Our second episode of Araburu deals with the aftermath of Kazusa discovering Izumi’s masturbation habits as she tries to hash out what this means for her attraction to him. Meanwhile, the rest of the girls continue to be shaken up by their own personal discoveries as Hitoha must deal with the handicap of being an erotic novelist with no experience of real sex and Rika must consolidate between the part of her that wants to cast away any thottery that comes her way and the part of her that might be slowly falling in love.
I wanted to begin by bringing up Rika since her subplot does a lot to shake things up for the puritanical club president and threaten her way of life by getting the chance to be more sociable. Although she’s being hammered hard by her classmates who still have a chip on their shoulder about Rika’s stand-offish behavior, the one girl who insults her the hardest is the most fascinating of the bunch. In spite of making an audible side-comment about Rika breaking her hymen that personally offended her enough to storm out in tears, she seemed oblivious and ignorant to the offensiveness of it, sounding more concerned if the possibility was true than being satisfied that she tore Rika down a peg. It seems as if there’s a chance that she could turn a new leaf and try to mingle with Rika once the fervor dies down and give Rika someone who will make sure her classmates stop giving her a hard time.
In a twist of events, however, Rika running away to cool herself off gave her the opportunity to be alone with Shun, a boy in her class who had a hunch that she was far prettier than she seemed. The relentless insults that Rika have built up a complex about her that make her feel like she was put on this earth to be an unattractive shrew. But with how Shun spends a majority of his screentime with Rika complimenting her looks and casually flirting with her, it adds to the complicated relationship that Rika has with herself, romance, and sexuality. She feels like she should be the authoritative killjoy and her composure is the glue that holds the fabric of the entire student body together. But through all of her ranting about needing to come up with other words for “sex” and her outright disgust in the sexually active students in her class, Shun is the one person to make her feel like she would want to be seen as cute or attractive. Of course, there are many things that can go wrong with the whole “you’d be prettier with makeup” or “you’d be prettier if you smiled” outlook that the plot is steering towards, but of all the girls’ subplots, Rika’s is the most interesting to me because of how she handles someone being in love with her and how it forces her to start seeing herself as more than just a plain-looking party pooper who couldn’t possibly be desireable or resemble a model from a magazine.
Because Kazusa is acting as our focal point of the story, the episode mainly involves how she rationalizes her love for Izumi and what his interest in pornography means for his moral character. Kazusa always envisioned that she was more of a family friend and a caretaker for Izumi to make sure he gets out of trouble, but her attachment to him and her insistence that she understands who exactly he is as a person begs to question if she’s starting to see herself as far more than just a friend. Niina has made it known that she is acting as both a mediator and an instigator for the girls as she spends the episode using her experience acting with erotic scripts to give Kazusa the means to understand her feelings for Izumi. Niina helps particularly to give Kazusa a front-row seat to Izumi not quite rejecting a girl he is uninterested in. But in the process of watching him give her a half-hearted confirmation that he may one day sort out who he likes, it plants a seed in Kazusa’s head that makes her fear for the worst. The idea that his answer would hint at his ambivalence towards love could possibly backfire for her, especially if he ends up being the kind of guy who would go into a relationship purely out of sexual attraction. Is Kazusa finding out that the boy of her dreams ever since she was a child is growing up to be a playboy and a bachelor? Would Izumi be the type of guy who has a different girl every day of the week? Is her reality falling apart because the image she shaped around Izumi is quickly being perverted by his budding interest in sexuality? By the end of the episode, she’s left with only more questions racking through her mind when she comes to terms with her love for Izumi. And with the Literature Club risking termination unless they get a supervisor and prove to the principal that they aren’t deliberately reciting explicit material in their club, there is more at risk for the girls while they trudge through this new and dangerous phase in their lives.