As Benio continues to enact her reign of terror upon Mashiro and the world, we are introduced to episode 3 of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei. Whilst perhaps not as ‘good‘ as the previous two episodes, episode 3 stands, in its own right, as a ‘good‘ episode. Whilst episodes 1 and 2 were more about familiarizing the viewer with the characters and their personas (Benio the pervert, Hakuya the ultimate manly man, etc.), episode 3 aims to delve ‘deeper‘ (whatever that means in a slice-of-life romcom) into the characters and their relationships…whilst also retaining that level of quality humor that keeps us giggling throughout. 

“Anything you make is delicious, Kobeni” – Hakuya…take notes lads, this is how you get the ladies. Seriously though, Hakuya you smooth bastard! It should be evident to everyone watching now that Hakuya is not the easiest guy to decipher, Kobeni herself admitting this in the episode. But there’s a certain level of complexity to Hakuya that, I feel, we’ve yet to see the full extent of yet. I also feel as though this is what keeps Kobeni’s and Hakuya’s relationship interesting, this ambiguity surrounding their feelings keeping the viewer on their toes the whole time (and also laughing as Hakuya delves into a crowd of frugal women to get his woman the goods). As they stand now, Kobeni can’t talk to Hakuya, namely because she doesn’t know what to talk to him about, and this ‘blank slate’ of sorts allows for their relationship to grow organically, despite their slate not actually being so blank and Kobenia seemingly having forgotten Hakuya’s manly antics…but I’ll get back to that later.

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei Episode 3 Image 0022

Benio continued to sparkle and outshine in episode 3, taking her sleaze to a whole new level in pseudo privacy. Kobeni, on the other hand, sucked at sports, whilst still carrying around the nuclear warheads that weight upon her chest. Benio’s celebrity shall surely be a plot device used later on but for now it’s still simply an undertone used to highlight Kobeni’s feelings on inequality! They mention it every episode, and yet there has, so far, been no pay-off. It’ll come, I know, but still… Benio is the kind of weirdo who finds a loli’s underwear, screams about it at the top of her lungs, and then browses what is basically kiddy-porn in her bedroom! That girl… Still though, it was nice to see her and Mashiro bonding, whether it be for eight and a half minutes or ten.

On a side note…we got to see Mashiro dancing in-front of the TV! I’m sorry, but that was the cutest ten seconds of my entire life…she’s just…she’s just so adorable, you know? Uh, I can’t take it – Benio, I’m joining the dark side!

And back to reality. The scones! They were finally made and Hakuya ate them, despite his intolerance of sweet things. What a man. That aside, Hakuya and Mashiro received a letter from home that, whilst not in any way foreboding, bodes the question…just what was their home-life like? On a superficial level, Hakuya and Mashiro are two country bumpkins trying to fit into a contemporary Japanese society – sweets and all. Hakuya and Mashiro (despite her age) are so much more mature than they should be for their age, people actually finding themselves unable to throw a ball in Hakuya’s direction because his ‘aura’ is just that off-putting. Watching Kobeni and Hakuya trying to interact with one another, and seeing Hakuya give gifts to those who he has deemed worthy because of their position, is interesting not only because it’s a subtle form of character building, but also because it allows for the viewer to gain a key insight into how their minds work. Hopefully Hakuya will begin to open up more as the series goes on and maybe Kobeni will learn to speak up for herself more often? These scones are just the beginning of a beautiful relationship; mere juxtaposition of old and contemporary Japan.

Finally, the truth about Hakuya and Kobeni’s past has finally been revealed, and it’s about what we all expected. After falling down a hill and severely injuring herself, Kobeni is then rescued by the selfless Hakuya who in turn injures himself. I’m sure they’ll delve into it deeper in episode 4 but, honestly, the end of the episode was much darker than I thought it would be. “I’m the worst”? My God, Kobeni, I’m sure Hakuya will understand, just talk to the guy. The events of the past now set a precedent for future relationship building and I personally cannot wait to see them bond!

– Chris.