After last week’s episode, I must admit that I feel a little bit let down. Even though we were introduced to Chika and Minato in the past two episodes, neither of them have been acknowledged beyond their episode. I almost feel like the realization of feelings/jealousy that occurred are essentially for nothing. I guess it’s understandable to take this approach, they were minor characters used to build up investment and backstory for our main cast, but what impact did they have in the past that affects the future? The only character from the past that seems to make any impact is Yuu-kun because he poses such and emotional block for Shinako. Perhaps I’m a little too early to be sad about their dismissal and perhaps they’ll have a greater impact as the series continues.
But putting that aside, let’s see what our cast got themselves caught up in this week. Aside from the two scenes of her and Rikuo getting food together, Haru doesn’t make much of an appearance during this episode and instead we get to take a look at Rikuo, Shinako, and Rou’s struggles for the episode. Rikuo is finally making some progress on his goal of becoming a photographer. He starts his new job and begins to spend less and less time at the convenience store which is ultimately a step in a positive direction as he finally seems to have a direction in his adult life. After casually being asked to photograph his friend’s wedding he decides to ask a co-worker to borrow a camera for the event. I enjoyed this interaction between the two because it helps Rikuo slowly realize that in order to make something happen he has to move forward. In this particular instance, it’s regarding photography becoming more than a hobby. I like the question of “how long is a bit longer” because it really asks him to provide a goal. As a phrase a bit longer seems like a short amount of time, but really doesn’t have a solid end in place. And in this context, it really feels like he’s asking, “what will make you satisfied to pursue your dream?” and thinking of it that way, it hits pretty hard.
Next to Rikuo I think the other character that had a chance to shine this week was Rou. Rou honestly seems like the odd one out in the main four, because he only has connections to Shinako. Haru is just some girl who wears a maid outfit and Rikuo is just some guy who happens to be competition. Rou’s focus on this episode was him wanting to be seen as someone who is not a child, but it’s not that he wants to grow up quickly for everyone around, but instead that he wants to grow up for Shinako. He wants to be more than just child Rou by her. But no matter what he does, he’s still feels as if he’s treated like the little brother or compared to Yuu-kun, which is unfortunate. Honestly, I’m not too sure if he wants to be in a romantic relationship with Shinako, but instead I think he wants to just grow up so he can protect her from the things that make her sad. He definitely phrased his confession in a “I wanna be with you and protect you forever”, but it didn’t sit like that with me. But currently Rou is just a stressed-out teenager who has quite a bit of emotion. It’s a little bit frustrating when he lashes out, but I don’t dislike him as a character.
Lastly, there’s Shinako who is caught up in all of this. In the last episode she had to come to terms with her jealousy after seeing Chika in Rikuo’s apartment. But for the most part of this episode she seems to be the subject of Rou’s frustration. She’s stuck wanting to stay childhood friends, but that doesn’t seem to be working out anymore. And despite claiming that Rou is not his older brother, she can’t help but see Yuu-kun in all the physical aspects of Rou. Dealing with loss is really hard! Lots of things can make you remember what you lost, and it isn’t as if grief has an expiration date. Perhaps it isn’t as bad as it is in the springtime, but it’s not something that will just go away. Either way, I do think she should probably talk it out with Rou at some point so the two of them can come to an understanding, but I think Shinako also needs to figure out what she wants. And it seems what she wants is for Rikuo to be as pushy as Rou. Is this the chance for her confession? Well, we’re going to have to wait and see what happens next week. Will Rikuo take her up on her invitation? Or will Haru show up as the ending suggests?