Two episodes in, the Rihoko arc is looking very reminiscent of the Kaoru arc. Old friends with an easy familiarity, a likable friendship, trivial problems and not much romantic spark.
The Founder’s Festival comes halfway through this arc instead of at the end, as it did with the Ai arc. This time we get the payoff for those scenes with the Tea Club in that sequence, as they take center stage this time. Just about everyone seems to be trying to play matchmaker for Rihoko and Junichi, including her two senpai in the club. They rope him into helping during the festival and – partially for selfish reasons (club survival) try and convince him to join. Seems like the future of the tea club and Rihoko’s role in it, along with her dieting, are going to be at the center of the “drama” this time. As with Kaoru’s frankly trivial Mom issues, I really can’t bring myself to care all that much.
I like Rihoko well enough – her clumsiness is sort of cute – but there just doesn’t seem to be much life here. So far, only the Haruka (especially) and Ai arcs have had any sexual tension to them. In a relationship series there pretty much has to be some chemistry between the principals for the show to have any real weight. Junichi and Rihoko may be good friends, but watching two friends go through their HS paces isn’t much of a basis on which to build a series – or even a 4-episode arc of one.