「おおかみさんと赤ずきんちゃん、ついでに亮士くん」 (Ookami-san to Akazukin-chan, Tsuide ni Ryoushi-kun)
“The Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood, and also Ryoushi-kun”
It’s the Tachibana Junichi approach! If confessing once doesn’t work, keep doing it until she can’t deny your love any longer! In Ryoushi’s case, this actually marks his third attempt, which looks like it made more of a dent in Ryouko’s tough exterior but still isn’t enough to bring her around. In all honesty, I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for him, as the most recent two weren’t half-assed wussy ones like the first one yet still failed to provide the desired result. Clearly, this is no omnibus series were relationships will kick into high gear after a mere two episodes, so I can’t say I’m too displeased with the lack of progress when Ryoushi’s actively trying to further things along. It came as a sudden development at the very end too, with the majority of the episode focusing on our three main protagonists and how they got to where they are now. That’s right, it’s a trip down memory lane, centering around Ryouko’s traumatic past caused by Hitsujikai Shirou. (That bastard…)
As our narrator tells us, this episode was more or less to explain the sudden flashbacks seen last time and starts off with Ryoushi asking Ringo about what happened between them. Being the good friend that she is, despite what the romantic novel teasing will have us believe, Ringo suggests he ask Ryouko directly about it, adding that she’d probably tell him if she trusts him enough. That in turn prompts flashbacks from three different perspectives, with Ringo and Ryouko’s being the most noteworthy ones. The actual incident between Shirou and Ryouko still wasn’t entirely spelled out for us, but they did make it a lot more obvious that she liked him during their middle school years and that Shirou assaulted Ryouko in some way. From the look of it, he probably just got some cheap feels in and tore up her clothes a bit, but I’d imagine that’s enough to make any girl feel violated if she didn’t consent to it. However, the most traumatizing aspect was that no one believed her, which the added dialogue from the other female classmates made clear this time around. The rest of their respective flashbacks showed how Ringo befriended Ryouko after becoming interested in what she overheard her mumbling in her sleep.
In reality, it wasn’t too different from their current relationship, where Ryouko’s not sure how to deal with Ringo’s overbearing nature, but it was eye-opening to see how she finally reached out to her as someone she could trust. More than anything, it was the significant change in Ryouko’s character following the incident that caught my attention. It’s kind of hard to believe that she was so feminine once, but seeing her then makes me feel bad about how she’s tried to cope with her trauma. Don’t get me wrong, the current Ryouko is pretty badass, but it’s a very forced exterior that doesn’t reflect the frail and innocent girl that she actually is. In a way, it kind of makes her the ultimate tsundere, because the brash side of her personality is completely forced and not her true self. In light of that, Ryoushi probably deserves a lot of credit for seeing right through her and falling for the girl within who is desperately trying to become strong so that she’ll never experience the same sort of trauma again. Granted, his stalking skills helped him figure that part out, but he still deserves some credit (…for not getting caught). If I wanted to put a really cheesy and cliché spin on it, I would say that Ryoushi sees Ryouko’s inner beauty and has fallen in love with it. I guess that wouldn’t be too inappropriate in this fairy tale series though, plus Ringo said pretty much the same thing back in episode one.
Overall, this was a much more touching showing than a comedic one, ending off on Ryoushi’s most recent confession. He didn’t sound as cool as he did on the phone with Ringo, but his abruptness and declaration to become a strong man worthy of her looks like it hit the right chords. Somehow, I don’t think another confession alone will be enough to totally win Ryouko over, unless it’s followed up by another big act of heroics on Ryoushi’s part. It’s safe to say he’s close, given how happy Ryouko was afterward even though she wouldn’t admit it. Once the girl can’t get you off her mind, it’s only a matter of time!