Really, this episode was full of bad things. No, I don’t mean that the show itself is bad. First off, we find out that Sakagami is a total dickwad. It turns out that his “date” with Chiwa was nothing more than a prank, with his friends even placing bets on how long she would wait for him. What complete assholes. Conveniently, Eita and Masuzu had decided to watch over Chiwa’s first date and see what Sakagami and his gang are doing. Outraged, Eita storms in and starts a fight with the thugs. But despite activating his chuunibyou mode, Eita finds himself outmatched by Sakagami and his friends, and things start looking rather hopeless. Luckily, Masuzu steps in and throws Chiwa a pole1, enabling the former kendo practitioner to make short work of the gang. With the trouble taken care of, Chiwa rushes to Eita’s side, where the two childhood friends quickly make up. Notably, during his battle with Sakagami’s friends, Eita yelled “she is watching me!”2 to motivate himself. This leads Chiwa to believe that he is referring to her as someone special to him, since he denies that Masuzu is around. Likewise, it seemed as if Masuzu thought the same thing at the moment, but something tells me she saw Chiwa and Eita making up and realized the message may not have been meant for her. To be honest, the message probably wasn’t meant for anyone at all since Eita is just a generic harem lead; but I digress.
What’s rather interesting from the date fiasco is that we get a glimpse at some more of Masuzu’s character. We already know that she is “anti-love” just like Eita, however there is apparently an important difference between the two. While Eita merely does everything in his power to avoid love, Masuzu supposedly actively seeks to make others hate love as well. It’s very tempting to call her a “bitch” for her manipulative actions, but there’s something about her that suggests there’s more than meets the eye. Her setting up Chiwa with Sakagami knowing full well what would happen, just to make Chiwa hate love, is condemnable. Yet, she seems to realize that what she did was wrong, and even plays an important role in helping clear up the situation. It’s almost as if she doesn’t fully believe in the things she says, and despite forcing her behavior to match her words, her true nature manages to leak out sometimes. Take her behavior later on in the episode as another example, when Eita decides to pay her a visit when she doesn’t show up to school. In spite of all her talk of being anti-love, it’s fairly obvious that she’s actually developed romantic feelings for Eita; she even goes so far as to steal a kiss from him just to get ahead of Chiwa. Yet, she still pulls back at the very last moment and claims that it was all an act.
And now for some actual gripe. Despite my saying Masuzu is surprisingly complex, the opposite may actually be true when you think about it. We were initially led to believe that she is calculating and manipulative. That’s rather one-dimensional, but at least different. Then we were shown hints that she might be more than just a cold, heartless person. This is probably the height of her apparent complexity; she’s more than meets the eye, and we don’t quite know what she’s like deep down inside. Come this episode, it seems as if she’s become just another generic harem member with the hots for the chick-magnet male lead. That feels like a step backwards to me. I get that she’s inevitably going to have feelings for the harem lead (it’s a harem anime for a reason), but the way the last segment of the episode seemingly devolved her into a generic harem member in a very generic harem situation was rather discouraging. So she still has her facade and ambiguous motives going for her, but it feels like we’ve been shown too much of her dere side all too soon. I’d rather she retain more of her mysteriousness than practically declare war on Chiwa over Eita. It’s not that she shouldn’t openly pursue him, but the approach this episode felt too rushed to me. Oh, and Eita’s being romantically inept still bothers me. But it’s going to be a constant thorn in the side, so this will likely be the last time I mention it. Perhaps one day we’ll finally get a much needed love-savvy harem lead. Ah, who am I kidding.
Next episode, it looks like we get two new harem members in one episode. Hurrah!