「先輩 お着替え おとこのこ」 (Senpai / Okigaeri / Otokonoko)
“Senior / Welcome Back / Boy”
Ayaka might not play as prominent of a role in this episode as the past two, but instead, this week lets us learn about how Yuzu, Sumire, and Yuri live under the same roof as Aki and Ayaka. The trio are symbiotic in their tight friendship, yet the girls are given time away from one another as they interact with Aki, and let themselves either come to understand their new roommate, push him away at the first instance that the boundaries start to get blurred, or use him for their own experiments.
Although most of the girls find comfort in his less-than-manly appearance, Yuzu lets her guard down when she crashes in his room to escape the heat. Little does she know the heat comes back to bite her when she ends up reading an erotic scene from a romance manga on his lap. Of the three girls, Yuzu seems to be one of the only ones so far who is likely to catch feelings for Aki as she finds herself flustered when she’s around him and gets particularly peeved whenever Ayaka is getting too cozy with Aki. At the same time, it’s a relief that the show is willing to shed details on her personal life outside of her interactions with Aki as she faces the struggle of not being allowed to go on roller coasters with her height. Because she regularly updates her hair decoration to go from being an egg to a baby chick, her efforts to evolve that into a fully-grown chicken is all for naught as she’s still rejected from the line. Judging from Sumire’s line about her leading the student council, however, it should be interesting to see how Yuzu is when she’s in president mode, and how she handles serious matters in school.
The nicest surprise of the episode was seeing more of Sumire as she has a lot going for her that isn’t on the surface as a tough-as-nails supervisor who worships Yuzu, but keeps her own hobbies a secret. Through her interactions with Aki, we find that she has a penchant for collecting, keeping, and wearing cute things away from everyone else, and her reaction to anyone who accepts her interest in cuteness is instantaneous excitement. Her quirkiness makes her quite the fun character as she responds in her depressed state to Aki’s cross-dressing by applauding him for having a cute hobby in a dead-pan voice, jumps right into having him change her clothes while she’s depressed without even considering that it’s odd for a guy to do all of this, and gathers inspiration by imagining that she’s carrying Yuzu while she holds Aki on her shoulders, giving her just the right motivation she needs to get out of her funk about not getting to carry her at the amusement park. Sumire’s personality in this episode helps to alleviate one of the concerns that the characters could risk having only fitting into one trait, allowing Sumire to have more to her than being serious and having a soft spot for Yuzu, especially now that she’s become more accustomed to Aki.
We aren’t given as much of Yuki in this episode, but there is a small yet fun segment she has where she misleads Aki into wearing the collection of girls outfits she created specifically for him to wear. Whether someone the series eventually acknowledges the parallels she has with Aki’s sister to her face will be something to look out for when it comes to potential drama in how Aki handles Yuki’s enthusiasm to make more outfits. But for the time being, she proves to be an amusing character whose gleeful charm is counterbalanced with her ulterior motives and the ominous aggression she gives off in the same cheery tone. It’ll also be intriguing to see how she thinks about her role at the lodging house as her often shut eyes are opened up when she is caught off-guard by sharing the closet with Aki and when she places his picture next to their group photo, privately reflecting on how good of a fit he is for the dorm. What shows a lot of potential for Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san to branch out beyond its soft ecchi surroundings is how much dedication the series has had so far in giving the spotlight to its side characters. This promising series of events is what makes the perspective development the cast might face all the more satisfying, and could possibly help the series stand out.