I really hope Ume’s not behind all the rumour shenanigans from before, because I really don’t want to end up hating her. Yes, she’s a Hirano Aya character, so there are some inadvertent apprehensions already. However, I want to give her the benefit of the doubt since she doesn’t seem fake to me just yet.
While much of the Sawako’s class has accepted her as the bearer of good fortune if they can make her laugh, Ume’s dealing with her friends’ disbelief that Kazehaya would be interested in a girl like Sawako. In light of this, Ume elegantly suggests that the possibility isn’t completely out of the question and modestly rules herself out. Meanwhile, Sawako’s struggling to get accustomed to calling other people by their first names without any honorifics. After a bit of friendly peer pressuring by Ayane, she attempts to do so with Kazehaya as well but finds it too difficult to do for guys. When homeroom starts, Pin arbitrarily decides to make Kazehaya the class rep for the upcoming sports festival, in which he only wants the athletic people to participate in. Kazehaya notices that this leaves Sawako out, so he suggests that the class practice a bit during lunch.
Unfortunately, lunch period is much too short for Sawako to get any better, but she’s happy about seeing a playful and sporty side of Kazehaya for the first time. Kazehaya notices that she’s watching him and comments about her braided hair, causing Sawako’s heart to race in a way she’s never experienced before. In her constant attempt to not be a nuisance to others, Sawako decides to practice by herself after school but isn’t allowed to borrow a soccer ball for personal use. From the committee meeting classroom, Kazehaya notices her watering the flowers and kicking around a rock later on, so he brings her a ball afterwards. Speechlessly happy, Sawako practices kicking the ball and hopes it can convey her feelings to him, in lieu of a smile she can’t provide. Back in the classroom, Ume’s quietly watching this from afar.
I find that there’s a fine line between going after a guy subtley and sabotaging all the competition. Assuming that Ume’s wasn’t involved with the earlier stuff, I don’t disapprove of her joining the sports committee because Kazehaya did. She seemed geniunely humble about him not having an interest in her when talking to her friends. The only scene put her true intentions in a somewhat questionable light was when she noticed Kazehaya watching Sawako practice kicking a rock instead of paying attention to her, but even then she didn’t give any signs of being conniving. Whether or not that’s supposed to be the ultimate fake out I don’t know, but if they would go that far to deceive me, I’m willing to go along with it for the time being. For now, Ume gets to stay in my good books. Based on the preview though, it looks like she’s going to try and befriend Sawako, so I’m still a bit wary of any potential ulterior motives.
The other big thing this episode is Sawako experiencing what’s probably her first love. She still doesn’t seem to realize this herself, so it’s pretty cute in a very innocent sort of way. While this week didn’t have any real emotional melodrama, I loved the scene at the end where Sawako kicked the ball to Kazehaya. It led in really nicely to Chara’s “Kataomoi” (Unrequited Love) song, which grows on me more and more thanks to this series. That scene was a very sweet way to wrap up the episode, especially with Ume looking on from above. Hopefully she realizes what they have going and doesn’t try too hard to ruin it!
* I’m not exactly brimming with free time right now, but wanted to cover this series in Omni’s abscene since I like it so much.