I thought this week’s episode was really charming! Stressful, but still charming. In terms of romance, it really seems like things are picking up and I’m excited for things to get moving. This week we finish out Christmas Eve and jump all the way over to New Year’s Eve and despite the “drama” that came up along the way, I thought this episode was really cute – I’m happy that we got to see (mostly) everyone enjoy their holidays.
We start off the episode finishing out the Christmas party that Rikuo was invited to and Shinako made her grand late appearance. What I enjoyed most about their entire time at the party was that both of them weren’t so uncomfortably nervous around each other as they usually are – in fact they both generally seemed to enjoy the party and had a great time (shout out to their mutual friend and his wife for letting them have a good time). It’s nice to see that the two of them can still get a long in a friendly manner despite everything that’s going on. Even at the end of the party, when Rikuo walks Shinako home and gives her the necklace, that was originally given to him by his dumped co-worker, and technically re gifted from his friend’s wife the two of them don’t leave the interaction without much happening. In fact, Shinako is the one who finally commits and asks him to spend New Year’s Eve together and that’s honestly a victory for the both of them. They’re finally getting somewhere.
But despite this invitation, Rikuo still seems conflicted over the whole thing. While he didn’t directly say it, I have a feeling he thinks he should be happier over the invitation to spend the holiday with his college crush… but so much has happened since he’s confessed to her. And to make matters more confusing, he finds Haru, cold on his doorstep. I definitely think her night got better once he invited her into his home and gave her a warm drink. She’s finally gotten the chance to see him again and make it known that she wants to see him. But… at the same time Rikuo hasn’t made the active effort to see her in fact he previously told her that she didn’t need to go out of the way to see him. If anything, I think he believes that if they stop interacting, he won’t have to worry about developing feelings to her. But it’s hard when she keeps showing up at random causing him to re-evaluate everything all over again.
Still, New Year’s Eve rolls around, and it seems like everyone has a pretty good night. Despite not talking to each other since the Christmas Party, Shinako and Rikuo finally manage to talk to each other and meet up at a bar to have a good time together. When the two are out in public together they’re definitely more comfortable and more in that good friend state and I think both of them are pretty happy to be there. But then, once Shinako invites him into her apartment, everything becomes understandably uncomfortable. Shinako hasn’t been in a relationship before and is still weighed down by her past. Rikuo has been in a relationship before, but there’s something different about being alone with the person you’ve been pining after for years. They’ve both reached a decision-making point of, do we stop it here? And still maintain friendship? Or do we move forward? I think… the two of them opted to move forward, albeit very slowly, so I’m interested to see how the two of them interact in the coming episodes.
If I’m honest, I’m more interested in seeing who the phone call was from at the end of the episode. Given the context, supposedly something has happened to Haru, and if that’s the case I’m stressed about it! But all in all, while they did give us a solid cliff hanger, this episode was enjoyable and I’m excited to see how the next few episodes will play out.