Enomoto Kei is a beautiful girl who’s already been proposed to by a well-off man, but she turned him down. Her standards are very high, particularly with regard to the guy’s looks. In any case, it’s time for the athletic festival, and Kei gets volunteered by her friend Dobashi to be in charge of cheerleading. Kusuda volunteers to work with her, and Kei has no choice but to go along with it even though she thinks he’s ugly and a pervert. She momentarily gains a better impression of him when she sees him working hard, but that all disappears afters she realizes that he’s drawing up revealing cheerleading outfits. Kei ends up taking on all of the responsibility herself and works hard for the next several days, but she wears herself out and falls asleep while sewing up the outfits.
She eventually wakes up to the sound of sewing and is surprised to find Kusuda working after she kicked him out earlier. He knew that she couldn’t do it all alone, and he couldn’t just stand around and not do anything. This causes Kei’s feelings about Kusuda to jump all over the place, and she has to remind herself that looks are everything for a guy. These feelings are again short-lived though because Kusuda makes it clear that he’s working hard because he wants to see her friends in the cheerleading outfits. In the end, only one girl’s cheerleading outfit gets finished, so the girls wear male uniforms instead and Kusuda gets stuck wearing the only girl’s outfit. He is nevertheless pumped up about cheering everyone on, and in front of their teacher, he gives Kei all the credit. This turns Kei’s face red, but she yells at Kusuda for acting cool and once again reaffirms to herself that looks are everything.
When I think of Hatsukoi Limited as an idealized romance series, the relationship between Kei and Kusuda is what comes to mind most often. Kei is a bona-fide tsundere, and Kusuda is the perfect perverted-yet-reliable counterpart that’ll drive her nuts. It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that the two are destined for each other, so I found myself facepalming whenever Kei can’t be honest with her feelings and expresses herself with violence or insults instead. I am amused though at how over-the-top Kei’s reactions to Kusuda’s good points are. In any case, I assume that even though this series is going to be short, they’ll revisit this relationship at least once more before it’s all over, two or three times more if they really want to follow the manga. And despite the facepalming, I don’t mind watching Kei because she’s a cute character (her hair in particular) who’s voiced by Itou Shizuka.
On a slightly different note, they hint at Dobashi Rika’s story at the end of this episode, however instead of next week’s episode being about her, it looks like they’re skipping ahead to Koyoi. It seems odd for them to even bother hinting at something if they’re not going to show the rest of it, but for better or worse, that appears to be what they’re doing for at least the being. I guess I shouldn’t mind too much since she was never one of my favorite characters, and come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t mind if they skipped Chikura Nao’s story as well.