With Rikuo and Shinako coming to terms with their feelings for one another, now it is time for those with unrequited crushes to find out.
|Writer(s)||Fujiwara Yoshiyuki, Tanaka Jin|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
What Held Us Back Before – Shinako, Rikuo
With it being three months since Shinako and Rikuo started dating, there is a certain level of comfort now. Not the kind which would allow for intimacy, as Rikuo would like, but a new level of friendship which allows Shinako to be honest. However, the honesty she presents is why, until now, she hasn’t looked at Rikuo as a potential partner.
The reason? Well, she saw him as a loser. In college, she had to do so much for him, and then afterwards, while no longer his alarm clock or lowkey taking care of him, he hadn’t really change since their college days. However, now there is something nice about him doing more, pursuing a career, yet still being the guy who could give her consistency and be someone reliable.
What Held Us Back Now – Shinako, Rikuo, Rou
But, while she is falling for Rikuo, they aren’t intimate, nor is their relationship necessarily public. Mind you, they go out on dates, go to each other’s place, but Shinako still hasn’t told Rou. In fact, she seems to be dreading the idea which sucks because Rou, whose optimism is too far beyond, is still planning his life around Shinako being accessible to him. Heck, maybe even them becoming something after he goes to college, gets a job, and his own place.
Which for Rikuo makes things awkward, for he doesn’t want them to be a secret. Yet, one of the most significant people in Shinako’s life knows nothing about who she is with, never mind it is him.
This Isn’t The Type Of Thing People Should Accidently Discover – Rou, Shinako, Haru, Rikuo
That is until the end of the episode when Shinako is trying to reassure Rikuo, and Rou walks up on them having a moment. With that, you can see he is pissed, but him being mad does not compare to Haru, who also learns of Rikuo’s relationship, and her devastation.
You see, Haru experienced a break-in, and with Rikuo coming over right away, that gave her hope. And you know with Haru, all she needs is a little hope, and that’ll fuel her fantasy through days, weeks, and through callous comments. However, when trying to thank Rikuo for being there for her, she sees Shinako with Rikuo, and it hits her. Especially since Shinako is weird about it.
So, after noting Shinako held onto Rikuo, and maybe implying she didn’t have a chance since Shinako never let Rikuo go, it seems she is done. That whole idea of friendship, it may not come to pass. And to really show how she is upset, it seems she quit her job at the Milk Hall, without leaving a means to find her. So when Rikuo is feeling a bit guilty, now the only option is going to Haru’s home. Which, with him dating Shinako, is inappropriate, so who knows if he may go that far to make amends.
Haru and Rou Know The Truth
There has long been the question of not “If” Haru and Rou would find out, but more so “When” and “How?” Because, for Haru especially, their storylines largely dealt with trying to reach that next level. Haru has bent over backward, with minimal development, for everything was about winning Rikuo’s love, making the most of the small acts of kindness, and not allowing one callous statement to be an outright rejection. But now she is forced to really evaluate if Rikuo can’t be someone who is with her romantically, is she capable of being friends with him?
Then with Rou, there is a need to accept that, Shinako, at best, can be like an older sister. Which is a challenge I can’t forsee him ever being able to accept but there is a key difference between Rikuo’s relationship with Haru and Shinako’s with Rou – Shinako genuinely cares about Rou. Rikuo is often guilted into caring, as shown by him staying after the break-in. Shinako recounts and fears making Rou mad.
Now, mind you, part of the reason for that is they represent a sense of home without having to go home. Plus, Rou is the younger brother of the last person Shinako loved. However, it is time to see if the fear of being cut off is the reason Shinako was skating on thin ice or a genuine connection to Rou, and his father.
The Switch Not Instantly Flipping From Friends To More
Going from friends to kissing and being intimate isn’t a light switch. Depending on how the relationship was before, it means the dynamic has to change, expectations, and you are removing some of the old boundaries. Which can be difficult for some since feelings are now involved. You can’t be overly honest, like Shinako was about thinking Rikuo’s a loser since things are a bit deeper now.
So as much as you recognize Shinako is dealing with moving on from her never really was an ex, there is also the preparation needed to see Rikuo in an intimate, if not sexual, way. Something that wasn’t there a few months ago and, honestly, may still not be there.