Hatsukoi Limited – 06
With Christmas coming up, Kusuda and Sogabe decide to get the girls in their class to have a Christmas party with them. They start by coercing Mamoru to come, which gets Ayumi on board, and Kei and Nao decide to come as well. Sogabe and Ayumi propose exchanging presents between the boys and the girls, and that gets Kei thinking about what Kusuda would want. At the store, she spots a nice scarf, but coincidentally, Kusuda is also there shopping, and he bad-mouths her choice. Her frustration with how he treats her causes Kei to insult his choice of pink gloves, and that causes him to dump the gloves and walk off without speaking to her. Kei immediately feels bad about what she did, but she doesn’t get a chance to apologize to him in school, and she feels even worse when she realizes that everyone thinks that she really likes the color pink.
On the day of the get-together, Kei finds herself alone with Kusuda after Nao gets sick, Sogabe leaves to help her, and Mamoru and Ayumi depart to aid a man who collapsed. Kusuda wants to call everything off and go home, but Kei convinces him to have dinner with her. Kusuda doesn’t pay much attention to her during the meal though, and afterward, she has to chase after him when he walks off on his own. Kusuda eventually stops to play in some snow, and Kei’s frustrations cause her to throw a snowball at him. Kusuda responds by citing how demanding she is and wants her to leave him alone. Kei, however, ends up throwing her present at him, and it turns out to be that scarf from before. After thanking her for it, Kusuda decides to give her his present – a revealing dress – and Kei finally apologizes for how she acted before. She mentions that the pink gloves would suit her, and as it turns out, Kusuda had bought the gloves as well. Kei loves the gloves after trying them on, and she makes Kusuda wear the scarf she got him.
I didn’t expect them to put in a special ED this week, but it turned out to be pretty good, arguably better than the normal one, and it made the episode itself seem special.
It feels a little weird to have a special Christmas episode in mid-May, particularly since I remember reading the original manga chapters around Christmas-time two years ago, but this was otherwise a good episode. Despite the fanservice, this was a more serious episode, and I liked the choice of music and effects for the scene where Kei chases after Kusuda. Having the ED shots of what everyone else was doing also gave the episode a less abrupt finish than the corresponding manga chapter had, so that’s another plus. I still find the pairing of Kei and Kusuda rather unrealistic (it’s too obvious of an appeal to the predominately male audience), but like it or not, there’s more to it since the two aren’t quite a couple yet. The conclusion of it will have to wait though until the last or next-to-last episode. As for next week, they’re finally getting around to animating Rika’s story, and the hints they’ve dropped already have made it pretty clear who her first love will be.