This week features a couple of school rom-com standbys: the part-time job and prepping for the class play. Tomo-chan takes these tropes and makes them their own with its beautifully written and performed characters I’ve come to love. Tomo needs cash to buy a birthday gift for Jun, so Misuzu and Carol join her. Tanabe offers the three jobs at his family’s ramen restaurant.
While Misuzu manages to avoid it, Carol and Tomo end up in maid outfits for the job. When Jun stops by for a bowl (he’s a regular), Tomo ends up his waitress, and she’s fully prepared for him to make fun of her outfit. But he doesn’t, because he’s long since realized Tomo is a total cutie and it’s a gift to all mankind to see her in a maid outfit. He ends up frequenting the restaurant every day she works there, and with her pay she gets him a FitBit to match her own.
The second half has Tomo channelling Ikari Gendou as she consults Misuzu on how to get Jun to see her as a girl, for the first time in a while. Misuzu suggests physical contact, which she tries to achieve by pushing Jun down some stairs and into Tomo’s waiting arms. Jun’s athleticism is such that he’s able to dodge Tomo (who has murderous intent), but ends up accidentally touching Carol’s boob. Carol’s reaction is perfectly Carol, and an ashamed Jun demands that Tomo punch the shit out of him to atone.
That failed prank shakes Misuzu to the core; she can’t believe she shoved Jun down the stairs; even if he is a brick shithouse, he could have gotten hurt. It’s all part and parcel of an enduring guilt over how she’s treated Tomo over the years, which she believes to have actually stifled Tomo’s progress with Jun rather than helped it. While lost in thought, Misuzu herself ends up falling down the steps…and into Tanabe’s arms. As thanks for saving her, Misuzu agrees to exchange contact info.
Misuzu confides in Carol that she may not want Tomo and Jun to get together; Carol is Carol and gives Misuzu a big hug, assuring her she’s not as bad as she thinks she is. But Misuzu is so afraid to face Tomo that she stays home sick for three days. Tomo has to hear it via Carol, and when she visits Misuzu, says it feels like she’s avoiding her. She wonders if Misuzu is simply overthinking, but after everything Misuzu believes she’s done to Tomo, she’s not feeling worthy of Tomo’s unconditional forgiveness.
Misuzu pays for her absence by having the class play role of Cinderella bestowed on her, thanks to a suggestion from Carol. Naturally, Tomo will play the Prince, and when she’s trying to act she’s terrible, but when she’s just herself she’s an irresistible lady-killer. Tomo is stunning in her princely garb and slicked-back hair, causing all the girls to swoon, while Misuzu has a similar effect in her blue Cinderella gown and up-do, but the glamorous glow-up belies her morose mood.
In the absolute funniest moment of the episode that had me howling, she leans against a brown surface and sighs, and the camera pulls out to reveal she’s leaning against Jun in his tree costume. While these two continue to be incredibly petty and prickly to each other, it’s also clear they understand each other quite a bit, because they remain very much alike in their inability to face Tomo head-on.
Misuzu can push him over and leave him unable to get up like an inverted turtle, but she can’t deny he hit the nail on the head. Jun can tell what’s upsetting Misuzu because it’s the same thing that upsets him. But I imagine Tomo and Jun will start dating at some point, so I hope that doesn’t mean Misuzu can’t be friends with Tomo anymore. Maybe the impending play will be an opportunity to suss things out properly.