Where to begin? This episode was perhaps one of my favorites so far. We’ve had a lot of strong character development lately, with things taking a serious turn more than once. So the change back to lighthearted comedy (while still introducing a new character) was a very welcome one. That’s not to say the previous episode were entirely devoid of comedy, but this is probably the first episode in a while to focus solely on the comedic aspects of the show. And boy did it deliver. We’re introduced to Sorata’s little sister, Yuuko. Not only does she have a massive brother complex, her childish behavior and cheery attitude helps give the show a nice boost back to happier times from some of the more somber topics. I’m sure we’ll see more of her later on if she (or the Kanda parents) can help it. And speaking of Sorata’s parents, they sure are an odd couple. His father (seemingly) answers every call with an intimidating threat to scare away any guy attempting to chase after Yuuko while his mother answers calls with a quiz. I can see why Sorata wanted to get away from his family now.
The Kanda family aside, this episode was chock-full of funny little things. Mashiro attempting to get Sorata to eat rice off her face only to be intercepted by Nanami was hilarious. It’s fairly obvious that Mashiro is interested in Sorata, but I wonder if she realizes that she likes him. Sorata is convinced that the misleading language she uses on Yuuko is purposeful, and I tend to think that she is conscious of her choice of words and phrasing. She’s shown a significant amount of attachment to Sorata, after all. And despite failing once, she tries again and even gets into a little “competition” with Yuuko. Seeing their faces covered with rice grains in the background really cracked me up. After a brief bath scene intermission with plenty of fan service, we cut to a “date” with Sorata and the three girls. Once again, Mashiro works her misleading magic, causing Yuuko freak out about “the ABCs of love”. Mashiro skipping directly to ‘C’ and the image of the “male” flower smoking a cigarette after ‘C’ were some of the best moments of the entire date.
As great as the comedy was though, this episode didn’t completely forget about the character development. Despite being Yuuko’s introduction, it actually felt more like Nanami was the focus of attention this episode. Her interactions with Sorata during the “date” were really cute, and we see that she does care intensely for him. Out of the three girls, she was the only one who “spent” her wish for him as opposed to some personal gain (here’s looking at you, Mashiro). It’s clear that deep down inside, she would love nothing more than to just have her way with Sorata, but she keeps hiding these emotions because she’s afraid he won’t reciprocate her feelings. Take some advice from Masato, Nanami! He who strikes first, wins! If you take him to bed as Torajirou suggested, I’m sure Sorata couldn’t say no. Well, at least she manages to make a few steps forward by slipping on the steps and landing square in Sorata’s arms. She just had to follow up instead of pointing out that Mashiro and Yuuko were missing, but alas. At least this shows that she’s also good-natured in that she won’t place her own benefit over more important matters.
I know that Mashiro is almost certainly going to be the one for Sorata in the end, but it’s nice to see that Nanami is putting up a fight. Even Yuuko recognizes her as a greater threat for Sorata’s affection. And on that note, we leave for a pool episode next time.
Running must be harder to animate than we would think, given the number of poorly animated running girls out there (with their arm flailing). Sakurasou is no different, especially at approximately 16:32 with Yuuko running in the crowd. That run looked so unconvincing, it was almost unnatural. But, this is just me nitpicking. A little bad running animation isn’t going to ruin a show, given how commonplace a problem it is.