Teasing Master Takagi-San 3
Nishikata finds his own feelings about Takagi slowly changing; while Takagi, for her part, can't stop teasing him- but is quietly wishing he'd catch on to what her REAL feelings are.
It's a shame that Netflix has not sold the rights to Season Two of this show for home video (say, to Sentai, perhaps?), but Netflix itself notes that Takagi-san 2 is one of their most rewatched shows, so I expect I know their rationale.
In any case, the last couple of episodes of Season Two- and especially the summer festival toward the end of it- marked a major turning point in the relationship between Nishikata and Takagi, important enough to have key moments from the festival be reprised in Nishikata's thoughts in Season 3. Those memories have been coloring Nishikata's thinking ever since, and those colors' hues grow much richer and deeper in Season 3. Yes, our boy is SLOWLY coming around. And more and more, Takagi's apparent smug self-assurance dissolves with any kind word or act of consideration from Nishikata, leaving her either paralyzed with emotion when caught off guard, or gushing with sentiment when she feels free to let it all out. You'll see both here. Yes, the settings, both in Season 2 and Season 3, are typical, even stereotypical, ones for romantic anime; and yes, when Takagi-san DOES melt, the results can be pretty gooey. But the schmaltz here really feels like a catharsis- and a long overdue return on Nishikata's investment of time with her; maybe despite the teasing it was worth it all along. The teasing will really NEVER stop for our poor boy (the manga author has apparently done some "future" stories with our pair), but the love behind it is becoming more evident all the time. There was one major story arc demonstrating this in S2; THIS time (S3), we get TWO such arcs. And THIS time, we'll also discover that Takagi can get jealous rather easily- and that she's not happy about that part of herself. Season 3 does wonders to show her vulnerability, and thus "humanize" her character.
The show DOES continue to be primarily a comedy, so there are some great NON-romantic moments as well. A segment in Episode 2, called "Presence", once again demonstrates the show's gift for dialogue-less storytelling. I think it may also explain how Takagi gets the better of Nishikata in some cases. Even the Trio has some moments I really liked; one is where they're trying to verify if a certain story about food is really true. (The Trio segments are beginning to resemble some other slice-of-life shows involving girl friends, so I'm adding some of those series to the Recs.) Sanae's older sister, who's a member of the school's staff, appears a few times; she's unnamed, but easily identifiable by having the same deadpan expression that Sanae does. I also spotted a brief visual reference to Urusei Yatsura- and I've never even SEEN that show.
One tradition in Takagi-san is for other couples (and sometimes the Trio) to repeat the same activity that Takagi and Nishikata do, but with different results. So a "Side Trip" up a VERY long staircase is sequentially taken by Takagi/Nishikata, the Trio, and the show's other two couples. I've never cared much for the Hamaguchi/Hojo pair; he (Hamaguchi) is too much of a doofus, while she (Hojo) is WAY too classic tsundere (to the point where I don't understand her indulging him with her time at all). But Nakai/Mano fascinates me, because I understand the dynamics there: Nakai is laid-back with her, but Nakai is equally laid-back with everyone, so Mano doesn't feel "special". A little forethought by Nakai here might have ALREADY saved the day even before it was in danger.
One minor complaint: the fairytale/Shakespeare mashup of the school play seems a little juvenile even for a middle school play (I've known some middle school students who've performed Shakespeare plays "straight"). But a fairytale ending might suit everyone here more than the Shakespearean ending the "playwright" intended. Improvisation is sometimes the very thing required to save the day. (And not just the DAY.)
Another minor complaint is with Sentai: they didn't provide any English translations of the song lyrics. As it has previously done, the show gives us several different closing songs (most of them performed by Takagi's VA, Rie Takahashi); my favorite was the perky "Over Drive", from the second and third episodes.
Since Takagi, as she herself admits at one point, usually lacks the "courage" to say what's REALLY on her mind, it's up to Nishikata to meet her more than halfway- in fact, he might have to go quite the distance, in the end. But our boy may turn out to be more impressive than we thought. I LOVE these two kids. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Blu-Ray rated TV 14. Except for the reference to a moment of Shakespearean tragedy, I can't imagine why. There's absolutely NO fanservice. We'll say Mature Situations to have SOMETHING to justify this rating...
Version(s) Viewed: Region 1 Blu-Ray
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Teasing Master Takagi-San 3 © 2022 Shin-Ei animation.
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