「桜井梨穂子編 第二章 テツダイ」 (Sakurai Rihoko-hen Dai Nishou – Tetsudai)
“Sakurai Rihoko Chapter 2 – Helper”
Thus far, Rihoko’s arc has definitely been one of the more unassuming ones. Because of their childhood history, not a whole lot has been developing on the relationship front; however, I’m still anticipating the “big moment” to creep up on me amidst all the Tea Ceremony Club stuff. While things slowly work towards that, what’s noteworthy is the vastly different progression that takes place because of the friendship that Junichi and Rihoko already have. To me, it comes off as one of the more believable high school relationships, because it’s the hesitant pairing that all their friends are trying to help along. Continuing on from their efforts last time, Kanae and Umehara were two key individuals in that regard, while the seniors Ruri and Manaka pretty much took over from that point on. I don’t think anyone was expecting to use Rihoko’s voluptuous breasts to open Junichi’s eyes to the prospect of seeing her as something more, but it was pretty funny to see how that worked out. To a hormone-pumping teenager who’s trying to stay respective of his friend, that was nicely followed up with the one-two kimono knockout punch combo, care of Ruri herself. Personally, I was wowed by how good Rihoko looked in that kimono with her hair up just as much as I was by the flexibility she displayed. I still find that she doesn’t quite have the allure as some of the other girls who started off much more detached from Junichi, but as a childhood friend character, she’s definitely made me take notice to a lot of her cuter points in these past two episodes.
Coming fresh off of Ai’s arc, I couldn’t help but notice how she was working the oden booth alone during the Founder’s Festival. As a clearly biased individual towards her, Miya and Sae’s short visit spelled nothing but “missed opportunity” in my mind. Much along the same lines was seeing Kaoru at her part-time job, who seems to be sidelined more than the other girls in the other arcs. All that reiterated to me though was how the omnibus format really does make one appreciate each of the characters more, which is something that would’ve been highly overshadowed had this been adapted into a single storyline. Admittedly, the more I see of how it changes my perspective on romance/drama series, the more I’m leaning towards it as my preferred adaptation style. Yosuga no Sora has followed suit with its slightly different take on multiple endings, and much like Amagami, it has me looking forward to future arcs just as much as the current one. On that note, Tsukasa continues to ramp up her cameo time in the arcs leading up to the big finale involving her own, and it turned out to be pretty funny this time around because her perceptive nature didn’t save her from Rihoko’s dearth of administrative know-how. While that clearly doesn’t bode well for the future of the Tea Ceremony Club, the sight of Tsukasa in a less than perfect state has me looking forward to what will become of her composure in the face of a “wild animal” like Junichi. 🙂 (He had boobs on his mind at a young age it would seem.)
As for Rihoko, it looks like her story will continue revolving around he succession of the club and how that brings Junichi into the picture. On the surface, it still feels like a somewhat slow and unromantic approach, but I originally felt the same way about Kaoru’s arc and her problems with her mother and that ended up being one of my favorite endings so far. As such, I’m looking to the childhood friend character pulling a big surprise before this is all said and done, during which her playfulness should make things more interesting. Rihoko, faito!