This week it’s time to meet someone from Rikuo’s past who will stir up a bit of drama for our main cast. And despite an act of kindness being turned into one big misunderstanding, I think this was an intriguing episode. Last week I felt a little weird with Minato showing up because I was worried that our convoluted love scheme was going to get even more crazy, but really it just served as a way for Rikuo to acknowledge that while he’s not currently interested in dating Haru, he does feel jealousy when she’s around another man. So, even though Minato was romantically interested in Haru, it isn’t as if he’s coming to steal her away, but rather that he wanted some closure. And so, this week Yuzuhara Chika fills that same role for Shinako (and a bit for Haru, but Haru’s upfront with her feelings so it wasn’t as significant for her development as it was for Shinako.
From the moment Chika was introduced, I was pretty sure that she wasn’t going to try and insert herself back into Rikuo’s life and that was definitely a part of her character that I really liked. Yeah, she did date Rikuo back in High School, but there was no reason for her to just show up to try and take him back. it could have easily been a “well, after I’ve dated a few more guys, I realized he was a good one, so I want him back”, but instead she just served as a catalyst for a classic misunderstanding. I was a little worried early on when Kinoshita mentioned that every group that she had been involved with had drama and disbanded followed by Rikuo acknowledging that the practically created a victim society, but as the episode played out it was clear that she was never one who wanted to get in the way of relationships instead it just happened by nature of her personality.
Even when both Shinako and Haru show up to check on Rikuo, they are the ones who ultimately misunderstand the situation whereas Chika just tells them the truth that she is a freeloader. I mean, from the perspective of Haru and Shinako, there’s an unknown woman in his apartment, who knew Rikuo was such a player? I knew Haru wouldn’t take the situation very well because she’s been open about her frustrations with him before, but like Minato in the previous episode, having Shinako experience jealousy by seeing Chika was an interesting way to develop their relationship. However! I do thoroughly appreciate that both Rikuo and Chika try to resolve the misunderstandings! Rikuo could have definitely done a better job of telling Haru about the situation, but at least Chika was able to set things straight with Shinako. There’s still tension, but that tension will most likely propel some relationships forward.
I also just really liked the type of character that Chika was. She came to Rikuo specifically because she knew he didn’t have a girlfriend presumably so she wouldn’t stir up drama between them (oh but the joke is on her because there is not just one love interest but TWO!). I also liked that she was able to talk about the relationship between herself and her parents as she was going through this “rebellious” phase. She’s right around the age of Rikuo and Shinako, who are both living on their own, but she practically had to force herself out of her parent’s house (wow! a 7pm curfew?), and yet she’s able to find work because of the skill her overbearing parents had her learn. It makes me kind of bummed that we probably won’t see a lot of her going forward, but I did enjoy what she was able to add to the story.
I’m excited to see what next week’s episode will bring to the table! Will we meet another character from our cast’s “yesterday”? Or will someone come to realize their feelings and attempt to romantically pursue their person of affection? I have no idea, but for a slice of life anime it has certainly been keeping me on my toes!