Tanaka Rie makes her entrance to the series as Kou’s secretarial assistant Shimazaki alongside his actual secretary Takai Terumasa (Cho), forcing the Ichinomiya heir to go along with the pretense that he’s running a nuclear power business under the bridge. His biggest mistake: Asking Maria for help. I realize he doesn’t have many options when there’s one guy who wears a kappa suit and another that wears a star mask as alternative choices, but with Sister and Shiro looking the company employee parts well enough, he probably could have done without Maria. I mean, not only does she think she’s much higher up the pyramid of life than Riku (i.e. at the top), she wasn’t content with the three million yen Dolce & Gabbana suits he was offering to let them keep for helping out. Talk about a difficult woman to please. Aside from having Sawashiro Miyuki‘s sultry voice backing her, I really don’t know what Sister sees in her and continues to react to — even when it’s just a comment about changing her hairstyle.
That’s not to say I didn’t get a good laugh out of how each employee Riku introduced to Takai was far from believable, which includes Sister (Franz) pulling out his gun in response to Takai reaching for his business card. Of all the people, Shiro ended up being the most convincing out of the bunch, so much that even the cool and quiet Shimazaki took notice to. With everything going so well, the sight of Hoshi, Sonchou, and Nino come prancing along to see what was happening was just too damn funny. Mascot character explanations aside, Nino unexpectedly turned out to be the most difficult one with her refusal to pose as Riku’s secretary and insistence that she’s his lover. The subsequent over-the-top reaction from Takai may just win an award for one of the best reactions this season, but the follow-up “homo” jokes by Hoshi only to wind up completely traumatized by Takai and Riku’s simultaneous cavity check was even better. Hoshi is always quick to dish out the Riku insults left and right, so it was awesome to see him get burned even though it was unintentional. That moment was only eclipsed by Takai putting Riku on the spot about kissing Nino if she is indeed his girlfriend, with the latter eventually taking control of the situation and giving 21 year old Ichinomiya Kou his very first kiss.
Needless to say, Hoshi may never be the same again, having become an absolute recluse who’s delusional about being a starfish for real. Just when I thought Riku would be living it up in his triumphant victory over Hoshi however, he showed just how much his first kiss has gone to his head. Surprisingly, Sister seems to somewhat approve of his relationship with Nino since he didn’t kill Riku during a one week 24/7 observation period when he first arrived (…or even shoot him in the leg like he claims he would have). All in all, it’s looking like the whole Riku x Nino thing is turning out pretty well. As such, it’ll be interesting to see what his father has to say in all this, after Shimazaki reported her findings to him. He’s made it clear to Kou that Ichinomiyas must never be in debt, but having their face smeared in mud isn’t acceptable either. Also, much like us, he could do without the explicit footage on how Takai took losing a son-like figure to adulthood.