This episode mostly introduces Ren, Lala’s childhood friend who she used to always make fun of for being a crybaby. Ren goes on a journey of sorts to become more manly to win over Lala due to a “promise” that was made back when they were children.
I wasn’t really impressed with this episode really. Too much Ren and not enough Run. A lot of the jokes weren’t really that funny to me and while there were a bit of references in there, I didn’t really find it too interesting.
As Rito runs off to school, he passes by a girl dressed in a boy’s uniform. A fly lands under her nose which makes her sneeze and something mysterious happens to her. At school, the teacher introduces a new transfer student who happens to be Ren, Lala’s childhood friend. Ren immediately goes to Lala announcing that he will win her back from Rito with his manliness. However, Lala vaguely remembers who he is and is only reminded with the help of an old photograph of the two as children. Ren reveals that there was a promise made between himself and Lala (to some extent) that she would marry him if he became manly enough.
After trying to compete with Rito at being manly, Lala is still oblivious to Ren’s efforts. Ren goes to Rito seeking some advice and Rito basically tells him to stop competing with him. Ren goes off to find out what other girls consider manly and tries to take all their comments into account to impress Lala. Lala, however, still does not acknowledge him and simply states that he looks funny more than anything else. Ren then wanders through town depressed and stumbles upon a movie about a manly boxer (Rocky parody). He is deeply motivated by the movie and becomes a boxer himself to become more manly. When Lala goes to tell Ren that he’s manly enough, after Rito told her to get it over with, he turns her away saying that he won’t see her until he reaches his limits of being manly. After going through a bunch of trials he finally awaits for Lala to say that he’s manly. However, right before she is about to say those words, Ren sneezes (with the help of a fly) and transforms into Run, the girl from the beginning of the episode. Lala then goes to say that she can’t possibly call a girl manly.
Meh, pretty boring episode for me. It was nice to see Ren/Run finally, but like I said earlier, too much Ren and not enough Run. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really find heaps of “manliness” in my fanservice show too amusing. I commend the production for trying something different and changing the story, but so far I’ve been preferring the original manga over this. Though, I admit that it must be probably difficult to piece together enough material for one episode from the manga since the content is pretty random as it is. But hey, if Azumanga and Lucky Star can do it, then anything is possible.
I felt that they could’ve done better with this episode (if not the entire series so far). I realize that the theme of the episode was manliness, but they kind of overdid it seeing as this is a fanservice show anyways. There was a few fanservice shots here and there (some of them recycled from previous episodes), but it wasn’t really that impressive. I was expecting to see more of Ren/Run’s problems with the whole transformation thing happening at inappropriate moments. They did manage to squeeze it in at the end, but for even for an introduction episode, they could have had a little more of that. The kiss between Rito and Ren could have been done more cleverly or like it was in the manga with Run trying to kiss Rito and then transforming. Not that I enjoy watching near gay moments between two guys, but in comedy I’d laugh at almost anything.
Next episode introduces Kotegawa Yui (finally), who happens to be one of my favorite characters in the entire series. Hopefully, they won’t screw her up bad enough.