「今日はお疲れ」 (Kyo wa Otsukare)
“Good Work Today”

Following the girls’ decision to live in squalor to keep Fuutarou as their tutor, Episode 05 switches gears by having the sisters re-establish their relationship with him. Although they’re currently in times of peace, the turmoil the sisters face in this episode is from within.

Quick pacing can be a double-edged sword. It might help shorten a bloated arc, but it might also skip through vital information that makes-or-breaks the direction of an adaptation. In the case of Episode 05, the mini-arc where the girls bought a cheap condo flew by quickly as this episode was used to give us a more thorough understanding of what the girls are going through emotionally before the story is committed enough to advance towards the next stage of the plot.

I also don’t know where else to put this, but what was up with the sound effects in this episode? In the early parts of the episode, there was a scene where Fuutarou eats an éclair or cream-filled doughnut, and the sound it makes is this Nickelodeon glopping “SPLAT!” sound that completely took me out. It was easily the most I’ve laughed from an episode of Go-Toubun no Hanayome.

Episode 05 calls into question what kind of impact Fuutarou’s tutoring has had on the Nakano sisters, and with the looming threat of possibly losing him as a tutor, it appears that each of them is considering themselves as more than just his pupils. This is most apparent by how much each of them smothers him as soon as the tutoring session begins at their new pad.

In fact, it’s odd how overbearingly thirsty each of the sisters are for him considering how it was only just recently that they haven’t been trying to kick him out of their home or distracting him from his lessons. Miku has always been obsessed with him since he got to know her so it’s understandable that she gets competitive or makes suggestive noises as she crosses her legs and thinks about his face. Same with Ichika, who’s impression of him from the festival situation and the camping trip would make her want to warm up to him.

But all of the other sisters start to get competitive as far as what they can do for him or how blushy they’re willing to get around him. As soon as Ichika offered a massage, all of the other girls were exceedingly quick to get their hands on him too as if they’re all ready to make the moves on him. Yotsuba goes so far as to steal his first kiss on the cheek when she decides the optimal solution to wipe cream off of Fuutarou’s face is picking it off with her lips. It’s astounding that the girls went from being standoffish to melting into a puddle of mush as soon as Fuutarou arrives.

On a more positive note, it was also an episode that gave us a clearer gist of what the girls wanted to do with themselves. Itsuki makes it loud and clear that she wants to become a teacher and maintain the same level of care she has for her sisters towards her students.

Yotsuba’s dream of being a grocer was out of left field as was Miku’s dream to become a maid, but it makes sense based on where they’re coming from at this point in time. Yotsuba’s aspirations have been wavering since she lost her commitment towards full-time sports-related activities, and Miku wants to be within close enough proximity to food that she could learn the ropes without putting herself front-and-center when her cooking is notoriously bad. In comparison, we get the first main instance where Nino mentions having a life-long dream of having a bakery of her own where she would be able to maintain a business around her skills as a chef.

It’s nice to see considering that it’d be hard to tell that students that have lagged behind this far would imagine a future that didn’t involve getting constantly bailed out by those who are protecting them from their lackluster grades. It becomes a sore spot for Fuutarou considering that he resents how their father has a backup school in the wings because he has zero faith in Yotsuba’s abilities as a student.

It is also our first main instance of seeing their abrasive father Maruo, played by the masterful Takaya Kuroda, but his presence in this episode serves to give Itsuki the responsibility of negotiating with Maruo while Yotsuba learns to stand up for herself as she ends up honoring the ultimatum that Maruo had towards keeping Fuutarou’s services. He also gave Fuutarou a nice scene where he tells Maruo to take his job and shove it, but that only solidified Maruo’s hatred for his future son-in-law.

As a biased fan of Ichika, I’m willing to be more lenient towards this episode because it has one of my favorite scenes where Fuutarou gets first-hand experience of seeing Ichika’s acting. It serves to give us a glimpse at the kind of roles she’s been regulated towards with her ability to bring out a completely different vibe as an ill-fated schoolgirl who loves sweets as much as she hates thinking. Despite the numerous times she’s been cast in horror films as fodder to be unceremoniously killed off, Ichika excels as an actress because of her chameleon-like ability to get deep enough into her roles that she barely notices any outside factors such as having to taste Fuutarou’s horrible cooking.

At the same time, her acting talents are an ironic skill for her to have considering how it plays into her conflicted feelings. Even she has a difficult time acting through her embarrassment towards being seen by Fuutarou, especially when she knows he sees her acting as a distraction from her education and that she’s taking on the cruddy roles to afford living near Fuutarou.

But her acting also clues us in as to how Ichika is a character that finds herself having to act off-camera, and her talents also serve to help her hide her feelings. Because of the changes Fuutarou has been going through to show more admiration to Ichika for having such a strong work ethic, it makes it all the more interesting to see how Ichika tries to manage the emotional attachment she has towards him.

A recurring character trait for Ichika is how she’s a wonderful actress, but because she incorporates her acting into suppressing her feelings, she’s a terrible liar. In this particular case, she pretends to be exhausted just so she can draw herself closer to him, but rather than feeling proud of herself for making the moves on him, she’s overwrought with guilt. It’s partially because she feels like she shouldn’t have these emotions for him, especially if she was trying to get Miku closer to him.

At the same time, it’s also because she can’t find it in herself to honestly express her true feelings to Fuutarou. Not when she tries to push herself into the mold of being an older sister figure that isn’t hiding a flustered, blubbering romantic behind her confidence and bravado. She’s such a fascinating character and one of the most complex characters in the series because of how sympathetic yet flawed she can be when she has to confront her tendencies to suppress her emotions, and how her acting talents play into her fatal flaw of lying to herself and those around her about how she feels.

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