The following contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie Misfortune Followed by Sunshine now streaming on Crunchyroll. Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie is a rom-com anime series that stars the relationship goals characters Yuu Izumi and his popular girlfriend Shikimori who enjoy a strong and wholesome relationship right from the beginning. Fans may soon draw comparisons between them and Marin and Gojo of My Dress-Up Darling fame and for multiple reasons.
These co-stars have a similar interpersonal dynamic as Marin and Gojo before them and its not just because Shikimori is a lively cheerful young lady like Marin. Theres also Izumi who represents the version of masculinity that is all about gentle selfless strength rather than aggressive displays of power and authority. This may endear him to many fans as Episode 3s events show.
Episode 3 of Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie depicts Izumi and Shikimori on their first real date in the anime as they agree to go see a movie. Along the way Izumi prepares himself to deal with his own outrageous clumsiness since he wants to provide for Shikimori and impress her as her loyal boyfriend. He even ties a thick string to his wallet to avoid losing it and shows off how ready he is to watch horror movies then offers to buy fancy desserts for himself and Shikimori. Unfortunately for him most of these plans go amusingly wrong and by the episodes end Izumi feels inadequate as a boyfriend — but Shikimori feels differently.
As she explains to Izumis mother at the family household Shikimori admires her boyfriends selfless strength and courage and marvels at how he can work so hard to provide for everyone without asking for anything in return. Izumi has the gentle strength to face his own deficiencies to make others happy doggedly persisting despite being an accident-prone boy. Shikimori deeply admires his persistent ways to the point she might be the one who feels inadequate. She repays Izumi by defending him from danger as a heroic girlfriend but perhaps both of them could do a little more. They need to raise the stakes for future episodes to make Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie stand out.
shikimori izumi looking at pastries
Since Izumi and Shikimori get along so well the stakes of Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie have been fairly low thus far. Thats adequate for the first few episodes but soon the couple will need to explore their respective character arcs. While Shikimori could stand to have more flaws or insecurities to balance things out Izumi needs to emphasize his gentle masculinity even more and impress the viewers with it the same way he impresses his girlfriend.
As of Episode 3 Izumi is poised to be the next Miyamura Izumi (Horimiya) — who coincidentally shares his first name — or the next Gojo Wakana. These anime boys all represent the gentle wholesome side of masculinity which definitely appeals to the female gaze. But Izumi still needs to turn up the heat. Izumi proves that ideal masculinity is selfless compassionate and protective rather than vain and aggressive which is a welcome sight for many anime fans. That said he has done rather little to impress viewers so far and fans have to take Shikimoris word for it that Izumis strong spirit is so appealing. Future episodes of Shikimoris Not Just a Cutie need to have Izumi dominate the scene with a more substantial show of generosity and courage — such as standing up to bullies or taking on a difficult part-time job to financially support someone — or he may end up feeling like a weak and forgettable hero.
Hes got the kernel of female gaze-worthy humble masculinity but thats no excuse for him to just fall over and panic about things. Izumi could soon use a breakout scene that establishes him as someone gentle but strong or Shikimori will leave him far behind in the race to be the Spring 2022 seasons best character.