With Christmas approaching, Taiga has started acting like a good girl because she thinks Santa Claus is watching. She claims to love Christmas, and she even offers to help Ryuuji again with Minori. What they don’t quite realize yet is that ever since Minori found out that Taiga had Yuusaku’s picture in her student handbook, she hasn’t been herself, and it’s affecting her softball playing and her attitude towards Ryuuji. It comes to a head with the upcoming Christmas Eve party, and Taiga insists that Ryuuji invite Minori to it and then confess his feelings to her. When Taiga tries to get Minori to join her in helping prepare for the party though, Minori declines and cites her commitment to the softball team. Ami volunteers in her place, but that still doesn’t change Minori’s mind.
Later that day, Ryuuji and Taiga head to the family restaurant to study for their final exams, and Ryuuji brings with him the notes he won during the festival, but he feels bad because Minori technically won with him. They find out at the restaurant that Minori took the day off from her waitress job, and that leads Taiga to suggest that Minori might be avoiding Ryuuji. Taiga isn’t sure of how to help, and she observes that Ryuuji and Minori’s relationship is different from before. Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival Noto, Haruta, Yuusaku, and Maya, and Noto intentionally pairs Taiga up with Yuusaku whenever possible. Despite knowing that Taiga likes Yuusaku, Ryuuji is still bothered by this. Maya, who also likes Yuusaku, concludes that Ryuuji is against Taiga being with Yuusaku because he has feelings for Taiga, and she vows to support him.
Well, after seeing the silky heart commercial so many times, the actual song was better than I thought it’d be, though it still didn’t suit my tastes all that much (again, I’m not a huge fan of seiyuu songs in general). Maybe it’ll grow on me like Vanilla Salt did. The ED, on the other hand, was pretty average all around, and nothing about either the song or the animation of Ryuuji making an orange pie were anything special.
We’re at the beginning of a new arc, so this was more or less a set-up episode. The Christmas party at first didn’t sound like anything special, but with the way things are going, I’m sure some fireworks will erupt. For one, this confusion with Maya liking Yuusaku and thinking that Ryuuji likes Taiga is probably going to blow up in someone’s face. It’ll be even more interesting if Ryuuji really does have some feelings for Taiga (I’m still not 100% convinced that he doesn’t). Also, it occurred to me that setting up Taiga with Yuusaku after the whole Sumire thing might be a bad idea since he’s technically still on the rebound. It might be just too soon.
In any case, after what happened at the end of last episode, I thought the focus would shift more to Ami and Minori this arc, and although Minori was the focus for some of it so far, Ami didn’t play as big a role. I think we’re due for another RyuujiXAmi moment – that is, unless Ami is being slowly eliminated from contention – and somewhere down the line, she’ll probably be the one who’ll confront Minori about avoiding Ryuuji. Taiga meanwhile smiled so much this episode that it felt unnatural – being a good girl just doesn’t suit her (nor does it suit many of the characters that Kugimiya Rie voices). Regardless, it sounds like Taiga really believes in Santa Claus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually find out that it’s a sign of misplaced hope in her parents or something.