Subtitles for this episode of Pin to Kona (ぴんとこな) and the next one just became available, so here I am with this review. I will continue to review the series as subs are released.

We already know that Ayame (Kawashima Umika) has a talent for keeping Kyonosuke (Tamamori Yuta) from confessing by interrupting him and asking about Hiro/Ichiya (Nakayama Yuma). It’s a standard trope in these sorts of dramas, even though in real life it’s more natural to ask “what is it?” when someone is clearly hesitating about something. Seriously, though, the way Ayame interrupts him to ask about Hiro at the start of this episode makes her seem clueless beyond words.

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It’s a cruel twist of fate that Kyonosuke is smitten by a girl who literally only has eyes for one guy. Kyonosuke might as well be a puppy, since she’s never going to take his shows of affection as anything to become romantically attached to.

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Poor Kyonosuke – Ayame makes him so miserable!

Speaking of miserable, Ichiya is now Yuna (Yoshikura Aoi)’s sole property, but little does she know that her machinations have left her in debt to the downright evil Shohei (Matsumura Hokuto). And Shohei is not only making heavy demands in exchange for that debt, but he also seems to have some anger management issues.

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Kyonosuke despairs at being unable to confess, and the ever-helpful Shizu (Enami Kyoko) reassures him. With Kyonosuke looking so hapless and basically running in circles trying to impress Ayame, I think Shizu might be my favorite character in this series, with Kyonosuke’s father in second.

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Kyonosuke is invited to a kabuki-related event, and Shizu suggests that he should invite Ayame. Not again! He’s already tried the beach thing – are we going to have to go through this with every possible party?

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Kyonosuke has the presence of mind to check whether Ichiya will be attending the party, and Ichiya answers no because he’s not good in those kinds of situations.

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That is a pretty lame excuse, especially when appearing at the party might build him the connections he needs to climb further in the kabuki world. It’s just not reasonable that he’d pass this up, and if he was going to the writers should have given him a better excuse, so I conclude that he will show up at the party. They deliberately gave him the ‘I don’t feel like it’ excuse so that he could easily be compelled to go – possibly by Yuna’s father or Yuna.

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But Kyonosuke got the answer he wanted, and he’s back to being optimistic about his chances with Ayame. At this point I’d like to remind people of the popular adage/cliche that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It isn’t actually the definition of insanity – it’s just a pain to watch.

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Ayame says she wants to go, but again complains that she doesn’t have anything to wear. In this case, it’s understandable since it’s a fancy dress party, but the line comes off as stale and makes me roll my eyes because she’s said it so often before.

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She didn’t ask if Ichiya was going to the party, but that’s only because Kyonosuke beat her to it, saying that Ichiya wouldn’t be there (which probably guarantees that he will be there).

Yuna sneakily overhears the conversation between Kyonosuke and Ayame, and the music drops an ominous note when we see her.

But that’s nothing compared to the next scene, where Shohei tells Ichiya that Yuna slept at Shohei’s place – that is, the two of them slept with each other. I told you this guy had issues! Yuna just ignores one of his calls and he goes and does this!

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I’m surprised Ayame was left to fund her kimono (price tag: 25,200 yen/$252) herself and that Kyonosuke didn’t offer to help with that. He’s gotten her tickets to see the plays before and she didn’t complain, and I’m sure he had the money for this.

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Kyonosuke’s father (Kishitani Goro) is a bit surprised to hear that Kyonosuke has turned the party into a date, and warns his son to represent the family properly.

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But Kyonosuke’s father has problems of his own. It think I know where this is going.

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Ayame’s kabuki savings amount to 8081 yen, so she’s got a long way to go. She also gets a call in the middle of the night from a man who just says “Ayame” then hangs up. She thinks it’s her father (oh, dear, we’re going to start a subplot like that now? This far into the series?).

She tries to pretend that nothing’s wrong, but Kyonosuke gets her to tell him about her father.

