「ことりちゃん登場！！」 (Kotori-chan Toujou!!)
There’s pretty much an unwritten rule in anime to be suspicious of any character that can’t be bothered to open their eyes most of the time, but it doesn’t hurt to hear them out once in a while. Take Yachiyo for example. Unless you’re Hiroomi and take enjoyment out of other people’s suffering, the logical thing to do after Mahiru lied to her mother about Takanashi being a girl who gave her a gift in return on White Day would’ve been to have either her Popura pretend to be him instead of cross-dressing. That was pretty much the first thought that crossed my mind, so I got a pretty good laugh when Jun didn’t think of that and covered it up with blatant lie about how there are times when men have to do what they have to do. I’m pretty impressed by how Yachiyo wasn’t even able to get a verbal reaction out of Jun after that, when it was clear she got through to him. In any case, this was all to deceive Mahiru’s father (Ootsuka Houchuu), whom she hasn’t even seen in ten years and who turns out to be the source of her abnormal phobia of men.
Now it’s one thing to be overprotective of your daughter and not wanting to hand her over to any man, but systematically inducing her fear of men with subliminal psychological brainwashing over several years is something else. Hell, that should be a crime of sorts now that I think about it. With that revelation and how he waltzed into Wagnaria to with a hunting rifle in his possession (fake or not) to check up on if “Takanashi” is really a girl, I was really hoping that Mahiru would lay the smack down on her father. She got the urge to and everything too, but had to show an uncanny display of restraint the one time I wished she didn’t. Violence may not solve anything, but sometimes it feels so damn warranted. You know, just one of those straight punches to the cheekbone that Souta receives on a daily basis is all I ask. Since it’s been over ten years since Mahiru saw her father, we can even give him time to brace for it for old time sakes. It probably wouldn’t matter with the way he’s been secretly slipping in weights in her stuff to bulk her up, but hey, you reap what you sow.
In the end, I guess it was a lot sweeter to have Souta stand up for Mahiru and give her father a good scolding for the mental damage he’s done to his own daughter. This is particularly true if you’re a Souta x Mahiru shipper, since Mahiru seems to have fallen head over heals for Souta after overhearing everything from the hidden mic Aoi bugged him with. Seeing how things were going just peachy for them (though not really from Souta’s point of view), I was anticipating the moment to be ruined with the lighthearted ending theme. As such, I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a special Inami Mahiru character song ending sequence here to help emphasize her newly discovered love for Souta (see below). Looking back, it took a little longer than I would’ve liked, but the pros of Mahiru’s character have finally come to fruition in these past few episodes.
Comedy-wise, I found myself laughing on various occasions this episode, starting with Souta’s sarcastically emphatic refusal to cross-dress and how it somehow made him the bad guy for not taking his childhood scarring to the teenage level. The same goes for Hiroomi being all on board to help out and saying with a completely straight face that he can’t pass up on something so amusing, rather than helping a fellow co-worker/friend or something along those lines. Aoi popping her head out of the ceiling and getting all happy about being “praised” for being readily prepared in the drag department was also funny to see, as well as Kyouko’s initial reaction to “Kotori-chan”. Speaking of which, I found the misreading of “Takanashi” as “Kotoriasobi” here pretty befitting as well, because the later can literally mean “play/mess around with Kotori”. I’m sure everyone was getting some level of enjoyment from Souta’s misfortune, with Hiroomi having the most fun of course by blackmailing him further.
Aside from that, I thought Fukuyama Jun had a better female voice in his repertoire, but I guess it’s just Kamiya Hiroshi and his disturbing ability to do a decent, “Nyaaan, hehe”. It kind of throws my image of Tieria Erde, Orihara Izaya, Ichinomiya Kou, and even Souma Hiroomi here in for a whirl, but Hiroshi is pretty damn funny in person. Jun’s definitely no stranger to being forced to cross-dress against his will though, so if Lelouch Lamperouge lovers are prepared to be disillusioned, look no further than this.
Next time it looks like Nazuna’s going to be working at Wagnaria as well, but what I’m more curious about is the brief cameo that Matsumoto Maya got in this episode. She’s in the opening sequence and is supposed to be a regular server at the restaurant, but hasn’t made her official debut in the anime yet. Also, I forgot to mention this last time, but Aoi’s been added to the opening sequence in various places as well.