Kimi wa dare to kissu wo suru? I expect this to be the next Sea Slugs poll.
Having accomplished so much in the first two episodes, this time the Rihoko arc took it easy and wrapped up almost all the sidestories going on and got everything ready for the conclusion next week. There was also a bit of movement on the main relationship front, nudging it slowly forward in preparation for the finale. While not as eventful as last week, if this is the low point of the arc then things are in great shape. With the Founders‘ Festival over, everyone has
received their supply of ketracel white begun to clean up and prepare for the new year, including the tea ceremony club as it plans for ways to recruit new members. New Year celebrations are also in order, giving Rihoko a perfect chance to redeem Junichi’s promise of a present. All in all good, if fairly low-key, setup. Though the show being a bit heavy (pun intended) on the eating and weight jokes regarding Rihoko did bring the episode down a bit.
Recipe: Episode 19 – Succession
1 promise of “anything” as a belated Christmas present
Far too many eating/weight jokes
3 resolutions or near-resolutions to sidestories
4 servings of hot drinks with snacks
1 box childhood-friend-can-cook
1 two-person unexpected song and dance routine
2 hints about future developments (1 within arc, one outside)
1 moment of mild jealousy
brief Miyaservice and manservice to taste
Introduce the sidestory resolutions throughout the episode, being sure to include nearly all the other main arc characters. Each of these should be accompanied by food or the recipes thereof. Stir in a moment about Ayatsuji Tsukasa to prepare for later. Add far too many eating and weight jokes throughout, so as to drag down the episode a bit. Continue on and make the best of it by redeeming Junichi’s promise of anything as a gift at an appropriate time, just after the Kaoru jealousy moment begins to boil. Set aside for a few hours. Once cooled, add the reveal of a childhood friend being a good cook, for a classic taste. At this point add the last hot beverages and snacks and simmer until midnight approaches. This will be when to watch the unexpected song and dance (eyeball it, we couldn’t give you an exact recipe if its supposed to be out of nowhere), proceed to DDDAAAAWWW. Just as this begins to melt into the plot, add the second hint of future developments on top. The dish should begin to have elements of a possible timeskip IDOL END to it. Serve on a bed of shrine visit and fortunes.
Taste Test and Review
The torch now passes to a new head of the School of the Undefeated Oden of the East.
Haruka! How dare you walk in on their impending yuri moment? “Senpai!” “Ai-chan!” “Senpai!”
Throughout the episode there are little moments that bring to an end some of the sidestories that have been going on in this arc (and even on the sidelines of other arcs for some.) Ai is entrusted by Hibiki with the secret book of oden recipes now that she’s proven herself a worth heir to the secret techniques. And they had what my yuri-goggles could only interpret as an intimate moment before Haruka burst into the locker room since she can’t be left out of anything. Even so, this may be the first arc where Haruka hasn’t upstaged the main girl in her own arc. There’s also a little cake and tea party with Miya, Sae, and Ai. Not so much a resolution, per se, but it does give a sense of “and life went on” for their shared friendship. Tsukasa and Takahashi-sensei even get a bit part, reinforcing people’s perceptions of the former being a perfect and organized leader, no doubt to set up that outside facade for whatever may be going on beneath the surface next arc. (So, should we start taking bets? Is she going to be a cutthroat perfectionist like Miyazawa Yukino? Secretly cutting and sharp-tongued with herself and those close to her? Or perhaps overprotective and possessive like we had possible hints of in the Ai arc? Perfectionist, bitchy, or borderline-yandere? Place your bets now!) Finally, the tea ceremony club’s conditioning is starting to get to Junichi. They’ve always given him tea or snacks or encouragement when talking about joining the club, and now he’s even learning how to make tea like a pro at home. On his own time. Have a chocolate.
Hey look, it’s my two favorite people!
The cute couple sits down for a pleasant holiday meal. Totally a Sae X Hiro relationship, just with a less serious short haircut character.
Good and Poor Choices
Perhaps not triangular, but the hint of it was nice.
I suppose the arc format doesn’t permit a love triangle due to the time constraints, at least unless the triangle were to be introduced right at the start of the first episode. But here at least there’s a moment of jealousy from Rihoko when Junichi is chatting so casually with Kaoru. Call it the Battle of the Friends, between childhood friend and female bro. Actually, that’s the sort of love triangle I’d love to see if there were more episodes per arc, or perhaps in another series. Shortlived as it was, it still helped push things forward and gave Rihoko another form of motivation, even if Kaoru may not develop feelings for Junichi in this arc. Rihoko invited Junichi to the restaurant and then didn’t order anything, only to be tempted by Junichi into having some cake. This running bit was a problem this episode, as we already get that Rihoko is concerned about her weight but get beaten over the head with the idea anyway. It was a glaring mistake in this episode, as at least in previous ones it was kept in check to the point where it didn’t really come off as mean towards her. I’ll be glad to be rid of it, as the finale next time ought not to have time for such pointless (not to mention not funny) jabs.
This is about as kinky as this arc should get. Hopefully this was the ‘unconventional kiss’ moment.
As implausible as it was, it would have been cute if not for the “heavy” comment by Junichi.
At least she’s trying.
Miyaservice, manservice, and ‘my dating sim male lead can’t be this reasonable.’
That is the correct answer!
Definitely some Miyaservice for the 2444 fans (credit to Nazarielle for that number pun), as well as momentary manservice as Junichi walked out into the hallway in naught but a towel, which proceeded to fall off in front of Miya and Rihoko. Their reactions were great, though Junichi must be really comfortable around Rihoko to not even flinch walking out in front of her like that until the towel fell. There’s also the phone conversation with Umehara during this scene, with the most believable older brother response seen in some time. No stuttering, no embarrassment, just straight shutting down of Umehara.
…and pimping my DVD/BD arc! (Though as much fun as a Miya arc will be, I’d rather a Takahashi-sensei one :3 )
Apparently Umehara only approves of taking 2D girls out on dates.
Two great reactions for the price of one (fallen towel.)
Listen to our song!
I demand a Kannagi-style karaoke episode!
Having Rihoko, Junichi, and Miya sit around before their plans to go to the shrine at midnight on New Year’s Eve wouldn’t sound all that interesting, but after the two girls watched TV and started lalala-ing the second OP song and doing a coordinated dance, it became great fun. The coordination and the fun they were obviously having were impressive, and I think the writers might have planted the seed of some sort of IDOL END for Rihoko. Which could make sense, especially in a not-so-ugly duckling sort of way where she exceeds everyone’s expectations in both looks and her humble demeanor. But even if that bit of speculation goes nowhere, it was at least a lot of fun to watch.
People say she’s a bit thickheaded, but she already knows better than Minmay did. Starting along an idol’s career before a relationship is secured will only lead to isolation, anguish, and a place for someone like Misa, blessed be her name, to come in and take Junichi from her.