「桜井梨穂子 前編 ユウグレ」 (Sakurai Rihoko Zenpen — Yuugure)
“Sakurai Rihoko, First Chapter — Evening”
I don’t approve of an overly perverted Junichi taking advantage of younger girls like we saw in Sae’s chapter, but when it comes to Rihoko, I have to concede that the hornier he is the better. That is, if she has any hope of getting out of the dreaded friend zone. Junichi took notice to her rapidly developing bust size before, so being reminded of it here was a good thing for Rihoko, even if she’s too innocent to realize what’s going on in his mind. What’s worrisome — at least for someone who wants to see Rihoko get the ending that she was so cruelly deprived of in season one — is that Junichi still doesn’t seem to see her as anything more than a childhood friend, judging from how he’ll tease her about her weight (i.e. one of the most taboo things to do to a girl). While we saw a glimpse of something more, there wasn’t much to suggest that was anything other than a one-off perverted thought. The romance element simply isn’t there and it doesn’t look like Rihoko’s going to be brave enough to throw herself at Junichi anytime soon, which already has me fearing a repeat of what we saw before.
What’s keeping things interesting (and my hopes alive) is the inclusion of desperate yet driven Makabe (Kawabe Shunsuke). He was rather forceful with the way he asked Rihoko out on a whim, but didn’t come off nearly as conceited as he originally had me believe. It looked like he more or less gave up when Rihoko said she has someone she likes, so I don’t think Junichi will have to step in next time and save her from getting hit on. What I’m hoping though is that this opens Junichi’s eyes to the fact that other guys see Rihoko as a very attractive girl and makes him curious about who she likes. I gather he didn’t make out what Rihoko said with the train passing overhead — much like we didn’t — but did catch the lead-in portion about how she already has someone she likes, meaning it’ll be a topic of discussion when she comes over to cook for him and Miya next time. If you ask me, I say it damn well better be with Kanae (Matsuoka Yuki), Ruriko (Satou Izumi), and Manaka (Harada Hitomi) taking a very hands-off approach in encouraging Rihoko.
At the moment, Rihoko’s biggest enemy is time. There wasn’t really anything in this first half to suggest that they’re headed toward a couple’s direction, so unless they really hit it off at dinner, I can’t see things ending well for Rihoko. The preview doesn’t really give us any indication one way or the other either, which means we could be in for a pleasant surprise or another big disappointment. The mere thought of that already has me a bit antsy. I know the whole childhood friend bit is overused in anime, but come on! It feels so wrong to only have the childhood friend left out — and in Amagami’s omnibus format no less. AIC better pull through for me next time or my post will be on how heartless anime producers can be.
ED2 Sequence & End Card