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The fact that Ayame doesn’t resent her father even though he wracked up a huge debt and ran away – leaving her destitute and struggling for . . . well for clothes, clearly – should give Kyonosuke pause. After all, if she can have warm feelings toward her father after he does all that, will her stronger feelings for Ichiya ever die even if he does worse?

But Kyonosuke just sees Ayame as amazing. The reason he has a sour face is because he mentions that she let Ichiya go for Ichiya’s sake and she took it harshly. Clearly, she’s not over Ichiya.

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In fact, Ayame decides to arrange a meeting with Ichiya – ostensibly to return the phone he gave her, but we know better.

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And I’m getting real tired of the way Yuna always shows up so that Ichiya has to give an excuse and she gets to do her suspicious look. New rule: Yuna is limited to three suspicious looks per episode. That’s her penalty for getting caught in Shohei’s web and being completely hypocritical.

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Ayame chickens out – leaving the phone in a bag with a letter instead of meeting Ichiya face-to-face . . .

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. . . but she manages to do all the damage anyway because Yuna sees her walking past and sees Ichiya looking for her, so Yuna knows Ichiya was once again unfaithful. Though, you know, not quite as unfaithful as Yuna herself has been given that she’s actually slept with someone else.

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I’m going to start leaving out certain things – like what Ayame found when she returned home – because we’re getting into some juicy spoilers. I can say, though, that Yuna does insist that Ichiya should attend the kabuki party alongside her. It was bound to happen.

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Meanwhile, Ayame causes more unnecessary frustration for Kyonosuke by saying she can’t come to the party . . .

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. . . and does so with that infuriating smile of hers – the one she uses to avoid explaining herself properly. I swear, she seems to think that the smile saves her from giving a proper reason for the things she does. Even a halfway civil person has to say why they’re turning down an invitation they already accepted – how is it that she thinks she doesn’t need to?

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Since he got no answers from Ayame, Kyonosuke sought out the most likely reason for Ayame’s reversal – Ichiya. Of course, Ichiya didn’t have anything to do with it this time.

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Kyonosuke’s father gets some bad news . . .

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. . . but you can bet he’s not going to share the information unless compelled to.

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Fortunately, Kyonosuke finally finds out what was wrong with Ayame, and as expected, he quickly came up with the solution. If only Ayame took this as an indication that she should communicate more openly instead of smiling her way through things. Pin to Kona Ep 07 035Pin to Kona Ep 07 036

Kyonosuke is stunned by the result of his efforts:

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As for the party, you know there are going to be fireworks as both this couple . . .

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. . . and this couple . . .

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. . . show up.

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But to my surprise and dismay, there were other complications as well.

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I’m not going to give anything about the party away, though – you’re going to have to watch the episode to discover what happens!

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If it’s not already apparent, this episode bored me. The pacing was very slow, and I don’t think there was more than half an hour of material in it. At the same time, the limited material was uninteresting to me, though those who favor frustrating romantic melodramas might see things differently.

On the bright side, it was easy to review to episode and it gave me plenty to poke fun at. I guess . . . that’s a saving grace?

Yuna is a pain. I mean, I get nauseous every time she appears on screen now. There are hellspawn with more redeeming qualities (at least, in certain comic books). I hereby limit her to three devious/malicious smiles per episode, as well – you’ll see why.

Ayame is also a pain. and in some ways even worse because at least Yuna is interestingly evil. Ayame is banal – devoid of characteristic except a vacant smile, a lack of suitable clothing, and an inability to pick the right boyfriend for the duration of the drama.

Is there a good character to counterbalance these two? At this point, even Kyonosuke is tedious. I appreciate his positive attitude, and to be sure I would do better if I had more of that attitude myself, but where is the Ayame who had the energy to get angry at him about his performance in the first episode? The person he fell in love with isn’t here anymore, and the viewer no longer understands why he’s chasing after this pale reflection of that original Ayame.

By the way, there was no kabuki in this episode.