It’s hard not to have sympathy for Makoto. Nitorin and Takatsuki get most of the attention, but in many ways he’s in a worse pinch than any of them. Not only is he living a secret and frustrated life, but he’s denied the outlets that are available to Nitorin – and Takatsuki has significantly less social stigma to deal with when she dresses a boy. “It’s this side of Nitorin that I adore – but sometimes it irritates me.” If anything sums up Mako’s feelings for Nitorin, it would be that – because when Nitorin suggests that Mako confess to his latest crush, he seems oblivious to the likely outcome. Mako isn’t pretty enough to pass as a girl the way Nitorin can, and unlike Nitorin he’s attracted to boys – he can’t take cover in the relative “normalcy” of confessing to a girl like Anna or even Takatsuki.
If all that weren’t enough, it causes conflicted feelings for the one person he’s closest to – Mako wouldn’t be human if he didn’t feel jealous of Nitorin, but at the same time Nitorin is the kindest and gentlest soul he knows (and Mako is probably in love with him, to boot). So when Makoto decides to take Nitorin’s advice and seize the moment by making a solo public foray as a girl, it marks a pretty big step and very much out of character for someone who’s normally so publicly cautious when it comes to his personal life. Saori’s “I hate spineless people” continually echoes in his mind, taunting him.
That’s why it’s so sad to see it blow up in his face – apparently. When he pops into a department store food floor for a bite, he runs into Oka and his little brother, and bolts the scene in panic. There’s no question that Oka recognizes him, and Makoto retreats to his room, feigning illness to try and run out the clock until the school break. But interestingly, despite Mako’s worst fears Oka apparently isn’t saying anything to anyone. He’s been an interesting minor character – starting out as the epitome of juvenile taunting in his role as Doi’s sidekick – but there have been surprising glimpses of humanity in Oka over the years. He knows something of the unusual life Nitorin and Makoto lead, though he’s not the most sophisticated boy in the world. But it’s just possible Oka wants to do the right thing, in the end – and perhaps this will end up being an ennobling experience both for he and Makoto.
As for Nitorin, we have just a brief moment with he and Anna at the start of the chapter, as Maho kicks him out of their bedroom with Anna staying over. Nitorin is still contemplating Anna’s urgent plea that he not compliment other girls, and just what it might imply about their relationship and its future. As always when he get a chapter focused on supporting characters, even if it’s a good one (and this is) I still find myself ultimately more interested in what’s going to happen next with Shuu, and hoping the story will loop back to it soon.