「碓氷のライバル?深谷陽向」 (Usui no Raibaru? Shintani Hinata)
“Usui’s Rival? Shintani Hinata”

Misaki going Super Saiyajin, Usui feeling the pressure from a rival, Kanou noticing how their relationship’s at a standstill, and the childhood friend Shintani Hinata (Abe Atsushi) being another instance of dramatic weight loss. This episode had development in almost all areas and provided the tension that may finally take Misaki and Usui’s relationship to the next level. The premise to tie it all together was Misaki getting on the case of all the sports clubs for not cleaning their clubrooms, and Yukimura convincing them to do so by offering them all a meal for staying late. Thus began the mass production of onigiri, which Misaki doesn’t have a knack for whatsoever. Hinata arrived as a new transfer student at the same time in search of his childhood love “Misa-chan” and things pretty much took off from there.

Relationship-wise, Kanou in particular proved to be one of the key factors by seeing through Misaki’s feelings for Usui and speaking the truth that she didn’t want to hear, whereas Hinata’s love for Misaki provided not only a humorous take on his character, but also a charismatic personality with looks to match that make him a hard rival for Usui to swallow. Unlike Usui, Hinata is a purehearted, earnest, and most of all goofy character that sets him apart from the “perverted stalker” that Misaki’s used to putting up with, yet can look just as cool as him too. The fact that he’ll nonchalantly talk about his past as a fat kid, his parents passing away in an accident, his grandfather kicking him off his farm for eating all his crops, and be completely unfazed by any of it in light of his love for food makes him an “unusually difficult” person to compete with.

As such, Hinata’s definitely not our run-of-the-mill love rival, whose drastic transformation from eating vegetables all day was just as impressive as Ryuuguu Otohime’s in Ookami-san. Incidentally, he isn’t a picky eater either, which bad cooks like Misaki would probably appreciate when it comes to her rock-hard onigiri baseballs. While Usui ate all the other ones she had remaining, his palette can hardly be compared to Hinata’s one that loves eating bread crust trimmings. If we were to talk about comparing a life of hardships and being as frugal as possible, Hinata easily takes the cake in mirroring Misaki’s lifestyle as well, with that dog-like nose of his that he uses for sniffing out food and candy. With the way he’ll play the sympathy card, he’s also more suited to get bullied by Misaki instead of the other way around with Usui. He did fall in love with her out of a childhood promise to follow her forever after falling from a tree, so I’d even go as far as saying he’ll gladly let her wear the pants in their relationship.

What sets him far beyond Usui though is his earnest behavior and how he won’t hesitate to tell and show everyone that he’s in love with “Misa-chan”. It’s a pretty stark contrast to Usui anyway, who told Kanou that getting into a serious relationship is just as troublesome as receiving love letters all the time. Well it finally looks like Usui can’t afford to idle around any longer unless he’s going to let Hinata snatch up his beloved Misaki. As much as I love Usui and his superhuman feats in just about everything, it’s really due to how he can bring out the girlish side of Misaki. He always keeps his distance a fair degree though, so Hinata’s direct approach is a very refreshing way of achieving the same result. In any case, it looks like things are finally heating up in the relationship department. From what I hear, Hinata’s introduction is really late compared to the manga (he’s been in the opening sequence all this time), so it’s about time he arrived to stir things up.

* Gotta love how it wasn’t only Hinata’s dramatic weight loss that prevented Misaki from recognizing him, but also the fact that she didn’t read his name right before. Youkou -> Hinata. Talk about a lifelong misunderstanding.




  1. You know this being light comedy shoujo there is no such thing as a love rival right? I know this is probably obvious already but Misaki x Usui is a given, this new guy is just some added sideshow for the sake of something new. We’ll get some good extra laughs at least.

      1. I think we could get there without introducing a rival, it’s a overdone plot device if you will. But oh well, it seems we’re going to forever be stuck with the same old mix done over and over again.

  2. Shintani is such a Dead Hunger(referring to the filipino word for “Patay Gutom”)

    Let’s compare Misaki’s Riceballs to Hikari Hanazono’s Riceballs, they’re both hard

  3. Aww man! I really wish they’d brought him in sooner. I haven’t read the manga but it would’ve been nice to see him and Usui duke it out throughout the series. Great comedy to be had there. 😛 But I guess he’s going to be the last obstacle those two [Misaki and Usui] face together since there’s only a few episodes left. *sniffles*

    1. Agreed, he would eventually end up making Misa X Usui more likely. And it’s quite obvious that it’s unrequited in Hinata’s case. Misa’s blushing when Hinata hugged her was due to embarrassment, not due to genuine feelings (like when Usui hugs her).

  4. I like Hinata much more than Usui (Abe Atsushi was a good choice I think). Usui’s condescending attitude really bugs the hell out of me.

    Marmalade Boy was supposed to end with the rival winning. Too bad the editor killed that -_-
    There are also manga like Maison Ikkoku or Kimi Shika Iranai where the main character is already the underdog or manga like Honey and Clover where…well you don’t see that comming!
    Or where the love interest just up and dies or is already dead the whole time…

  5. Hinata’s appearance sets the scene for thinking about how suitable Usui is for Misaki… from different worlds and all that. In a sense both Usui and Hinata are opposites of Misaki, so either way “Opposites attract” is applicable!

  6. hmmm gotta agree with everyone. Considering the timing of his introduction and everything, Hinata’s character is more of a character to help progress Misaki & Usui’s relationship. Well, it was pretty much a certainty that it would end up that way since ep1 anyway. Though the one thing that probably was probably abit frustrating was due to the fact that Misaki & Usui’s relationship had stagnated. So the introduction of Hinata is likely gonna serve as a catalyst to spark both Misaki & Usui to move forward with their relationship.

