「桜井梨穂子編 第三章 ヒキツギ」 (Sakurai Rihoko-hen Dai Sanshou – Hikitsugi)
“Sakurai Rihoko Chapter 3 – Inheriting”

For a childhood character, there were probably numerous ways they could have spun Rihoko’s story. Going against the norm, it’s already gone beyond the usual Christmas cut-off for a conclusion and made it to New Year’s Day. However, after three episodes, her progression with Junichi has felt far too natural in the sense that not a whole lot is happening. In fact, compared to the previous episode, this one felt like a bit of step back. The skating outing and the Founders Festival during Christmas gave the two of them a chance to be alone together, whereas the focus on inheriting the Tea Ceremony club and the New Year’s shrine visit (Junichi’s thanks for her hand-knit gloves) had Ruri, Manaka, and Miya around. As a result, there wasn’t much of anything in the romance department, save for maybe Rihoko biting Junichi’s finger when he teased her about her ongoing diet. It’s kind of odd how there was such little headway in that regard, given that Ruri and Manaka were actively trying to pair the two of them together with the inheritance of the club as a guise. If I had to try and pinpoint a reason for that, it would likely be because of the time allocated towards the means rather than the end. As mentioned, it did make it seem like a much more plausible progression in their relationship, albeit much like real life tends to be, pretty boring as well. For viewers like us who are following Junichi and Rihoko every step of the way, something is definitely lacking. If I were looking at them from more of an outsider’s perspective (such as Ruri and even Kanae), then I would probably be more understanding of how childhood relationships like Junichi and Rihoko’s doesn’t happen overnight.

While being understandable is one thing, having a compelling romance story is another. In short, I’m not really “feeling it” with this one, even though Rihoko is one of the more believable characters in this series. There’s a real air of innocence in their friendship, which includes how Rihoko didn’t overreact when Junichi’s bath towel dropped right in front of her and how Junichi noticed Rihoko’s voluptuous curves even back in middle school. With that in mind, I do feel they would make a decent couple even if the passion seems to be missing. Of course, part of that may be due to the fact that Junichi is much more reserved around Rihoko since he’s known her for much longer and isn’t quick to suggest kissing her in strange and kinky places. Whatever the case, there’s one more episode to see if there will be anything to heat things up in their relationship. I’m a bit wary about how the final episode in this arc is titled “Goodbye”, but at least we know that Rihoko’s doing what she can within the bounds of her comfort zone. She even went back to the Ema that Junichi gave her to add a wish at the very bottom that her feelings will reach him. Much like the order of her wishes of the Ema, a successful diet and recruitment of new members into the club are highly overshadowing that, but there may be hope yet. I’m not expecting a spectacular finish at this point, but hope to see something that’s as cute as Rihoko humming to her own ending theme and mimicking an idol.




    1. hmmmmm, glutton girls… i like a girl who eats a lot and enjoy food 😀 … but i dont like chubby girls ¬_¬ .. well thats me screwed… a glutton class rep tsukasa wud be good ¬_¬ but i cant see that happening.

  1. Miya fan service. w0w

    but i really love the scene where rihoko eats , eats and eats and forgot to study. This arc is really steady-flowing. I wonder if gift or confession will make their relationship sky rocket

  2. I’m wondering how they are going to end this. There is yet to be any sort of romantic connection between them, or at least coming from him.

    I can’t wait for its conclusion and only two more weeks for the final arc!

  3. Looking at the pictures man they are really childhood friends that will eventually turn into childhood sweethearts. Gahh! Why cant I have that in real life! lol, seriously I have not known anyone who has actually have a childhood friend let alone one in which they end up together. At most I know is being friends since elementary, but still after highschool at university/college even the friendship is all broken apart.

    I would say that even though in anime world, childhood friend arcs or routes or characters are common, what I find attractive about it is how it is almost downright impossible in real life(that they are so close in their childhood and especially if the two ends up together in the end). This is perhaps why I always love the osananajimi characters or story, cuz I know it’s RARE in real life. Unlike other character stereotypes, heck even tsunderes cuz I’ve known a bunch of girls who were like that and even yanderes are true in real life (stalkers for example or just obsessed girls to the point they are psychotic). Popular school girl, shy girls, weird or eccentric girls, etc. you can see or encounter them in real life, but man osananajimi is like freakin fate or destiny or something, you cant choose lol! Unlike the other girl personality’s if you want a tsundere girl, you can find them cuz it’s simply a personality, but a childhood friend is pretty much a setting in your life to which you have no control or choice to. It’s either your lucky you have one or you dont.

