Senpai recognizes Nagatoro’s judo stance when she poses for him. Nagatoro spars with Senpai at Gamou’s family gym.
Episode 8 — “Why Don’t You Try Bulking Up a Little, Paisen?”
I love the shift in dominance that ‘Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro’ started showing us between Senpai and Nagatoro. One aspect of a bully’s power over his target is recognizing insecurity and exploiting it. Earlier in Nagatoro and Senpai’s relationship, the tan-skinned bundle of sadistic energy would provoke a sign of weakness in Senpai. Then she would mercilessly pick at that vulnerability until circumstances backfired on her. That was always good for the audience because it saw sexy fanservice, a blushing Nagatoro, or a tender moment between the unlikely couple. But that started changing when Senpai went to the “Nagatoro Hausu.”
Miss Nagatoro has slowly laid the foundation of Nagatoro’s insecurities since the first episode of the first season. We always wondered, along with Senpai, why this supremely athletic girl hung out in the art club room. She should have joined a sports club, but she only volunteered as a substitute for the swimming club. That’s how Nagatoro got those sharp swimsuit tan lines! But we also knew she had martial arts training from her kicks and punches. It was easy to conclude that Nagatoro had quit martial arts before high school, but we didn’t know why. After we saw all her trophies and prizes at the Nagatoro home, our curiosity only grew. Plus, the way Nagatoro steers conversation topics away from her past, we know she has a deep-seated insecurity about organized martial arts activities. Fortunately for her, Senpai is not a bully. He won’t be toying with Miss Nagatoro.
The art club is running out of room for old canvas painting. Can they auction them off? Not likely. Oh, but one or two might sell for a high price. Jealous Nagatoro wants them gone!
Fun! Miss Nagatoro lets us have another sketching scene with Nagatoro as Senpai’s model. Senpai feels uninspired about drawing still lifes. There’s a live body with long tan legs right here! I wonder if Senpai will ever be savvy enough to purposefully provoke Nagatoro into posing for him. She knows how to press his buttons, but Nagatoro also has easily accessible knobs to turn. Turn those knobs, Senpai! Yes, Nagatoro likes being his model. Aw. Senpai still holds the bridge of his glasses when he’s nervous, even when they’re not there. The teasing flirting is too much! Just date already! Nagatoro’s knobs — successfully turned.
Now, what pose shall Nagatoro hold for Senpai? Ahaha! The hypothetical married couple of Senpai and Nagatoro happens in every other episode. Miss Nagatoro gives men handy advice about answering women’s questions — keep your preferences ready! Nagatoro shows off the martial arts that she’s dabbled in. Muay Thai, boxing, obscure movie references, capoeira, and judo. But which one is she an expert in? Senpai liked that last one. Hoh. Nagatoro is reluctant to hold a judo pose. Let’s file that datum away for later. Senpai considers her stance to be “the most natural.” And those two are making blushing googly eyes at each other again. Stop flirting and date already!
Senpai got used to staring at Nagatoro. I see no vague, blurry parts on his sketch anymore. Nagatoro approves! Wow. She does not want Senpai to figure out which martial art she used to practice. Yes, yes. It’s a flirty paradise inside the art club room. Gamou recognized Nagatoro’s stance. Dramatic character development! Nagatoro ran away from her past.
Hey, “Nao-kun’s” buddies. Stop jeering at his judo skills! Their school has a lot of extracurricular activities — a school marathon, a skiing trip, and now a judo tournament. Oh no! Nagatoro watched Senpai’s embarrassing display. Who’s the creepy stalker of Miss Nagatoro now? Ah. The evidence has piled up on Nagatoro trying to keep away from judo. I love how Gamou and Yosshii consider Senpai a “Nagatoro Friends” group member. If Senpai wants answers about Nagatoro and judo, he should go to Gamou’s MMA (mixed martial arts) gym.
So many puzzle pieces about the gal group are falling into place. They’re fit, violent, and have self-confidence without joining sports clubs. Gamou’s invitation is the episode title. Maximum selling point — Nagatoro is on the flyer! The caption under her picture, (あなたのなりたいを叶える, anata no naritai wo kanaeru — Realize your aspirations), is a callback to Senpai’s love fortune. It’s time to act! The eye-catchers show Nagatoro and Gamou wearing different alien-themed trainer jackets.
And Senpai regained his stalker badge. He had help from his second-best pair of friends in Miss Nagatoro. I’m sure there’s a nugget of sadism in Gamou for keeping Senpai in Nagatoro’s attention — the tanned girl squirms so much when she’s trying not to admit her feelings — but Gamou also shows genuine care for her friend. That includes Senpai. Gamou vs. Nagatoro. Who ya got? Blammo! There’s Gamou’s sadism-packed-with-care knuckle sandwich! Ha! Nagatoro knows Gamou’s game! I am stunned. Senpai says he entered the school judo tournament last year. The image that he was a complete pathetic loner loser was all in Nagatoro’s head. It makes sense that she’s slowly getting to know him. How can Nagatoro refuse that earnest face? She has a price, however — no pathetic defeats!
Nagatoro has accepted the judo challenge. Turn a mousy bushy-haired nerd into a tigerish, uh, er, bushy-haired nerd for the limited purposes of a judo tournament. Coed judo is tailor-made for the “lucky sukebe,” so Nagatoro had better watch out. Senpai looked down inside her jacket! Instant defeat! It’s not over yet! Is Senpai in heaven or hell? Nagatoro looks like she’s about to hyperventilate. Ack! Mortal sin. Senpai called Nagatoro “heavy” instead of “strong.” Har. She tried to get him to confess her chest distracted him. Miss Nagatoro found another way to get Nagatoro’s antics to backfire.
Gamou went back to sparring with Nagatoro. Judo can match well against Muay Thai, but the point system doesn’t favor judo’s throws in MMA. Finally, Senpai brought up the thorny issue of judo and Nagatoro’s past. She looks sad that she gave it up because she couldn’t beat certain people. Since she felt that she wasn’t improving, she abandoned judo. Senpai, the artist, found beauty in Nagatoro’s judo. Is that enough motivation to get her back into it?
Epilogue time for Miss Nagatoro. I saw big boobs in a judo gi in the preview for this episode, but they didn’t belong to Gamou. Let’s see the president! Nagatoro isn’t the only one who wants to see Senpai do well in the judo tournament. The president’s training session is an excuse to pin Senpai down! Hahaha! The Nagatoro Friends told the president about Senpai’s judo ambitions! Those girls keep an exquisite balance between teasing friends and psychological torture. The president’s cleavage will be a heavier burden for Senpai to bear. Instant defeat again! Paper may beat rock, but oppai beats pettanko. Nagatoro’s cat-ear levels are above 9000! Gamou gave her another push to return to judo. And who is this miniature version of the president? I know where we can find out.
Next time, Miss Nagatoro turns into a sports club comedy instead of an art club and chill comedy.