「嘘つき嘘たろ」 (Usotsuki Usotarou)
It’s crunch time for Fuutarou and the Nakano sisters as this episode continues the central conflict of the midterm arc by making sure the girls ace their exams to save his job. While the last episode left a window of uncertainty as to whether the girls would be passionate about studying, let alone if they really wanted Fuutarou to stick around, Episode 07 gives the girls more leg-room to show their appreciation for Fuutarou’s tutoring and give him an opportunity to strengthen his bond with the sisters by reaffirming his dedication to helping them out.
They might not have aced every exam across the board, but the exams did give each of the girls a better understanding of the subjects they enjoy and what they should focus on in study sessions. Yotsuba seems to be the weakest link since she ballparks a chunk of her answers, but Fuutarou sees potential in her dedication and energy if she relaxes and pays attention during her exams and study sessions. Even if Nino had a change-of-heart about not deliberately bombing the exam, she still hadn’t paid enough attention to her subjects to do anything more than just wing it based on her own knowledge. The Achilles heel in Ichika’s test-taking skills is racing to the end in spite of getting better grades than most of the girls. The crux of Itsuki’s issues with taking exams is the opposite as she spends too much time on a question that she is unable to answer the rest of them in due time. And despite doing the best out of the rest of the girls because she has the most interest in Fuutarou, Miku is too focused on her strongest subject, Social Studies, that she neglects to strengthen her skills in her other coursework.
While the sisters’ strengths and weaknesses in their scholarly pursuits are fleshed out further in this episode, their decision to rise up to the occasion for Fuutarou is also emphasized as one of the many life changes that the girls are working on. It’s no secret that Fuutarou’s tutoring has mostly helped the Nakano sisters with their personal lives, so their investment in paying it forward to him is shown mainly through what they’re willing to give him in return. Although the girls have been more apt to studying when he’s around, Miku has been trying to make it more of a lifestyle effort for her to make studying a habit. The last episode was rough on Itsuki for having her feel upset about Fuutarou’s harsh remarks to her, but they also drove her to take an active role in improving her grades and, after he came back to their condo to help her study, gave her enough motivation to want to make sure that he doesn’t get fired. After getting her foot in the door with having more heart-to-heart time with Fuutarou, Ichika had enough leeway to try to lead him back to the condo to make up with Itsuki and encounter Miku again. However, Nino plays the most pivotal role in the episode by being the one to tell her dad that Fuutarou needs to stay around because they all passed an exam because of him. Her shift from wanting to kick him out to wanting him to stay aboard is relatively quick, but it is a welcome change of pace for her to be less abraisive to him.
What it means for future episodes will be something to keep track of as it’s the first of many exams that Fuutarou will have to prepare the girls to take on. With the sisters studying at a frequent pace thanks to his influence, it will be neat to see if they are able to keep up the momentum of not trying to goof off while they go over their course material. The episode also had some fun scenes where the sisters dressed up as one another with Itsuki getting a makeover to look like Miku in a bid to get Fuutarou to help her studying without being too direct after their awkward fight. The funniest moment had to be when the sisters slipped past their guidance teacher by impersonating the one girl who made it to school on-time, Yotsuba. And since Yotsuba is the group’s Genki girl, it was hilarious to see each of the girls (and Fuutarou) try their hand at her signature greeting. They might be comical moments, but the potential should be spicy if they end up using their disguises to pursue Fuutarou or navigate around a sticky situation.