In many ways this might have been the most “conventional” episode of Kuragehime so far. It was certainly the most plot-driven, with each of the major lines being advanced significantly (probably necessary in an 11-episode series). It does mark a change from the previous narrative style, where plot and character development were inseparable. They were decoupled this week, with the plot progressing in a more conventional way and kind of forcing the characters to adapt to the situation.
We know pretty much know that there’s going to be a focus on Kuranosuke’s efforts to save Amamizukan through fundraising and buying it. Inari has shown her hand (in more ways than one, but more on that in a minute). Kura has plenty of ideas – extort his Dad, a flea market, selling off Chieko’s precious dolls – but the one with the most traction is a down payment from the mysterious yaoi mangaka Mejiro. But one still senses this is a fun project for him, a diversion – he has no notion of the effect his ramrod ideas might have on the Amars. To him, Chieko’s dolls are just dolls – but the other outcasts in the commune understand.
What is clear is that Kuranosuke feels something romantic for Tsukimi, and she feels something for Shuu. Kura almost kisses her in her room while only in his boxers, but later she sheds tesrs over Shuu when telling Kura she’d seen him with The Vixen. Speaking of Inari, while “returning his glasses” she shows him her cell phone photo as the “proof” they did it. At this point there can be no subtlety to her game, but while Shuu is naive I don’t think he’s a fool. At the very least he strongly suspects something isn’t quite right with her explanation of events. I don’t expect him to take the situation lying down.
The looming question now surrounds our love triangle. I don’t think this is a whim for Kuranosuke – unlike almost everything else in his life I believe he’s serious about Tsukimi. But she’s clearly smitten with Shuu, and he with her – though as much of a wreck as he is at the moment it’s hard to know where he lands. If I had to bet on an outcome here and “None of the Above” was not an option, I think I’d go with Shuu as the winner – but it’s a close call.
While this was a fairly serious ep by most standards, my favorite comedic moment was Jiji’s barely audible “Please bring an elderly boss with you next time” to Inari as she was being ushered out of Amamizukan in a hail of salt…