「マスターは垣間見たい!」 (Masutaa wa Kaimamitai!)
“The Master Wants a Glimpse!”
Episode 02 Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! acts as a clearer proof-of-concept for the series by providing better chemistry and funnier scenarios between Uzaki and Sakurai. Whereas the first episode gave a basic gist of what Uzaki’s intentions are with Sakura, this one gives us more insight into who Sakurai is outside of school and how Uzaki’s decision to gravitate towards Sakurai affects his daily life.
While Sakurai came off as cold and joyless in Uzaki-chan’s premiere, this episode sheds more light on his personality and how he keeps finding himself humoring much of Uzaki’s requests, much to his chagrin. His loner status seems to exist merely through his personality on-campus as he finds solitude in working part-time at a coffee shop and hunkering down with the latest games. There is also a layer of loneliness to his own personality as he feels less fulfilled for never being able to have a pet of his own. It was nice to see that they were able to give Sakurai at least a little depth by going into why he gets emotionally swept up when he tries to pet a cat.
One thing that makes their relationship interesting is how a vulnerability, while amusing, is not completely off the table for the two. When Uzaki hears about the cat, she immediately changes the course to try to catch the cat so that he’ll be able to pet one that day. On the same coin, Sakurai still takes it upon himself to help Uzaki study whenever she asks him to at the cafe regardless of how he feels about her. The relationship between Sakurai and Uzaki is still hostile due to her invasiveness and his aloofness, but it’s interesting to see how things could work out depending on the circumstances based on Uzaki’s empathy and Sakurai’s inability to turn his back on her or ignore her attention.
What enhances their chemistry is how they rely on one another to let off some steam. Some of the funnier moments in the episode come from both Uzaki and Sakurai dishing it out to each other. Uzaki’s annoying personality ended up being hilarious this time around at the cafeteria. It was hard not to laugh when she poured an entire pot of tea into a small cup as soon as she heard he was meeting friends and then started silently giving SOS signals to Sakurai while he keeps a poker face and pretends he’s meeting friends.
At the same time, Sakurai ended up being way funnier in this episode with his self-awareness (and lack thereof) towards his actions. The beginning cafe segment ended up being our first glance at a Sakurai with a sense of humor as he singles Uzaki out as the one customer that he wants to give a hard time with a wholesome smile. His attitude even ended up gaining a fan with his boss, who is far too amused with his employee’s relationship with his buxom college friend to not let the two bicker at each other while he watched them from afar.
The funniest moment of the episode was also his most colossal screw-up as he grabbed Uzaki by the hips and started jerking her towards his crotch to help her out of the bushes she got stuck in. It clearly looks wrong, but it isn’t until a passerby freaks out at the ensuing thrusting, causing him to completely give up on everything. For someone who became flustered as soon as Uzaki mentioned wanting to go over his house to play video games, he also has a number of moments where he is unaware of how he looks when he’s interacting with Uzaki.
Although they quickly establish the cafe owner as being a little too excited about Uzaki’s mature physique, his point-of-view is the easiest to relate to because of how eager he is to see Sakurai and Uzaki get to know each other more. It was nice to see this episode’s jokes land a lot more frequently and hit hard a lot more consistently. It’ll be exciting to see how they build off of this momentum with more hijinks from Uzaki & Sakurai.