At the end of last week’s episode, it looked like Shinako and Rikuo were finally starting to get some progress in as she invited him into her apartment. And well… that didn’t quite play out like a lot of us thought it would. In fact, that was shot down early in the episode. But we did get some development as the two of them have to figure out their feelings and decide how to act on them. It wasn’t what I expected, but I’m not unhappy with how this episode played out.
I thoroughly appreciated Shinako’s co-worker and Rikuo’s old classmate commenting on the situation. As much as I’m a fan of the two of them just talking it out and realizing their feelings, that’s just not how both of them work. Rikuo’s too indecisive and even if he’s “decided” on Shinako there’s still some decisiveness that is needed to pursue her. Just like Haru has decided on Rikuo, she’s really giving her all to make sure that Rikuo is aware of her. Shinako is also dealing with indecisiveness, but as a result of her inexperience with love (arguably Rikuo is also going through this too). I liked that her co-worker commented that Shinako can’t get over Yu-kun and has most likely romanticized the relationship in her memory. That’s a pretty important thing to come to understand especially since she’s trapped with those memories of Yu. Things aren’t going to be like they were, instead they’re going to be awkward and troublesome, but the longer you put it off the further away it will become to you. As much as I enjoy her character, Shinako is losing her chance with Rikuo.
I was originally going to talk about how one thing that stood out to me in this episode was that all the characters actively tried to separate themselves from each other. But when I think about it… it was primarily Rikuo and consequentially Shinako with Haru’s distance being a result of the two. Despite things looking up for Rikuo on the photography front, his personal relationships with the two is not really going anywhere. He’s making good connections with those at the photography studio and is even able to meet up with Kinoshita after they both quit their job. But he doesn’t talk to either Haru or Shinako. He doesn’t even tell them about his new situation, the two just have to figure it out on their own and put the pieces together. I can’t really fault Haru for not reaching out, because if I remember correctly, they two of them haven’t officially swapped numbers yet. So… Haru could reach him, but he can’t reach her and so far, he’s not aware that she has the number. Shinako though…. Communication is a two-way street and it’s hard (I’m absolutely terrible with communication) but I don’t really fault either of them for not wanting to talk after such an awkward encounter.
I liked Shinako and Haru’s conversation in front of the convenience store because it really kicks started some sense of urgency, or at least desire to move forward with Rikuo for Shinako. It eventually led her to his apartment where she calls Rikuo out on his indecisiveness (unfortunately omitting that Haru was the one that brought it up) and realizes that she also needs to make up her mind as well. Does she just want Rikuo to stay as a friend or will she take Haru’s declaration of love more seriously. But before a decision is made let’s visit Rou’s home. I’m interested to see how the interaction will play out next week especially after what we left those two on the previous week. I do hope the two of them can have a good conversation about their situation though. I hope it doesn’t lead to a misunderstanding that there is a chance between the two of them.
As for Haru and Rikuo, I’m glad that the two of them had a bit of a chance to talk, though it seemed kind of painful for the both of them. I really don’t think this was Rikuo’s way of friend zoning or turning her down. I genuinely think he said it as a way to protect her. Protect her from what exactly? I don’t really know, but part of me thinks that it would be disappointment if he didn’t show up. At this point he’s trying to keep distance, probably to keep a clear head. If he doesn’t see either of the girls, he doesn’t have to think about it and instead could focus more on photography.
It seems like everyone is slowly starting to understand their feelings, but it doesn’t seem like many of them want to accept them yet. But they really do need to talk to each other, or things will slowly start to crumble even more for them. I do hope that someone will speak up soon.