It’s summer and that means a trip to the beach. With the entire gang decked out in swimwear, they’re ready to have fun and relax. Sia in particular wants to spend lots of time with Rin, but their fun is interrupted by Nerine after Rin decides to teach her how to swim. After a while, Sia gets fed up with Rin’s methods and decides to lead Nerine herself. Free to relax again, Rin is floating in the water when Asa jumps him from behind. It seems that she lost her top to a wave and wants to use Rin as cover to get to the changing room. Sia gets angry after seeing them and confronts Rin, but forgets about it after Asa grows faint from the heat. After lunch, Rin and Sia fall asleep on the beach, but wake up later in the middle of the ocean. They paddle their way back to land, but their friends are nowhere to be found. After venturing into the brush, Sia hurts her foot, so Rin has to carry her.
After Sia voices her concern, Rin reassures her that he’ll always be there to protect her. The sound of growling behind them alerts them of a predator, so they run the other way. After falling down a cliff, Rin and Sia find themselves by the beach again, in front of a beautiful view. The two almost share a kiss, but get interrupted when their friends arrive to find them.
Before I get into my thoughts on the episode, here’s the shot most of you have been waiting for: The Reason for the R-15 Rating. Now that that’s out of the way…
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. With the US Open over, it’s good to see the SHUFFLE! gang again. Granted, this episode is a lot of fanservice, but it’s fanservice that I’ve been waiting two weeks for, never mind the curiosity of what the R-15 rating would bring. In all truth, I laughed quite a bit this episode. The first half has a good amount of humor: Primula’s continual failing to make a sand castle, Itsuki mistaking their teacher for a hot girl, and Nerine in the school swimsuit. Out of the main girls, only Kaede really didn’t get much screentime (be it serious or funny), instead being relegated to a cooking side-role.
But it’s clear that this is a Sia episode. By the end (they were sooooo close on the kiss), I had the feeling that Rin is going down the Sia “path”…for now. The next episode is called 「月夜の告白」 or “Confession of a Moonlight Night,” and from what the preview shows (basically Sia standing in the moonlight in front of Rin), I have no choice but to think that it’ll be a third Sia episode in a row. On the other hand, since SHUFFLE seems to be scheduled for two season’s worth (meaning 24-26 episodes), it’s a bit too early for Rin to choose a girl (since this isn’t DCSS). Maybe they are doing each girl’s story/focus in several episode blocks.