    And although i never really did take much interest in Kanou’s character before, he’s been starting to grow on me quite abit. Though his ‘friendship’ with Yukimura is still abit disturbing, i loved the fact on how he was super perceptive. Its quite a stark contrast to how he was initially when he preferred to mind his own business and keep a low profile. Its like right now he’s trying to push Misaki and Usui along and make them come out of the closet so to speak

  7. Am I the only person who thought the new guy (Hinata?) was a pathetic excuse for a twist? Suddenly introducing a new childhood friend (especially one who’s completely annoying and immature) is a horrible way to move the story along; it bears no connection to the rest of the series, and only adds yet another unnecessary character to a cast who is struggling to feel relevant to the story. They could have at least made him dynamic in some sort of way, but he just spews his childhood story in some random, awkward situation only to tell us “I am a cookie cutter character. My parents are dead, I live alone, and my sole purpose in life is to fulfill a promise I made when I was a kid. Betcha haven’t seen that before eh?!” He needs to die.

    If they need more plot, then how about this: WHO THE F*** IS USUI?! The only thing we know about him is that he’s some badass who is good at everything for no particular reason. He could be a murderer for all I know; he’s in jail during one of the songs for some reason. Is that just because convicts are cool?

    Finally, since when did this become a full blown reverse-harem? Everyone is starting to fall in love with Misaki for reasons beyond me. She’s a total b***h to everyone else as far as I can tell. Misaki and the rest of the cast (aside from Usui surprisingly enough) is starting to get on my nerves. I would say Usui deserves better, but I don’t know sh*t about the guy!

    It started strong, but this show is becoming everything I hate about shojo anime. Yet another one of my favorite animes is beginning to piss me off…

    1. Actually the manga is FINALLY answering that question about who Usui is. But unfortunately, they don’t get around to that until later chapters so I highly doubt that it’ll get animated. They’ve made several cuts in the anime already regarding that. In this episode Usui was supposed to tease Misaki about wanting to know more about him. At this point, she is willing to admit that she IS curious, but doesn’t want to outright ask because that would be “letting him win”. But since they cut that conversation, I’m guessing that we’re not going to be told who Usui is at all…..which really pisses me off. It helps explain why he can do so much and why he is so closed off. (There are, however, huge hints in both ending sequences about his past.)

      So yeah, like you, I did not see the point of introducing Hinata at all. He presents no competition whatsoever and all the progress that Usui and Misaki will make is done on their own without him “stirring things up”. I think it’s pretty telling that he wants nothing to do with her until he finds out her name and who she USED to be.

  8. If I remember correctly he becomes quite persistent. To the point where it seems he might even have a chance. Especially cause Usui is rather wishy washy when it comes to making progress. He actually becomes one of my favorite characters (I’m a sucker for stupid persistence.) But nothing beats the three stooges when they are doing stupid looking flips covered in flowers cause they have a Misa doll.


    That pretty much sums up Hinata’s arrival. He easily surpasses Usui with his eccentricity. Now Usui can no longer afford to dilly-dally around like he normally does.

    Though now he’ll have to be careful not to indulge himself with all the snacks around him now that he’s back in the city, as he only became a skinny hunk thanks to years of eating mostly veggies in the countryside. 🙂

    Wow, just how hard are those onigiri baseballs? You could kill a person with those. lol

    For a while I thought that’s a young Satsuki, but then I noticed she has the same gold eyes like Misaki, while Satsuki had blue eyes.

    Kinny Riddle
  10. Fff~ I love this anime, its a pity it mixes around the order from the manga though. XD

    And Misaki and Usui -so- make me think of Hikari and Kei from Special A. Its a winning combination though~ |D

    1. its 26 episodes~

      anyway the whole concept of a rival should not be taken overtly seriously. We’ve had like wad? 20 episodes of Usui x Misaki, its pretty much a certainty that the pairing has and always will be with them. Its the route they get there. Hinata is juz a character introduced to help move that relationship forward. Albeit a pretty fun one.

  11. i wouldn’t take hinata seriously, i don’t even know why they introduced him in the manga except to pass a few chapters.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    im hoping the anime ends in the festival of the other school >.<

  12. Hmmm it wasn’t the first time that Usui (“perverted stalker”) hugs Misaki when she’s sleeping but it’s still sweet:
    The rice balls Misaki made were probably better tasting than Hikari’s (from Special A), but Misaki couldn’t make the shape of a riceball in the end like Hikari’s.
    I’m loving the new eyecatch for this episode. <3

  13. I actually quite like Hinata, but of course, regardless of how much he might rattle Usui’s cage, we can’t expect THAT much out of this situation, except perhaps Usui finally making his reasons/feelings known… HINATA AND HIS BREAD CRUST TRIMMINGS+MISAKI’S RICE BASEBALLS= WIN!

    1. zzz…. this post is redundant considering the reason was given if u’ve actually bothered to read the review of ep24. I doubt Divine will even bother to reply to this since it can be quite exasperating so i’ll do it for him. Omni was the one blogging on Fairy Tail but has since fully retired from blogging hence there wont be anymore posts on Fairy Tail.

  14. Gotta give props to Kanou for seeing through Misaki and Usui’s relationship. Sure, in the real world anyone would see through their odd behavior together. But given this is anime Kanou has near Aizen Sousuke level insight in picking up on it.

  15. He absolutely reminded me of Luffy, always eating, talking without hesitation, acting cool when it means. Also, I really like his soundtrack (The one from the beginning of the episode). Another funny character in this awesome series. I’m pretty sure there will be a second season btw.


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