Nao-chan and Egashira friendship / big sister dynamic was not something I was expecting, but I am absolutely here for it! Another fantastic episode this week as things continue to unravel. Mitsumi and Shima finally go on their date with Mika and Nao trailing close behind, Yuzuki finally gets to have a sleepover with all of her friends, but it’s not complete without a little bit of drama. Looks like Shima has quite the past that’s haunting him, especially now that we’ve learned a little bit more about Ririka.
This episode starts off with Nao-chan helping Mitsumi choose an outfit for her “not-a-date” zoo outing with Shima. And before I even get into everything that happens, this anime is making me realize that I know nothing about fashion. I think all of Mitsumi’s outfits are cute and show off her personality! I simply don’t understand why she shouldn’t go out in her silly outfits. But, I’m glad that Nao-chan is the stylist because I would have simply given the country girl a thumbs up and let her out in the world. But, I can still trust Nao to send her out with a cute outfit no matter what the occasion. Mitusmi’s zoo outfit is perfect! And so is Shima’s with his panda sleeves.
I was fully expecting the zoo trip to just be a cute moment for Shima and Mitsumi to get some time together, but I was pleasantly surprised that a majority of the trip was actually focused on Egashira and Nao-chan. Both of them end up deciding that they want to make sure nothing “bad” happens during this friend outing, albeit for different reasons. Nao ends up taking along to make sure that Shima isn’t some city playboy who is just using Mitsumi only to eventually break her heart, whereas Mika… well, I don’t even think Mika knows why she decided to follow them on her day off. There’s something with Shima that she wants, but it seems like she’s trying to make it up with everyone who asks. Does she actually like Shima? Or does she like the status that comes from dating someone popular, kind, and nice? He fits that bill perfectly. But would she be happy with anyone? Despite all of her inner dialogue, she isn’t outright doing anything to get Shima interested in her. That aside, I absolutely adore that Nao and Mika tag team their stalking adventure and in the end, I think they both got some really good things out of the interactions. Nao is able to see what kind of person Shima is just by watching and hearing how Mika speaks about him. And while Mika might not acknowledge it, I think she gained an important figure in her life. (Or maybe I’m just really hoping that Nao-chan can be almost like a big sister to Mika). I mean, at the end of it all, they leave Shima and Mitsumi alone to go together to try a new dessert! My hope is that they started to follow each other on Pinsta afterwards.
Speaking of Nao-chan, I really like how casual they are about her character. I would love to learn more about her, but I’m happy with what we’ve gotten from her. When she comes to look out for Mitsumi at the park, she takes on a masculine appearance, and is careful enough to introduce herself as Mitsumi’s uncle with her driver’s license. It both shows that while she may identify as female, her documents still have her listed as male. And she was also concerned with how Mitsumi introduced her at school. Mitsumi has been talking about her aunt, but when meeting someone you don’t know it’s hard to know how they will respond. That being said, I love that she was comfortable to show her true self to Mika as they were leaving the zoo. And Mika, who often has so much on her mind about others, is mostly shocked to find out that “Naoki the Uncle” is actually Nao-chan the aunt and while we don’t actually see a whole lot more interactions, I still think it’s super important that Mika still agreed to go with Nao. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but these two made the episode for me, I just felt so warm.
But Mitsumi and Shima really did have a good time at the zoo as well! I was really surprised that nothing really developed between the two of them, but I’m also really happy that they were able to have a good and fun time together without things getting awkward. Shima isn’t looking for a romantic relationship (or maybe he is) so it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to ruin the friendship between the two of them. But I really enjoyed the conversations they were able to have surrounding his little brother. It’s clear that something is definitely going on with Shima’s home life and that he has a lot of conflicted feelings towards his baby brother. He probably wants to stay away and not get involved in the family affairs, but I don’t know the full story. I really love, however, Mitsumi’s straightforward response to everything: Get your brother something, as long as it’s from you he’ll be happy! And she’s probably right! Shima I don’t know what happened, but I really do hope that you’re able to give the penguin to him.
On that note, Shima…. whew Shima had quite the episode. After he had his fun time at the zoo, he ends up in cram school and later with Ririka. We still don’t know everything that happened between them in the past. However, from Mika, we do know that she was involved in an underage drinking scandal, and by the end of the episode it is possible that it happened because of Shima. Is there more to the story? Probably. I want to know what they were like when they were kids. How did Shima get roped into that crowd? Is he at her beck and call because he feels guilty? So many questions! Ah, Shima, this probably weighs heavily on you, but I hope you can find more happiness in the future!
And on the idea of happiness, you know who absolutely radiated happiness this week? Yuzuki. When the girls came over for a sleepover, she was over the moon to have her own group of friends who she could be herself around. We find out that it was much harder for her to make friends at her previous school and she made the choice to come here rather than stick it out. Plus, I love that Mitsumi was able to show her that she can be herself, and have fun with the rest of the class. It makes me happy to see that all four girls are considered friends. Mika’s obviously a little more standoffish from the group, but I think she is still learning how to loosen up around others and not keep her guard up all the time. I loved hearing them talk about fashion. It really shows that the whole group is growing much more comfortable around each other. I am so happy for their friendship. And once again, we have a really nice Nao-chan and Mika moment. I like to think that Mika was nervous around Nao because Nao seems to be able to read her like a book (and as we find out later, Nao sees a lot of her old self in Mika). But Nao-chan is the first to call out Mika’s bluff about having a family dinner. But beyond that, I love that she gives Mika the solution to being able to join back up with everyone else, without having to say that she made a bold-faced lie. And when Mika calls it cringe, Nao-chan comes back and lets her know that it’s okay to be cringe. I’m just so over the moon that there’s someone who is able to take on a mentor like figure for Mika, someone who can offer advice that perhaps she wanted when she was Mika’s age (Again, still hoping for more of their interactions). And to top it all off, I love that the ending sequence was Mika with the rest of the girls. She went back :^)
I know I say this at the end of every single one of my entries for this series, but a week is too long! I want to see what they explore in the next episode. Will it be more Shima drama? Or perhaps Mitsumi goes back to visit Fumi? Ahh, I just can’t wait!