It seems almost pointless to keep harping on the same things Kuragehime does fantastically, though that would be easy enough to do week after week. Plainly, it’s just straight-up quality – every aspect of the series is top-notch. Something I’ve really come to appreciate is that two elements that usually get discusses separately – plot and character development – are inseparable here. It’s not a plot-heavy series like, say, Dennou Coil or Ghost Hound – but there’s so much happening, all the time. The difference is that everything is connected to the interior lives of the characters, all of whom (especially the big three) are complex and thoroughly believable.
The star of the episode – and a rising star overall for me – is Shu. He’s such a tragic character in so many ways. But what happened to him this week was really horrendous. Inari probably had no idea that Shu was a virgin, but the effect of her callous act was devastating for Shu. Blackmail is bad enough – and the impact on Shu’s career could be grave – but to make it worse, he know believes his first experience was lost to a amnesiac fog with a woman he cares nothing about. The sad, gallant act of going over to shake Tsukimi’s hand afterward speaks so much to who Shu is as a person.
Not that there wasn’t plenty else going on here, too. Kuranosuke is thoroughly smitten with Tsukimi at this point, which is certainly going to lead to further complications between the brothers. He was true to himself this episode – I loved him in his “That Girl” look, and I loved how he brazenly improvised his motivational speech and admitted he had no idea how to fight the development project. If Shu is pure left-brain and completely inhibited, Kura is pure right-brain – an unfiltered rocket of ego and libido who lives completely in the moment. But his persistence and generosity seems to have finally worn down the Amars to some extent, and they finally got a name out of him (albeit a fake one). I suspect they will learn the truth fairly soon.
I also loved the cafe scene generally, and Banba calling Kura “Meat”. The background Amars are finally starting to get fleshed out now, though they’re still somewhat caricatures, which is probably the weakest part of the series overall. In an 11-episode cour, though, I’m just not sure there’s enough time to meaningfully change that. Tsukimi and the brothers have an awful lot of story left to tell.