「かわいいひとたち」 (Kawaii Hitotachi)
Hmm, things are getting pretty deep here. And by that, I mean they’ve dug themselves into one complicated, relationship hole. It’s a trap!
Long story short, Ushio becomes infatuated with a female reader who is cute enough to be featured in a fashion magazine. However, this girl is actually our trap, Akemiya Masaki, who started cross-dressing in an attempt to catch Sumika’s eye after he realized she seems to prefer girls (i.e. Ushio) over guys. His younger sister had found out about his secret and sent his picture to the magazine, leading us to where we are now.
What was surprising about this episode though is how quickly they got everyone’s true feelings across. There’s no beating around the bush here. While Ushio’s still clueless about Masaki’s secret, Sumika has already admitted that she can’t help liking her even though she’s not Ushio’s type. Too tall and too cool. Not small, fragile, and “omochikaeri” cute apparently. Similarly, Masaki more or less confessed to Sumika already on two separate occasions, plus had his cover blown by her.
Coming into this series, I thought the trap figure would secretly hang out with our two female leads and be in heart-wrenching situations day in and day out as he watched his crush only take interest in the other girl. Instead, the cross-dressing secret is out in the open and Sumika doesn’t hate Masaki for it, nor does she try to deter him from liking her. Because of that, the story seems to be a matter of whether Sumika will end up changing Ushio’s image of her or if she’ll give up and settle for a straight relationship with Masaki. Seeing as this is a yuri series, I’d imagine the conclusion to be pretty clear from the onset. Luckily though, that doesn’t take away from all the awkward emotional situations we’re bound to run into with this unidirectional one-sided love triangle.
As for this particular episode, I found it a bit painful watching Ushio unknowingly crush Sumika’s hopes when she told her she wasn’t her type. It’s probably safe to say that a lot of us have been in Sumika’s shoes before. It’s one thing to conclude yourself that someone isn’t interested in you, but it’s completely different when he/she outright says so. As such, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Sumika there, even though she picked herself back up pretty quickly. For now, it looks like the stage is set. Masaki > Sumika > Ushio > Masaki’s female self — someone’s bound to be the odd person out.