      1. @ Divine and Sora no Kaze: Divine’s actually right, a lot of boys when they were really young arent really close to girls for different reasons, one could be cooties belief, could be cuz they get made fun off if they hang out with girls instead of boys, they just dont have the same interest, or could be that they would rather prefer to hang out with boys than girls, lots of reasons why.

        Which is why I always like the childhood friend route in the anime world no matter how cliche or redundant they might be now after loads of shows features an osananajimi character, where the main guy has a childhood friend (a girl of course lol ^^, I dont really give a dam about guy childhood friends) where the guy is really close to the girl (perhaps even her family as well) since childhood that they continue this when they are older is practically something that will perhaps only happen in the anime world. A lot of anime viewers probably get sick or tired of the childhood friend routes but I for once, never do, cuz unlike tsunderes, yanderes, kuuderes, etc. which are personality or character traits, a childhood friend is a setting that is just too good to be true and downright even impossible in real life. Osananajimis FTW!

  4. Well, I do believe that the arc has done a nice job of moving the audience towards an ending, the more they pull at our strings, the more we want to see an ending.

    Hopefully, they do fill the void, and from the other arcs, I don’t think that they will dissapoint

  5. I enjoy the change of pace since it leaves people who have seen the other arcs to wonder is this going to even happen…it’s almost like the other arcs before stepped up the pacing one by one just to get the brakes slammed on in this version.

  6. I quite like this episode. It showed more of Rihoko’s cuteness and the childhood aspect which is what I like about her. Although I have to agree that there has been slow development in their relationship with this episode (given that we only have four), this is still a one-sided romance on Rihoko’s part, and Junichi has yet to discover that he has feelings for her. I believe it would be quite difficult to develop a romantic relationship with only one person interested, but when Junichi does realise that he loves her, their relationship should jump, and hopefully this arc ends with a nice and sweet ending, like childhood friendship/lovers.

  7. seems like Rihoko’s character design gets better with each episode. and like you said, Divine, not really feeling it either. Now I just want to hurry up and get to the next arc

    Miya service, however, was all win. nishishishi~

  8. it is so sweet that Rihoko added the last wish…
    the “goodbye” title certainly adds an interesting spin on things… but hope their relationship turns out for the better 🙂
    though a bit slow paced, I still like the normal and cute feeling of this arc…

    1. I bet the “goodbye” title means goodbye to the girls leaving the tea club. Also if he was to see her written New Years Message “I hope my feelings will reach him” it might dawn on him whats going on.

  9. If you actually think about it, its kind of sad how Rihoko ends up seeing him with someone else in all the other alternative endings but her. The other girls (maybe the not the class rep though), dont really care since they only got feelings for him in their arc, but Rihoko is different.

  10. I think the arc has been okay and a nice departure from previous arcs, which definitely had a bit more lust going on.

    Aside from that, Rihoko’s arc has also made me like Kanae and Manaka a lot more for some reason, lol. (Like Haruka and Ai only made me like Hibiki more too.)

  11. I knew there was something “wrong” with the development, it is slow!

    Hang in there Tea Club! Manaka and Ruriko FTW, we have another club member!?

    Despite not being a “Super Arc” it is pretty solid.

    Lectro Volpi
  12. There’s hardly any romance in this arc.. kinda disappointing since there’s been a lot of feelings in previous arcs when it’s up to chapter 3. I seriously agree that I can’t feel anything between these two.
    Don’t wanna say this, but Rihoko is becoming my least favourite… I can’t seem to get used to her voice actress either.

  13. Rihoko’s finger nibbling may have had its kinkiness reduced (thanks to Ai’s “ramen pron” scene), but in emphasizing the innocence of her relationship with Junichi, I guess the reduced kinkiness of the scene was for the best.

    Anyway, to those waiting for Tsukasa’s arc, hang in there! Only one more episode to go!

  14. I liked this arc the best so far, simply because Junichi is a pretty normal person in this arc. I think MY heart will be broken if they don’t hook up at the end of the next episode, I’ve officially decided that Rihoko is my favourite heroine.


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