"So near but yet so far" could pretty much have summed up the climax to the previous episode of Kimi ni Todoke, but after teasing us with the near-kiss moment this eighteenth instalment of the series takes a rather different approach.
After having spent so much time focusing on the budding yet rather naive relationship between Sawako and Kazehaya, it's been easy to forget the trials and tribulations of some of the other major characters when it comes to love, and it's these goings-on which occupy the lion's share of this particular episode.
In sharp contrast to Sawako's blossoming feelings, Yano's relationship with a college student has long since passed that point, to where it's now reached the inevitable time where she's fed up of the guy. While this particular scenario only gets some brief moments of exposure during the episode, it's a stark contrast to all the idealised love and happiness floating around in Sawako's head, and serves as a much-needed anchor for the show's romantic leanings as a whole.
Yano's problems are pushed into relief however as Sawako concerns herself more with the relationship between Chizuru and Ryuu - Of course, Sawako already knows the latter's feelings towards Yoshida, but as the episode progresses she soon begins to learn that the relationship between this particular pair is far, far more complicated than she could possibly have imagined, and it appears as though things are only going to become trickier still next time around as Ryuu fails to find an opportunity to tell Chizuru something important.
While Yano and Yoshida's relationships simply aren't as interesting or unique as Sawako's for various (and mostly obvious) reasons, getting to spend some more time watching and analysing the pair of them, and Chizuru in particular, was actually quite refreshing; if nothing else, it goes to show how likeable these characters are as an important part of Kimi ni Todoke's cast. I can't pretend to get as excited about Yoshida's uncomfortable love triangle as the one between Sawako, Kurumi and Kazehaya, yet I still want to see it through to its conclusion, which I suppose is proof enough that this story arc is working on a fundamental level. If you're dying for more progress between the two lead characters this episode might prove to be a frustrating one, but personally I don't mind too much.