「love me do!」
It’s episode four, so you know what that means: love triangle time! Well that and Pancakes has picked up citrus for the long haul, but really, love triangle! And with the childhood friend! I did promise Himeko (henceforth Momo, because best name) would spice the already flavourful hotpot and she certainly did in more than one way. Citrus may be as generic as all hell, but this show plays up the tropes for all it’s worth.
Ignoring the cathartic satisfaction of seeing Mei the victim of sexual aggression for once—Yuzu’s smooch previously doesn’t count—Momo’s real introduction represents the first shift in citrus’ tone. Mei no longer is acting in a vacuum, able to somewhat dictate the actions of Yuzu. With Momo reacting to a serious threat to her self-perceived turf, Mei must for once consider what she wants in her relationships. We already know the obvious of course (i.e. the girl wants attention), but Mei hasn’t really realized this herself yet, she thought Yuzu was fun to play around with, until the tables wound up turned at the end of last week. Now with Momo making a play of her own, Mei must actually choose: stick with the girl who she’s known for over a decade, or go with the new sister. Contrary to first thought it’s not that easy a decision, both girls have their upsides and downsides, with rejection of either essentially upending a part of Mei’s life she took for granted. Reject Yuzu and wind up with a terrible family situation again, or reject Momo and lose a source of quiet, but enthusiastic, support. No surprise the show left off on a cliff hanger for this conundrum (need that drama), although the keen eyed can probably deduce which way Mei is leaning given her actions…and the fate of other childhood friends. Why try isolating the problem from Yuzu if you thought her less than the childhood friend?
As for why Momo came onto Mei in the first place, well, there’s certainly stranger reasons. Personally I’m not convinced Momo even loves Mei in the “more than friends” capacity, her protective attitude seems platonic, a relationship born from smug monopoly (Mei has not been shown possessing many friends) rather than lustful desire. The only reason Momo likely went after Mei so hard is that Yuzu had wedged herself so firmly in between the two (as Momo saw it) that our curly haired competition’s only recourse was to go all in. We won’t officially know for an episode or two yet of course, but I bet you Momo is acting out more from self-preservation than any intense desire—Mei is her friend and by hell no blonde gyaru is going to upset 10 years of carefully nurtured care and affection. Well, at least what Momo thinks is care and affection. I don’t know about you, but a close friend refusing to talk to you about anything for a prolonged period of time likely isn’t a friend at all. Unfortunately for Momo, she’s likely to find out this lesson the hard way.
Better pepper your angus boys and girls, there be a pure love showdown brewing and there can only be one survivor.