When it comes to the personal life of Aoyama-kun, his namesake series has been a master tease so far. It hasn’t given up so much as a given name yet, so it’s hardly a surprise that his teammates are just as knowledge-deprived as the audience. It seemed as if the appearance of Kurata Kozue at the end up last week’s episode might be the start of a long-awaited reveal, but that proves to be mostly another tease – but this episode offers up satisfaction aplenty in other ways.
Certainly, Aoyama’s rather taken-aback reaction to Kozue – so very unlike him – is enough to get his teammates intrigued. So much so that when he takes off from practice they follow him, thinking that they might finally get a chance to find out where Aoyama lives at the very least. After a merry chase full of illegal bike moves and disclaimers (my favorite part of all this is Zaizen inadvertently admitting to his very embarrassing home life) that takes them down by the river and through the shotengai, they finally catch Aoyama at what seems to be his house – but in truth is anything but.
As great as the cast of this show is, it seems almost unfair to add Miki Shinchirou to it – but he does indeed join, as Saigo Ibuki. Comedy or drama, they don’t get any better than Miki-san – and the rare opportunity to hear he and Seki Tomokazu rip it up together is worth the price of admission on its own. Saigo is something we’ve never seen before – a soccer player that’s better than Aoyama-kun. In fact it’s Saigo-kun’s house we’ve arrived at, not Aoyama’s – and Aoyama is cooking Saigo dinner because (as ever) he’s lost to him in a one-on-one soccer duel. Saigo has just returned from Spain, where he’d been playing at what looks like F.C. Barcelona’s youth academy. Why? Because he missed Japanese food.
This is another convoluted web to join the many we already have in Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun. Saigo loves washoku, and he’s followed his lust for it back to Japan and all the way to Oshigami-Minami and Takechi-kun (abu!) – because there’s a good soba place nearby (what the heck are soba sticks?). Kozue followed Saigo all the way to Spain and back and to Oshigami-Minami – because she loves him. But what Saigo doesn’t love is Kozue’s cooking, which has caused a rift to form between them and throw him off his game.
Enter Aoyama-kun – because he doesn’t care to beat Saigo unless he’s at his best, and can’t rest knowing he can’t beat Saigo at his best. The whole concept of Aoyama offering dating advice to anyone is humorous to begin with, but I definitely wondered for a good while whether he was intentionally trolling Saigo as payback for all those beatings – between the cat suit, the cookbook (that was a particularly terrible idea) and the futsal, his advice could hardly have been worse. But in the end, I think Aoyama-kun is just that clueless about human relations and was legitimately trying to help. We didn’t learn much of anything new about Aoyama (except that he’s not infallible on the pitch) but it was certainly an entertaining sidebar.