“You should go back to school.”
That went well. It turned out a lot better than I expected. In fact, with the opening scene featuring a suicidal shut-in classmate I was bracing myself for more Haruta barging insufferably into other people’s houses and telling them how they should live their lives. It’d have been even more of a delicate thing than the death of a sibling, and I was sure Haruta would have said something stupid and it could have gotten bad. I thought she might have even made a cult out of her group of ex-hikikomoris. Luckily, it didn’t happen – and it was so unrelated to Aso Misato being suicidal that I was actually confused as to why they even included that scene at all. It clearly happened some time in the past, and by the time of this episode’s setting she’d clearly recovered, found something she was interested in and had better mental health in general. Was it a scene designed to just introduce the radio counselling service? If so, it (and pretty much the entire first half of the episode) set up a massive red herring, because Aso wasn’t really the focal character in the end.
I had no idea that the drummer was Kaiyu! He’s been in the OP for ages now, and he sure didn’t seem like a hikikomori from how upbeat he looked at the train station. I also had no idea how Haruta came to the conclusions he did. I understand that he did some research on the guy and on the people Aso visited – and I accept that he could have easily linked the Kaiyu name to the radio show host. But how do you make the jump from that… to deducing that he ran an unregistered nursing home? I don’t get it at all. How could he have known that he was sheltering a group of elderly people in his annex? It’s not even trivia from random disciplines any more, I can’t comprehend how he could possibly have realized what Kaiyu was up to short of actually sneaking onto his property and finding the annex with everyone inside before skulking away. You know, because it’s Haruta I actually don’t doubt that he would have done that. I bet he brought his fucking travel chopsticks too, just in case someone there decided to feed him instead of kicking him out for trespassing.
Chika has once again managed to be super cute. I love how she went from plastering ‘Go for it! Top 20!’ on a motivational piece of paper only to grimace at it and change it to ‘Go for it! Average scores in every subject!’ after realizing it was a gentler path. The way Akari suddenly kicked the SCP, then ran and hid was also hilarious. Her importance as a support character is easily below that of Maren and Narushima (on a similar level to the twins, actually) but when she does do stuff it’s pretty funny. She’d make a great mascot character.