「始まりの写真」 (Hajimari no Shashin)
“The Picture that Started it All”
Following exam week, Fuutarou has his work cut out for him in Episode 08 as he figures out what his battle strategy should be from here. However, with explosive revelations coming left and right in this episode, Go-Toubun is looking to shift its focus on character relationships with many more allusions to both the idea of one of the sisters marrying him and one of the sisters knowing him in the past back when they were kids.
In a change of pace, this episode gives some attention to Fuutarou, who is having a problem of his own when his student handbook goes missing in the Nakano’s condo. While it may just seem like your standard handbook, it has a photo of Fuutarou from back when he was a child, when he took on a blonder, rougher appearance. Fuutarou taking after his dad’s rebellious looks explains how his mindset was during his childhood, but also lets us understand that at some point between then and now, he made the resolve to change himself away from the delinquent look and take up a far more studious demeanor. Some of his mischevious behavior does come out in this episode when he aims to get revenge on the classmates who got him to be a part of the haunted house by scaring them. It does explain why he’s got a harder edge to him than other harem protagonists with how assertive he is, but applying his attitude towards getting the girls to study helps to flesh out Fuutarou’s character and show how he was able to channel his younger, rowdier self into his current, studious persona.
Episode 08 also developed some of the Nakano sisters too as Yotsuba finally gets some time to herself with Fuutarou. So far, we’ve only gotten scenes where Yotsuba has cheered Fuutarou on from a distance while outright ignoring her studying. That changes in this episode with how she plays a pivotal role in trying to get on Fuutarou’s good side, starting with a failed attempt to get Nino and Itsuki to study by pretending that he’s gravely ill. For a positive change of pace, Yotsuba is also able to prioritize her studying to a larger degree as she puts basketball on-hold for the time being until she catches up with her education. For a spicer twist, we got a “confession” out of Yotsuba. It would definitely complicate matters if it was an earnest confession with Miku trying to get with him. But whether her insistence that she was kidding was a joke or not, it sure took Fuutarou aback.
What is fascinating about Episode 08 are the implications it has towards the future. This episode was a chance for Nino to get back into the fold as Fuutarou had the chance to pierce her ears if it meant she wouldn’t look at his handbook. She was smitten by the older look Fuutarou had since she loves the bad boys, but with Fuutarou insisting that he was a relative, it put their particular development on-hold. He’s still keeping the door open considering that he was anticipating having her meet the guy in the picture someday. When she left the room, it’s revealed that part of the image was obscured specifically because the other side of the picture had a girl who is one of the Nakano sisters next to him. That brings in two mysteries for the series: “Who is the bride?” and “Which sister is the girl in the photo?” While there were other key moments in the episode such as Ichika being the first girl to ask for his email address (and threatening to send a picture of him sleeping on her lap if he didn’t gather the others), Miku making overbaked croquettes that Fuutarou ended up liking anyways, and Fuutarou cursing in English, this was an episode that ended on an explosive note that will eventually pave the way towards the series’ greatest mysteries being answered.