「疑惑の真相…、なずな働く。」 (Giwaku no Shinsou…, Nazuna Hataraku.)
“The Truth Behind the Suspicion…, Nazuna Works.”
Aoi breaking out the cosplay, Souta regretting his recent cross-dressing incident, Yachiyo pretending that Jun is the new Kyouko in her absence, and Nazuna going undercover at Wagnaria to find out what the deal is with her brother and Mahiru. How is that not “win” on every level? To be quite honest, I completely forgot that Nazuna was even going to make an appearance this episode once the focus shifted to Mahiru’s newly discovered feelings for Souta. The whole Kotori cosplay at the very beginning threw me off as well, as I couldn’t help but take enjoyment from how utterly useless Aoi is around the restaurant. This includes how she later decided to be a customer and ask Souta to find someone to eat with her, causing the latter to drag her freeloading butt out of the dining area. One thing led to another and we had Aoi trying to cheer up Yachiyo with her Kyouko cosplay and failing miserably, leaving it up to Jun to act as the stand-in thanks to the manipulative Hiroomi.
Despite how well Jun hid his true feelings in that situation, it sure seemed like he was secretly enjoying all the attention he was getting from Yachiyo for a change. All that became obvious though when Yachiyo suggested they call each other by their first names so it’s more like her relationship with Kyouko, causing Jun to gag on his cigarette smoke like crazy. I probably should have felt sorry for Jun there, but I really couldn’t help but take enjoyment from the way that Yachiyo rips up him up from the inside time and time again without even meaning to. It’s like a dagger through the heart every time she speaks to him, whether it’s about Kyouko or himself. Considering that he probably enjoyed the attention regardless, I honestly didn’t feel too bad for him. Sure it sucked when Kyouko returned from her business trip to the branch office much earlier than expected, but it’s not often Jun gets the the same treatment that she does. If that wasn’t enough going on in a single episode, there was also Popura getting the Kotori goods from Hiroomi, much to Souta’s dismay. The best part of that turned out to be how Hiroomi set up Souta for the ultimate trap by saying he has cute pictures, only to find out that they were all of him.
So yeah, by that time I was more or less thinking “Nazuna who?” rather than “Nazuna when?” However, her appearance turned out to be the highlight of the episode, simply because her “paid off” request to do a work study at Wagnaria resulted in Mahiru admitting that she likes Souta. That was clearly some relief to her — learning that Mahiru isn’t just messing around with her brother after catching sight of them walking home together — but it also led her to believe that Souta’s a masochist. It was a rather subtle conclusion of hers upon witnessing Mahiru lay the beat down to Souta for no apparent reason, but I can only imagine the hilarious misunderstandings that result from it. The next episode title suggests that we’ll be seeing more of his sisters, so it’ll be fun seeing what they think of their cute little brother if Nazuna passes on her own misunderstanding.
On the bright side, it’s nice to see that Mahiru’s come to terms with her feelings for Souta, even though the latter will never think as such when he continues to get smacked around just for saying he’s determined to help cure her fear of men. From Mahiru’s perspective, the nail in the (love) coffin actually came when Souta said he’s fine with her the way she is, causing her to fall head over heels so much that she’ll never consider any other man ever again (…if that were even possible in the first place). Anyway, the whole masochist thing won’t be a misunderstanding anymore if we really do have a Souta x Mahiru pairing in the end. You seriously have to love taking punishment to stay with a girl like that.