Sakurai Expresses Her True Feelings on Valentine's Day

WARNING: the following contains spoilers for My Senpai is Annoying Episode 5, "Valentine Symphony," now streaming on Funimation.

Futaba Igarashi, as a classic tsundere character, struggles to express her blossoming feelings for her senior co-worker, Harumi Takeda, and Futaba's friend Toko Sakurai sometimes teases her for it. Sakurai feels comfortable and secure with her own personal life, but then she and Sota Kazama grapple with Valentine's Day hijinks in the office.

Sakurai is comfortable with her appearance, her popularity, and her competence at work, and she is generous enough to share platonic chocolate with everyone in the office this year. When it comes to Kazama, however, Sakurai's budding love life faces its first major hurdle. Kazama can't express himself any better than Futaba can.

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Late last year, at Christmas time, Futaba found the courage to give Takeda a new tie as a personal gift, and she patted herself on the back for taking that step. Now it's time for another love-oriented holiday, and Futaba and Toko Sakurai feel differently about the upcoming Valentine's day. As usual, everyone teases Futaba about the idea of her giving personal chocolate to Takeda, and Sakurai wrongly thinks that this year's Valentine's Day will go smoothly for her, too. She and Kazama's communication skills are both put to the test when a misunderstanding takes root.

Futaba and Takeda both meet Yuto Sakurai, Toko's kid brother, and they get a positive impression of him. Later, Kazama spots Yuto in the distance, walking down the sidewalk with his older sister. Kazama, who shyly nurses a crush on Toko Sakurai, mistakes Yuto for Toko's boyfriend or lover and feels devastated. He falls into a funk, trudging his way absent-mindedly through his day, trying to come to grips with what he saw. Sakurai and the others cannot determine what has Kazama so down in the dumps. Finally, Toko Sakurai and Kazama come face to face in an empty stairwell.

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Toko Sakurai hands over an ordinary chocolate bar as a personal gift to Kazama, but the latter mistakes it for a platonic, obligatory Valentine's Day treat. He demonstrates low self-esteem in this scene, unwilling to even entertain the possibility that Toko Sakurai would give him a personal gift like that. He also seems dense, unable to recognize the youthful Yuto as Toko's teenaged brother rather than a grown man who might be her love interest. Kazama dejectedly accepts the chocolate, his mood darker than ever, and then Sakurai voices her objection.

Toko suggests that Kazuma is being shallow, with him telling obligatory and romantic chocolate apart by price and brand name, and Toko insists that her humble gift is perfectly romantic, even if it's not homemade or expensive brand-name candy. Sakurai is almost moved to tears, distraught that Kazama failed to recognize the romantic gesture for what it was. Then, Kazama finally voices his fears and mentions the "other man" Toko had been seen walking with. Toko cheers up at once and explains who Yuto is, and finally, the two of them clear up the misunderstanding and enjoy Valentine's Day together. Kazama can now feel confident about Toko's interest in him and appreciate the true meaning of the gift.

This scene makes it clear that Sakurai is a highly sentimental and slightly sensitive person, especially in light of her classmates being envious of her popularity back in high school, and Kazama's benign cluelessness is one of his biggest obstacles, aside from his clear lack of initiative and self-confidence. Both characters have some growing up to do in their budding love life, but they both mean well, and they can handle misunderstandings and conflict with dignity and maturity. This bodes well for their awkward but genuine romance in the near future.

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Louis Kemner (3236 Articles Published)

Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he's a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor's in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He's always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read. You can reach him at [email protected]

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