her fault. But if you fail to ask at least three times and there’s something wrong, then it’s your fault. True story. In a similar fashion, when Nino doesn’t want to discuss something or wants to say no – but doesn’t want to say it – she brings up Venus or being Venusian. Recruit realizes this, adapts accordingly, and takes one step further into Nino’s life.
For the first half of the episode (or so), Nino is actually a side character, a topic of discussion. Star Head pseudo-confronts Recruit in the confessional, taking issue with the fact that he’d seen Nino leaving Recruit’s Vacation House one morning. Assuming they’d done “this and that” together, Star Head brings Sister in to act as a human lie detector so Recruit can’t lie his way out of the accusations. Now I’m not sure if Sister can actually detect lies or if it’s just that people would be too scared to lie to him. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. The whole ordeal is just funny. Star Head gets so worked up and Recruit does his best to tolerate the situation. Of course it’s just a miscommunication and in the end they’re both aggravating the other deliberately. If it weren’t for Sister and his gun, who knows what would have happened between Star Head and Recruit.
I love that Nino put on the dress at the end of the episode. (And yes a dress like that could take twenty minutes to put on alone, esp if the zipper is in the back.) For me, it shows that while a lot of their relationship is Recruit learning to adjust to Nino and her life Under the Bridge, she’s willing to compromise as well and adjust to him. She could have easily said she didn’t want to put on the dress or even pretended not to know how to wear a dress properly (much like how Recruit imagined), but she doesn’t. She wears it. In the opening monologue where Recruit talks about the distance between people, and how despite the billions of people there are on this planet, loneliness still exists. That is, until you find that one person where there is no distance between them. Well it’s not just Recruit lessening the distance between Nino and himself; she’s moving closer to him too. It would be wrong to think that in their relationship, Recruit is the active one while Nino is passively waiting for Recruit to connect with her. From asking him to be her lover, to washing his hair, and now wearing his dress, Nino takes her own steps in being a real lover to Recruit.
In Scamp’s review, he briefly discusses Nino’s appeal. While I couldn’t quite figure out a way to work it into my own review, it did make me think and I wanted to share my thoughts. Sure Nino isn’t the most well-illustrated girl in the world of anime, but that’s not to say that there aren’t times when she is drawn attractively. And if I may:
I believe Nino is the girl next door – the real girl next door; not your Smallville Lana Lang (aka Kristen Kreuk) girl next door. I mean the girl you grew up with and went to school with and played with on the weekend; the girl who was almost like a boy to you. The girl you got along with but never tried to understand and certainly never found particularly attractive. It’s not until you’re forced to go with her to the school dance or on a date that you realize how comfortable you feel with her and how much you enjoy her company. Then you realize that throughout your friendship/relationship, you’ve caught glimpses of just how pretty she is, and finally you realize that you are in fact attracted to her. That’s Nino. And the few pretty glimpses we do get of her are to reinforce through visualization how we feel about her.
I think Recruit’s still getting used to her – just as some of the watchers of Arakawa are, but for me, I haven’t found her difficult to understand (except for the first episode where I really wasn’t sure if she was Venusian or not) and as a result of that, I’ve really fallen for Nino.