「あたしの中の……」 (Atashi no Naka no……)
“The Inner Me……”
Visually, Shiori’s arc is undoubtedly the slowest and most uneventful one thus far. However, despite the absolute dearth of things happening on screen, I still find myself amused by how long Keima will stand quietly in front of her, trying to figure out what she’s thinking, only for her to eventually walk off without a word. It’s almost as if Shiori’s giving him the cold shoulder, except we as the viewers are privy to her monologue of thoughts and know that’s not the case. Keima of course is not, given the so-called “inconveniences” of the 3D world, even though he realizes that there is one going on in her mind. Because of that, it just looks odd from an outside perspective like Elsie’s when Keima upsets Shiori by suggesting that books should all be digitized to save space. Her confused look over what Keima was trying to achieve by pissing her off turned out to be one of the fun things to watch for, which continued on for the rest of the episode as well. So between Shiori’s long pauses of silence and Elsie’s doubt that Keima’s plan is work, it was surprisingly enough to make this follow-up episode fairly interesting.
Be that as it may, I do feel they could have done without expanding on Shiori’s love of books even further. Throwing in a naked fairy version of herself did help spice it up a bit this time though. The actual relevant development came from the impending creation of a media room that the library committee is all for, except Shiori since it comes at the expense of more books being disposed to make space for it. Going alongside that was Shiori getting her inner and outer thoughts mixed up to the point that she inadvertently told Keima off for writing in books. On paper, that doesn’t seem like much — and even on screen it feels a bit lacking — but it looks like the next episode will conclude around saving the books that Shiori loves so much and getting her to open up more. Seeing as the best moments of each arc come when Keima spouts some amazingly cheesy lines and the girls react to them, I’ll reserve judgement of this arc as a whole until I see the conclusion of it. From what I can tell based on these past two episodes, it’s been a fairly straightforward progression without any indication it will change. As such, I’m not expecting any really surprising developments hereon in, other than some “real” interaction between her and Keima. The scene near the end with the two of them finally introducing themselves served as a good lead-in towards that, so I’m looking forward to seeing that pick up a bit more next time. Shiori is cute and all when she’s quiet, but a talking Shiori with a tendency to fumble her words is even cuter.
To tide things over, Elsie’s been fulfilling her role as the “useless sidekick” really well. Be it coming off that way for reading firetruck books or rhetorically question who Keima thinks he is for refusing to accept clichéd librarian girls, her involvement has been a breath of fresh air as things slowly trudge along. I can’t help but wonder how interesting (read: uninteresting) these first two episodes would have been without her, especially considering how she sort of stole the spotlight last episode. Mind you, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like how Shiori’s story is progressing, but simply that I’m appreciative of these side antics that help it along. As mentioned above, it’s cute seeing Shiori squirm about contemplating whether she should speak up. Now that she can to Keima, I’d imagine that unsociable shyness in her personality will be even better. That’s what I want to see, so hopefully the next episode delivers.